Google Suggest does type-ahead for Google Index in near real-time

Google Suggest does type-ahead for Google Index in near real-time.

Go try Google Suggest
now, if you haven't. Google Suggest shows the feasibility of using type
ahead with very large collections of terms, like tags in a folksonomy.

Now, one of the drawbacks of using ad hoc tags in social classification
is the lack of vocabulary control – people use different tags to mean
the same thing. This is fine for organizing personal information
architectures, but the lack of consistency, while reducing the
cognitive cost of classification, actually increases effort in finding
information.

To deal with the issue, there needs to be a feedback loop. Flickr has the most popular tags float to the top, 43 Things
and others use type size to show more popular tags. There's an argument
for that kind of subtle feedback. However, to really bridge between
levels of classification, to move from a distributed folksonomy to a
controlled vocabulary and then to a formal thesaurus, we need more than
implicit incentive in using a particular tag. Using type ahead to show
other tags is one way of doing that, as James Spahr illustrates so well.
But I've always wondered about how scalable this approach would be with
a massive tagset. With Google Suggest, instead of wondering how type
ahead would scale, I'm wondering how we can implement a similar scale
system for tags..  [ia/ blogs]

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