Cassini is eBay’s new search technology scheduled to replace Voyager, the current incarnation. Whilst there have been many complaints from sellers in the US that they’re being demoted in search by Cassini, it’s worth remembering that whilst eBay search is now running on the Cassini servers, search is still running under the Voyager rules and Cassini is not yet live.
As far as we’re aware Cassini search is only used in very specific searches – those for completed listings and those where there are few or no items returned for a particular search term.
The main difference between Cassini and Voyager is that Cassini will examine much more data when ordering search results, including scanning eBay item descriptions – something that Voyager doesn’t do by default. The hope is that Cassini will throw up much more relevant search results for buyers as well as eliminating searches that aren’t of interest to buyers. For instance in a very simplistic example, if you search for iPhone, Cassini will attempt to determine if you want to see iPhone accessories or if you simply want to purchase an iPhone and should hide accessories from search results.
Hugh Williams has some 15 years experience in researching and developing search technologies, both at eBay and prior to that with Microsoft working on their Bing search engine. However whilst his experience may be missed at eBay, Cassini is well under way and Hugh was the manager of around a thousand product managers, engineers, and designers. Cassini is not a one man band and eBay will still develop and implement their new search technology.
If Cassini does start to be fully rolled out in early 2014 eBay search will be turned on it’s head and that will bring new challenges to sellers as they try to optimise their listings to get to the top of search.