Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The future of search

How Google sees the future ...

"The Internet has had an enormous impact on people's lives around the world in the 10 years since Google's founding. It has changed politics, entertainment, culture, business, health care, the environment and just about every other topic you can think of. Which got us to thinking, what's going to happen in the next 10 years? How will this phenomenal technology evolve, how will we adapt, and (more importantly) how will it adapt to us? We asked ten of our top experts this very question, and during September (our 10th anniversary month) we are presenting their responses. As computer scientist Alan Kay has famously observed, the best way to predict the future is to invent it, so we will be doing our best to make good on our experts' words every day. - Karen Wickre and Alan Eagle, series editors.

I am a search addict. I’m naturally inquisitive – I’ve always liked finding things out. Plus, I’ve worked at Google on search for the past 9 years and 3 months. Of course I search - a lot. Yet I would guess that on any given day, I only do about 20% of the searches that I could. This past Saturday, I kept track of the things that came up in conversation that I wanted to search for right then but couldn’t:

Are "fab," "goy" and "eely" words? (There was a Scrabble game going on.) What time does J.C. Penney open on Saturday? Which school has a team called the Banana Slugs? What is the team mascot for San Jose State? How much power does that hydroelectric dam generate? What do you call a group of turkeys? What time does Tropic Thunder show? What’s the name of that great Irish flute player, first name James? What’s the name of the largest city in Russia after Moscow and St. Petersburg? Which is older, a redwood or a cypress? What’s the oldest living thing and how old is it? Who sings “Queen of Hearts”? What kind of bird is that flying over there? Is the "LF" in San Francisco on Union Square or Union Street? What are the dance steps to the Charleston? What day of the week was The Lawrence Welk Show on? What are the lyrics to “In the Mood”? How does Coumadin differ from aspirin in its blood thinning effects? What was the story behind the naming of the number "googol"?

And those are just the ones that I remember. Looking at this list, two things are very clear: (1) I could do a lot more searches and (2) search still has a lot of opportunity for innovation, change, and progress. There are lots of ways that search will need to evolve in order to easily meet user needs. Let’s look at some of my unanswered questions from Saturday and consider how search might change over the next 10 years."    (Continued via Official Google Blog)    [Usability Resources]

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