“Interestingness” for Google web search

Interesting Flickr

Last year, when Flickr wanted to create a ranking system for its pictures, they developed an algorithm for “interestingness”.

Sound of cause
Flickr photo by tkproject2004

There are lots of things that make a photo ‘interesting’ (or not) in the Flickr. Where the clickthroughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing. Interestingness changes over time, as more and more fantastic photos and stories are added to Flickr.
from About Interestingness

Taking into account views, comments, notes, favorites and user reputations, it is an advanced wisdom-of-the-crowds long-tail recommendation engine. The exact formula is unknown and the indivual ‘interestingness’ score of a photo cannot be displayed. Just like with Google PageRank, people try to guess how it works internally.

I believe interestingness works by a combination of the following things:
1) (…) If there are two pictures which have the same number of favorites the one that has been less seen seems to be more interesting. (…)
2) Favorites seem to have more weight than comments
3) (…) a person who is known by the system to create interesting content is given greater power to judge content as interesting.
comment by Alex Andronov on Flickr and Interestingness

Could Google do that too?

Where Google only takes into account links between pages – and one link is one ‘vote’ of a certain weight – Flickr uses multiple sources of interaction data. The reason is, obviously, because they have it. All ‘view’, ‘note’, ‘comment’ and ‘favorite’ votes go through their website. Google does not have this luxury. So where could they get more data from to build a PageInterest ranking?

💬 Google