Queries with Multiple Interpretations and Intents


Some queries really only have one meaning. Consider the query [iphone], English (US). There may be different user intents for this query (Do-Know-Go) and there are different models of iPhones, but all users are basically referring to the same thing: the phone made by Apple, Inc.

Some queries truly have different possible meanings. We refer to these different meanings as query interpretations. When giving utility ratings for results involving different query interpretations, think about how likely the query

interpretation is and how helpful the result is.

For example, a very helpful result for a dominant interpretation should be rated U, because it is very helpful for many or most users. (Some queries with a dominant interpretation have a V result.)

A very helpful result for a common interpretation may be U or R, depending on how likely the interpretation is.

A very helpful result for a very minor interpretation may be SR or lower because few users may be interested in that interpretation.

There are some interpretations which are so unlikely that results should be rated OT. We call these “no chance” interpretations.

Reminder: PQ rating is query-independent. Do not think about query interpretation when doing PQ ratings.



Query Interpretation


Example Query and Interpretation

Highest Possible Utility Rating For a Very Helpful Result



Dominant Interpretation:


[apple], English (US): Apple computers. Most users who type this


V or U

query want results on Apple computers.

[windows], English, (US): the Microsoft operating system. Most

users who type this query want results on the Microsoft Windows

operating system.

Of all the users who type the

query, most users would



[median], English (US): the mathematical formula. Most users who

want this interpretation.

type this query want results about the mathematical formula. There

is no V result possible for this query.

[guinea pig], English (US): the small furry animal often kept as a pet.

Most users who type this query want results about the animal.

There is no V result possible for this query.

Common Interpretation: Of all the users who type the query, some users would want this interpretation.

[apple], English (US): The fruit. Some users who type this query could want results about the fruit.

[windows], English (US): The glass paned windows for a home. Some users who type this query could want results about glass windows for a house.

[ada], English (US): The American Dental Association, the American Diabetes Association, or the American with Disabilities Act. Some users could want information about any of these interpretations.

[mercury], English (US): The car brand, the planet, or the chemical element. Some users could want information about any of these interpretations.

[sandals], English (US): The open type of shoe or the chain of resorts in the Caribbean Sea. Many or some users could want information about either of these interpretations.

U or R, depending on how likely the common interpretation is.

Minor Interpretation:

Of all the users who type the query, few users would want this interpretation.

[ada], English (US): The Atlanta Development Authority or the American Darters Association. Few users would want information about either of these interpretations.

[mercury], English (US): The Mercury Magazine (published by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific) or Mercury Records (a record label in the UK). Few users would want information about these interpretations.

[hot dog], English (US): “Hot Dog,” a movie that was in movie theaters in 1984. Few users would want information about this interpretation.

R or SR

Results for less likely interpretations should get lower ratings because they are helpful for fewer users.

“No chance” Interpretation: An interpretation so minor that almost no one would ever want it.

[guinea pig], English (US): A pig from New Guinea, which is an island country located near Australia. (There probably are pigs in New Guinea, but it is extremely unlikely that the user typing the query would have that interpretation in mind.)

OT

No users are interested in “no chance” interpretations.



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