What Is Search About?

Well, it’s about search, right? Not necessarily. As Internet consultant Phil Bradley explained, we use the Web for a whole range of activities: searching, e-mail, blogging, finding where we are, travel information, personal things, news, communication, chat…and on it goes. So how important are search engines in this milieu? Phil thinks they’re not very important. There are lots of them, and no single one is best.

Search engines want people to use them, so they are trying to find killer applications to retain users. For example, Google has toolbars, newsgroups, Gicasa, gmail, desktop search, Google Print, Google Scholar, etc. (Similar capabilities are available in MSN.) The whole aim of this is to get users to use a lot of products from one company. Phil maintains a blog that keeps up with the increasing activity in the earch areas.

Search is becoming mobile. Now we can search for people, multimedia, and even space. Chips are coming into everything! We will be able to locate friends, search our desktop, keep up to date, never get lost, and be aware of our surroundings. Today, people want tailored answers without having to look for anything. We are all information resources. Everything can be digitized—sound, photos, video, journals, and music—and made available to you, me, or all of us. We want to share what we find with other people.

So the bottom line is that search is becoming more important, ubiquitous, and invisible. It is forecast that by 2015, 75% of mobile phones will be Internet-capable, so search will be everything and everywhere.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today

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