26 November 2010

Is Search Dead?

Mindy Joyce has a blog entry that has been Tweeted and RT'd quite extensively. In this report from PCW17 the underlying theme seems to be that search is dead long live share/social.

Despite the less endearing qualities of the dominant search provider (You Know Who) search is still intuitive and the best way to find things.

So to say that Share is the new Search doesn't resonate with me nor I suspect with the general populace. The underlying theme behind my post here is the hihacking of search by the Googleplex and the resultant poor experience we are now getting from Search hurts Search. Personally I want less of Google telling me what I want and filtering everything through GoogleLenses and more access to a definable set of parameters. Are you listening Bing? IE just because its bad (and getting worse) doesn't mean you have to throw everything out.

Search is a utility. To my weird way of thinking the way Google serves Search up today almost makes me feel like the Power Company wants to tell me how (and when) I can use the power they provide. Excuse me boys and girls but most of the world is not Iraq. (And no disrespect to the fine and long suffering people of Iraq - but there power is a luxury when it should be a utility). But does that make Search itself dead or bad?

The other concept I am also having a problem with is the constant notion that people need to have validation for every decision that they make. Did we create a generation of coddled humans who have to seek validation at every step of the way from their peer group? I sincerely hope not. We have enough trouble not getting things done in regular business and life because we have to wait for other people to get their validation and their feelings smoothed over. Oh Lord help us from the Nanny state and PC! What about people being able to make decisions on their own based on their own judgment? If we carry that metaphor on, what would we see? - I shudder to contemplate such a world where we will have more and more decisions based on shared crowd think and far less on intellect and common sense.

If that is the case - why not go the whole hog and have virtual everything - see everything before you travel via virtual and augmented reality and therefore the joy of the experience is lessened.

Who can say that one can replicate the total assault on the senses that walking in Hong Kong, New York, Mumbai or Bali? May I be long dead and buried before someone creates a machine for that. Then I will just have to call up Zagar and Evans vision of the earth in 3535 that the being there means.

I actually think that Search will mature and that the rather horrid experience we have in general Search from Google and the legacy GDS defined based restrained Travel Fare Search will evolve and smart people will figure out a better way for us to get better results. Perhaps this is why Google really wants to buy ITA. They fear those smart people getting ahead. And what they really want to do is to keep the populace fat dumb and happy.

"In the year thirtyfive thirtyfive
Ain't gonna need to tell the truth tell no lies
Ev'rything you think do and say is what Google gave you today.

With apologies to Zagar and Evans but not to anyone else.

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