The Death of Search

Phil Bradley’s talk was entitled “The Death of Search”, but he started out by emphasizing that we won’t really see the death of search, but rather its evolution. Search will move to a new level as its functionality improves. And not much has progressed in the last several years: search engine size is not important any more; results are maybe better (but maybe not), and there has been a lack of innovation in basic areas.

To look at the market leader which is, of course, Google, most of its enhancements have not been in search, but in other areas, like Google Maps, Google Suggest, Google Book Search, Google Checkout, and so on. This is not search! Bradley pointed out that Google’s movement forward generally comes from the ideas of other companies.

So where is search going? It’s moving into personalization and mobile search. Now it’s possible to create your own search engine, and have what you want delivered to you. Bradley said, “RSS is your best friend—don’t search, have information delivered to you!” This may involve a loss of privacy, but Google knows what we are doing anyway. The tradeoff is that we can have much more personalization and customization in our information activities.

In the mobile search area, we are being freed from the tyranny of the PC. In a few years, almost all new cell phones will be Internet-enabled, so we can have search results delivered to us anytime, anywhere.

So search is not dead—long live search!

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today

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