Challenges in Commerce Search
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Challenges in Commerce Search. Hugh E. Williams Vice President, Experience, Search, and Platforms @ hughewilliams , [email protected] eBay Today. 50+ petabytes. Of data in our Hadoop and Teradata clusters. 2+ billion . 250 million. Page views each day. 75+ billion.

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Hugh E. Williams Vice President, Experience, Search, and Platforms @ hughewilliams , [email protected]

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Challenges in Commerce Search

Hugh E. WilliamsVice President, Experience, Search, and [email protected], [email protected]


eBay Today


50+ petabytes

Of data in our Hadoop and Teradata clusters

2+ billion

250 million

Page views each day

75+ billion

Database calls each day

Queries per day


Commerce

$10 trillion

The opportunity ahead is huge

Online Commerce

$1 trillion

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, Morgan Stanley

Note: Market sizes as of 2012, Compounded Annual Growth Rates from 2012 to 2015


Today’s Search

  • Turnaround contributor

  • Series of improvements

  • Ten year old technology


Conversionup 13%

Better Search

2010

Simple Flows

Better Images

Merch’ing

Other

2012


Improving Search from 2009 to 2012

  • User experience changes

    • Imagery

    • Reorganization

    • Optimization

    • Major page refresh

    • Speed

  • Search science

    • Query understanding and rewriting

    • Understanding user intent

    • Behavioral measurement

    • Substantial ranking improvements (particularly to Fixed Price ranking)

  • And all on a 10+ year old platform named Voyager


Query Understanding and Rewriting

  • Our search engine was literal

  • We’re on a journey to make it more intuitive

  • Idea: Mine our query-session data, look for patterns, and use these to map words in user queries to synonyms and structured data

User Query

Search Query

Search

Query Rewrite

eBay Results


PATTERNS: QUERY REWRITES …

pilzlampe


How do buyers purchase the pilzlampe?

  • It turns out, they do one of a few things:

    • Type pilzlampe, and purchase

    • Type pilzlampe, … , pilzlampe, and purchase

    • Type pilzlampe, … , pilzlampen, and purchase

    • Type pilzlampen, … , pilzlampe, and purchase


How do buyers purchase the pilzlampe?

  • From our data mining:

    • We automatically discover that pilzlampeand pilzlampeare the same

    • We also discover that pilzand pilzeare the same, and lampeand lampenare the same

  • From these patterns, we rewrite the user’s query pilzlampeas:

    pilzlampeOR “pilzlampe” OR “pilzlampen” OR pilzlampen OR “pilzelampe” OR pilzelampe OR “pilzelampen” OR pilzelampen


Are Query Rewrites easy?

  • Nothing is easy at scale

    • Incorrect strong signals:

      • CMU is not Central Michigan University

      • Mariners is not the same as Marines

    • Context matters

      • Correcting Seattle Marines to Seattle Mariners is (generally) right

      • Denver Nuggets is not Denver in the Jewelry & Watches category


Next Gen Search

An even bigger opportunity


Cassini: Reengineering eBay Search


Top-to-Bottom View


How hard is it to ship a new search engine?

  • Voyager is used for much more than the obvious. It’s multi-tenant:

    • “Default Search” search (already migrated to Cassini in the US)

    • Completed, null and low (already migrated to Cassini worldwide)

    • Description search

    • Deterministic sorts

    • Query rewrite

    • Merchandizing

    • The Feed

    • Selling (for example, allowing sellers to create listings from similar items)

    • Category browsing

    • Motors and other verticals

    • Many fast “item lookup” scenarios for other teams

    • Many scenarios we don’t even know about…


What’s else is hard about eBay search?

  • eBay has over 400 million items listed in multiple languages

  • Our collection of items changes fast

  • You can find just about anything on eBay. We have to optimize for every type of item

  • Not everybody follows the same listing practices, or uses the same keywords or units

    • Examples include:

      • Units of measure: centimeter versus cm, gigabytesversus gb

      • Colors: Blue versus Aqua, Rojois the same as Red

      • Synonyms: laptopand notebook, mobile phone and cell phone

      • Abbreviations: SGA means Stadium Giveaway

      • Spelling errors

  • Our goal is to help both buyers and sellers find items even when they use different ways of expressing the same things


Technology Deep dive: Infrastructure

  • What’s hard at eBay?

    • Multi-tenant system

    • Document additions and deletions

    • Document modifications

    • Index updates

    • Result caching

    • Data center automation


Technology Deep dive: Ranking

  • What’s hard at eBay?

    • Mix of items: good ’til canceled multi quantity vs. single quantity

    • Gaps in catalog data

    • A very different problem: different ranking signals to Web search

    • The deterministic sort:

      • Recall versus precision

      • Consistency with best match

    • Spam

    • Result blending


But What Comes Next?


44%

21%

of eBay multiscreenusers

of GMV share


Q&A?


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