18th International World Wide Web Conference

The 18th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW 2009) was recently held in Madrid. This is the forum in which Larry and Sergey introduced the “Google” search engine back in 1998. Conferences like WWW are highly beneficial for all attendees, as they provide a forum for constructive interactions and discussions among the diverse, global community that is contributing so much to the advancement of the web. As one of the major sponsors this year, Google contributed significantly in various scientific and social forums. Here’s a short report of those activities:

  • Google and the Prado Museum collaboration: In January 2009, we announced a collaboration between Google Earth and Spain’s Museo del Prado, which lets people zoom in on some of the gallery’s main portraits and view them in a resolution so fine — up to 14,000 megapixels — that even individual brush strokes and cracks in the varnish are clearly visible. The Prado Museum has become the first art gallery in the world to provide access to and navigation of its collection in Google Earth. The initiative includes 14 of the Prado’s most famous paintings — works by Francisco de Goya, Diego Velázquez, Hieronymus Bosch, Peter Paul Rubens, and more. Such ultra-high resolution imaging, enabling users to virtually feel, see and be present with the original masterpieces, is just one way in which the web can make important contributions to the art community. To celebrate this, Google hosted an event at the Prado Museum, where guests received a guided tour of some of the main exhibits, and had the opportunity to network with fellow researchers, academics and engineers, as well as Google’s own Vint Cerf.
  • Research Contributions: Google contributed to the WWW conference by authoring or co-authoring several papers and presentations. I gave a keynote speech on The Continuing Metamorphosis of the web (you can read more about that topic on the Google Research blog). Some other papers to highlight are:

Sitemaps: Above and Beyond the Crawl of Duty, Uri Schonfeld, N. Shivakumar
Estimating the ImpressionRank of Web Pages, Z. Bar-Yossef & M. Gurevich
Detecting The Origin Of Text Segments Efficiently, O. Abdel-Hamid, B. Behzadi, S. Christoph & M. Henzinger
What’s Up CAPTCHA? A CAPTCHA Based On Image Orientation, R. Gossweiler, M. Kamvar & S. Baluja
Computer and iPhones and Mobile Phones, oh my! A logs-based comparison of search users on different devices, M. Kamvar, M. Keller, R. Patel, and Y. Xu
Collaborative Filterin for Orkut Communities: Discover of User Latent Behaviour, W. Chen, J. Chu, J. Luan, H. Bai, Y. Wang, and E. Chang.
Fast Dynamic Reranking in Large Graphs, P. Sarkar, A. Moore
WEB 2.0: Blind to an Accessible New World, J. Hailpern, L.Guarino-Reid, R. Boardman, S. Annam
How Opinions are Received by Online Communities: A Case Study on Helpfulness Votes, C. Danescu, G. Kossinets, J. Kleinberg, L. Lee
Bid Optimization for Broad Match Ad Auctions, E. E. Dar, Y. Mansour, V. Mirrokni, M. Muthukrishnan & U. Nadav
General Auction Mechanism for Search Advertising, G. Aggarwal, S. Muthukrishnan, D. Pal & M. Pal

  • Best Paper Award and the Internet Monetization Track: The WWW program committee changed the best paper and poster process this year. They first chose several nominated papers from different tracks, and after seeking feedback from conference attendees, they chose their best paper: Ashish Goel’s and Kamesh Munagala’s Hybrid Keyword Search Auctions. The authors of this paper propose a unified approach to an auction for cost-per-click and cost-per-impression settings, and show promising properties of their proposed auction. The paper was presented in the Internet Monetization Track at WWW — a new track which, despite its short term at WWW, became very popular this year. Other tracks like web search, data mining, and the social web have been active at WWW for years and already attract many high-quality research papers. The best poster award went to a paper co-authored by Google’s Monika Henzinger about Purely URL-based Topic Classification.

Before closing, I want to return to the Prado Museum collaboration with Google Earth: Now that there is really high resolution imaging and the ability to distribute it to a vast audience, the benefits of combining art and technology are greatly increased. In another medium, witness the success of the Metropolitan Opera’s high definition broadcasts that are bringing that art form to a much larger audience. Another place where Google recently helped fuse technology and the arts was with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. In the case of fine art, our collaboration with the Prado museum enables much broader access to the masterpieces while also providing museum attendees with an unparalleled opportunity to study details of the works before and after a visit. For example, the intense detail in Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights is difficult to comprehend in front of the large, heavily visited triptych, but seeing the painting in person after some previous study makes it far more exciting. So, it would seem that we can use technology in the art world to achieve benefits for all.

Posted by Alfred Spector, VP of Research and Special Initiatives

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