Online search

Way back in the day when I was doing my lean start-up training they all laughed at me when I talked about my idea for a portable washing machine.  It’s already been done was their cry and they showed me pictures on the net of similar devices.  I argued that there was more than one type of car and being second to the race wasn’t always a bad thing.

So I smirked when James from Microsoft came up to talk about online search.  He readily admitted that they were some way behind the leader yet owning the verb is not enough, just ask Hoover.  No empire lasts for ever and he had hope that one day they would be out there.

He went on to describe how search would be different in the future.  It won’t be just about finding what you asked for but rather finding what you really meant to have asked for.  As an example he cited that many people searched for the release date of the film Jurassic Park when they meant Jurassic World.  I haven’t seen it.

He talked about how what we search for tends to change depending upon the context in which it is requested.  Content may have been king but is making way for context.   Long live the king.  They are focussing on how searches are delivered in four different contexts: emotional; environmental; social; external.

So when I search for something in future the results returned may be different depending upon how I am feeling, what the weather is like, whether I am with friends or alone, or how the wider world is behaving.  It all sounds great yet a bit complicated.

What I want may differ depending upon if it’s raining or not yet it may depend upon if it is a warm summer rain or tipping it down in the bleak mid-winter.  It may depend upon if it is the first time it has rained in weeks or if it has been head cold weather for days on end.  It may depend upon the quality of the waterproofs I am wearing or the expensiveness of the umbrella I am carrying.

Context is a complex thing yet I wish them luck.  Their work looks fascinating.

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