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Jonathon Fletcher: forgotten father of the search engine

“In my opinion, the web isn’t going to last forever. But the problem of finding information is. The desire to search through content and find information is independent of the medium.”

The creator of web search first called it the “Jumpstation.”

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Here’s How Maria Popova of Brain Pickings Writes

And I think that’s part of our challenge today, not just semantically but also practically – we tend to conflate “research” with search, which is always driven by looking for something you already know you’re interested in; but I think the richest “research” is driven by discovery, that intersection of curiosity and serendipity that lets you expand your intellectual and creative comfort zone beyond what you already knew you were looking for.

Google.

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Search engines + social networks = social search  The wisdom of the crowds.  
Search engines + social networks = social search  The wisdom of the crowds.  
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Study: Email Lands More Customers Than Facebook Or Twitter, But Still Fewer Than Organic Search

In order of customer acquisition importance:

  • Search
  • Email
  • Social Media

In order of customer retention, it’s probably the reverse.

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LMGTFY
LMGTFY
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Creativity Culture

Producing for the masses

We live in the dawn of personalization, where aggregate data gathered through apps, social media behavior, and web surfing should be able to personalize our experience for just about anything. Diversity gets rewarded with stuff that you and only you, like. #gif
via giphy

Making for the masses taints the quality of the product.

The majority of people appreciate what they get. They may even vote it up. Some people recognize the overt standardization and consume just to conform. It’s not worth tailoring a dish when it’s faster to eat what you’re served to survive.

We live in the dawn of personalization, where aggregate data gathered through apps, social media behavior, and web surfing should be able to personalize our experience for just about anything. Diversity gets rewarded with stuff that you and only you, like.

Still, there will be times when your choice is pre-determined along with everyone else’s, and there’s no way to order what you really like.

Standardization makes it easier for the makers to control consumption. All the ingredients and dish sizes are the same. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think everything is meant to be made and consumed in bulk.

No one has the same tastes, but most people have the same expectations. Demand better. Customization is the key to satisfaction.

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As Web Search Goes Mobile, Competitors Chip at Google’s Lead

Smarter/more informative apps like Quora and Yelp are threatening Google search.

Mobile users use Google to search and discover more general things. They use apps as the primary source to get the quick, expert answer.

Even more, social networks like Facebook and Twitter are developing their own searchable archives. They will find a way to keep you within their environment to ensure you get what you’re looking for.

Google is still the best search tool. But what’s worrisome is that search accounts for 90% of the company’s yearly revenues. Advertisers may shift dollars to more specialized apps where people tend to look more.

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Guess me if you can

Voice recognition and mind reading obviate the need to type and search.

Your smartphone is your second brain, one that’s already ahead of your next thought.

As the soon as the phone has enough predictive information, it’ll completely dominate our mind. We’ll inevitably let it and Google’s algorithm decide our fate.

Are we really going to let phones think for us, kind of like we’ve really been doing for decades on calculators?

Shortcuts kill brain cells, even if we get a hit of dopamine from saving time and doing something pleasurable instead.

Thinking is painful. We only relieve the stressed mind when we progress and reach some type of certainty.

Predictive search doesn’t leave open the possibility of forgetfulness and randomness that lead to remarkable discoveries.

Automation darkens the brain. We become the machines, lemmings of starved emotion.

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The future of search is gravitational: Content will come to you

No more searching.  No more advertising.  Your data gets mined and utilized in real-time to determine what you’re looking for. 

It’s the dawn of “anticipatory computing.”

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The Potential for Comprehensive Social Search

Facebook’s new Graph Search got me thinking. If we can social search Facebook and Google+, and inevitably, Twitter, there must be a search engine that brings them all into one place.

Of course, this isn’t a new idea; Bing social search has been doing this for about a year now. However, it doesn’t pull in the full data firehouse and won’t have access to Google nor Twitter data any time soon.

In addition to all access, the other major challenge for such an aggregator will be producing relevant search results. Facebook and Twitter have different comparative advantages.

Facebook data will help for more local requests like the best restaurants, shops, etc., because it’s powered by trusting friends and people that live in the area. Twitter will be beneficial for more national/world cultural data recommendations such as what new music to listen to or movie to see. We trust the knowledge and expertise in the people we follow more than our friends.

Meanwhile, Google+ won’t offer nearly as much valuable data as Facebook and Twitter simply because it’s not as content rich.

Successful aggregated social search will depend on a mastery of categorizing excess data in real-time. Klout scores that rank social utility will also need to come into play.

The Facebook Graph is just the start to crowdsourcing our search results, which Google does now at a top level. It just doesn’t show your friends’ recommendation next to the search results, yet.