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Saturday 18 August 2007

How "Search" will change...

Algorithmic improvements of "blind" search (the search via a blank search box) can only take you so far, and Google continues to do a good job of that. This is "pull" search and relies entirely on the users' ability to recall and construct a search query. However, as human beings we don't really search simply by recall - our search for any information or thing is based on correlation and semantics.

Therefore, next generation search will be "push" based, using tags (or other mechanisms) to correlate pieces of information and pushing relevant "groupings" upfront for the user to savor. This will automate and reduce the trouble of "maintaining" folders/groups and yet help users see and use relevant correlations and possibly manipulate and add/delete from. In an ideal situation any new information added would seamlessly flow like a trickle of water into all its relevant channels.

Will blind search vanish? No. As in our natural surroundings, blind search will continue to exist, but it will not be the primary means of looking for things.

Our primary means of looking for things will be defined by improvements application providers make of using our usage patterns to provide us with what is most relevant to us.

Infact, in a few years, Google's (and others') search engine front end will possibly be dead. It will not longer be a home page, as it is today for some. At the most it will be an insignificant "widget" sitting somewhere on your new home page, which in all probability will be your most visited "social network" site. And this new home page will be so "intelligent" and semantically sophisticated, that the mere mention of a search box at the center of a page with nothing else on it (Google search home page) will appear as obviously pre-historic as a DOS command interface looks to us today.

By the way, you don't need to believe me today. Just wait until tomorrow.

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