Thursday, May 19, 2011

Search is Dead, and I Don't Feel So Well Myself...

Is traditional searching of the interwebz dead? Bing certainly seems to think so, and Google, though not as vocal, has amended its search features as well. This article discusses that Bing's people are saying traditional ways of searching the web--text content, links, etc--isn't as useful as it used to be. Today, they claim, people want more than just the standard web search results when they type in "seafood." They want the restaurants with the best reviews, they want the best recipes, and they don't necessarily want the history of fried seafood. Ok, understandable. We all want what we want, and don't want the unnecessary.

So, how are Bing and Google achieving this miracle of mind-reading? Crystal balls? Tea leaves? Government mind control devices? No, no, nothing that complicated. Bing, if you are simultaneously logged in to Facebook and Bing, will look at your and your friend's "Likes" and will use that to influence your search outcomes. Google is using their +1 feature, which allows you and your friends to rate websites for their content. A higher +1 rating among your friends means that the site will show up higher in rank on your searches. Essentially, both of these features are asking your friend's opinions about your topic, and guiding the search results based on that.

As with most things, I can see the good and bad with this. If I were able to tell Bing/Google which friends to listen to, I'd be gold. I have some friends who, upon the search for "seafood" would begin asking if the restaurant's menu also has chicken fingers, since that is all they consent to eat. Other friends, though dear to my heart, are not to be trusted for movie recommendations. You get the idea.

So now, we get to sit back and watch to see if this will revolutionize the interwebz search process, or if is more of an annoyance than it is worth.

*bonus points to anyone who can tell me which author the title of this post is an homage to.

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