I have just read an article by Vivek Wadhua, in which he describes what he would like Google to become. Some great concepts but not really a search engine, certainly not as we know it. This comes down a few of things:
- Recommendation authorities; the Search Engine recognises who I believe have authority and gravitas on a certain subject such as in Vivek’s case Punjabis who know their Northern India restaurants.
- Preferred sites; if what I am looking for shows up one of my preferred sites forget the rest.
- Empowered decisions; book my flight, purchase my cinema ticket
Just imagine no longer entering a search but typing an order: “buy a plane ticket with hotel from London to New York leave tomorrow return Friday and find restaurant for Wednesday night” “Book car for service asap”. This sounds great but could it work? Well yes! The search engine may start a dialogue with you to confirm flight times or food type, but it’s in the driving seat. It may be authorised to contact you friends to confirm a good eatery. It may point out additional information search as conference on in New York or a friend is also there at the same time. You will have registered a “biography” with the search engine in natural language identifying your likes, dislikes, friends, authorisations (prices ranges), colleagues, trusted websites, subject authorities etc. The Search Engine could monitor the World based on what it knows you are doing plus your biography so that should additional information come up later you can be notified e.g. civil unrest in the region you are visiting or a friend has booked in to the same hotel.
There is a problem with this, Google and other Search Engines currently sell advertising based on your search results. If there was no longer a set of search results just a desired outcome based on pre-set criteria, then there is no set of results against which to sell advertising. Therefore a search engine would have to define a new model for monetization. It would certainly remove vast swathes of spam from the search results, and turn the world of Search Engine Optimisation on its head.
Search Engine Optimisers spend vast amounts of time and effort trying to convince search engines that their site is the most relevant for any and all queries in a particular scope. It would be a joy to get rid of the majority of spam from non-commercial as welllas commercial queries. The long tail of search that Google has been particularly clever at mining and monetizing would disappear. So would the consumer have to pay for their orders to be turned into reality, who knows, there are cleverer people than me around to do the head scratching.
Sure there is still room for the traditional search engines and RSS feeds depending on the information you require. To quote Donald Rumsfeld “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.” However most of the time we have a pretty good idea what we want information we want and what we want to do with it, and so should our search engine. Hopefully someone will come up with a commercial model to make it work and disrupt the current search engine status quo!