The Future of Search Engines

Before heading to the airport, I caught as much as I could of this Wed. afternoon session—with Mike Gray of Thomson Legal & Regulatory and Cathy Gordon of Google. Gray first surveyed the current state of the vast Thomson search platform, known as Novus. He stressed the extensive editorial content processing the company does to ensure that searches retrieve “pinpoint results”—categorization, entity resolution, versioning, summarization, link creation and validation, and much more. The company plans to emphasize additional integration capabilities, continue to focus on rich taxonomies and metadata enhancements, and leverage Novus platform enhancements across Thomson product lines.

Gordon, who comes from “our” side of the search world (a librarian who worked many years for both LexisNexis and Dialog), pointed out how similar the SLA and Google mission statements are.
SLA: Connection people and information
Google: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful

“Google is a switchboard,” she said, “connecting content consumers to content owners.” She feels search is still at a primitive stage—“we’ve only just begun.” She said that users will increasingly demand control (thus calling for a user-centric approach to future development), and the search engines needed to give users the tools to organize and customize their own information. Search will become more sophisticated and personal but must remain simple. The depth, breadth, and types of searchable content will continue to expand, and geographic and language boundaries will decrease. Our desktop tethers will be eliminated and search will be ubiquitous.

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief
Information Today, Inc.

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