The Future of Search
May 04, 2012
Every day, 60,000 new websites are added to the web, 140 million tweets are sent, 1.5 billion Facebook posts are made,1.6 billion blog posts are published, 2 million videos and 5 million photos are uploaded. How can we navigate our way through the growing expanse of web content to find what we need?
Let’s take a look at three ways search is evolving.
In January, Google faced criticism for launching the “Search, Plus Your World” feature which attempted to personalize search results by integrating content from your network. It was an interesting move, but Google+ still hadn’t the chance to curate enough content to support such a feature. Enter Facebook.
A team of Facebook engineers led by a former Google programmer was recently rumored to be hard at work developing a new search tool leveraging the network. If this is true, it could be the personalized search revolution that Google wasn’t ready for, since Facebook has the loads of content necessary to create a useful search database. I wouldn’t expect it to pose much of an immediate threat to the monopolistic Google, but it could be a nice alternate for gathering useful results quickly; for example, restaurants or movies, where taste plays a factor and friends’ opinions could be more relevant than what Google can spit back from a query.
Google is reportedly gearing up for another update to their infamous algorithm, which determines the best results to provide for a given search. During a SXSWi chat, the head of Google’s webspam team explained how they’re adjusting the algorithm to better combat over-optimizers (a.k.a. spammers) and “level the playing field” for those that are producing great, relevant content but just can’t afford to pay for someone to optimize it for them in the traditional sense. So for those who worry about the growing list of factors for optimizing a site, just focus on the quality of your content and see if Google’s new algorithm helps with ranking.
Smarter Search Results
As web content grows exponentially, it’s becoming essential for search engines to go beyond indexing and ranking, to review and summarize results so they’re more relevant and easier to find. Summly is the newest tool that sets out to put an Artificial Intelligence spin on search, filtering and presenting search results similar to how a human would. Created by a 16-year old who wanted something to help sift through Google search results, Summly provides a bulleted breakdown of search results based on what it believes to be the most relevant content.
The potential for this could spread beyond search and apply to any industry that needs to summarize bulky data. From my personal experience, it still seems like it could still use some “training,” but it’s fun to play with and if the track record of investor Horizons means anything (Facebook, Siri, Spotify), I’d say Summly could be the next big thing to hit search.