Lapizuli - 2:21 am on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)
Clearly "localized" and "navigational" are two that have a kind of natural built-in granularity. But I'm kind of stumped as to how "informational" and "transactional" might be made more granular - with regard to the query phrase profile itself (not the website profile, that's another story).
Not entirely sure I'm understanding the question - do you mean how does Google conduct qualitative analysis on quantitative data in order to recognize when search strings intend "when were blue widgets first invented" as opposed to "where can I buy blue widgets?"
If so...wouldn't the user's pre- and post- search behavior be tracked and the searches' proximity and sequence become quantifiable over the course of many like sequences, then cross-referenced with lots of other data?
As in this sequence of searches,
turning up Wikipedia-style informational results gets no nibble and a quick second attempt at:
Acme blue widgets
list of price comparison sites yields one listless nibble, plus a longer and deeper bite on one model comparison page, telling Google it's on the right track. Then:
going from specific to general might show Google the question is now "who the heck stocks this brand?" Long perusal of SERPs and then another search conveys that the problem's still unsolved:
Ching-ching! After drawing from personalization data and establishing that enough "similar" users perform this approximate search sequence, Google knows enough to skip straight from the "blue widgets" to the "widgets sale" sort of results.
That's all speculation, but it seems like Google's got products for every Internet-related function and so has plenty of relational data. We see ourselves acting with free will; Google sees patterns.
If they can't see what you're doing when you park the car, they can see what door you go in and how long you stayed, and if they can't see whether you actually bought something, they can see if you took out your wallet or if you rang up at the cash register or if you looked at a brochure, and if they don't know if you were happy with your visit, they at least know if you came again another day or you then went to a ball game and never returned again, there or to any similar establishment...etc. It's all an ongoing study. We're all guinea pigs.
At least, that's what it looks like from a non-techie, couldn't-program-her-way-through-a-checkers-game-in-PASCAL kinda gal who probably misunderstood the question in the first place...!