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A/B testing

  • Purpose: Test a single innovation

  • Prerequisite: You have a large search engine up and running.

  • Have most users use old system

  • Divert a small proportion of traffic (e.g., 1%) to the new system that includes the innovation

  • Evaluate with an “automatic” measure like clickthrough on first result

  • Now we can directly see if the innovation does improve user happiness.

  • Probably the evaluation methodology that large search engines trust most

  • In principle less powerful than doing a multivariate regression analysis, but easier to understand


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