Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Is Search Really Dead??

Gone are the days when I had to go through newspaper sites or search engines to find out the result of a late night match that I could not watch the previous night.........today all I do is just login to my Facebook account and there it is it: the latest news right before me. So where are we heading towards?

This post is a little glimpse into the future of information retrieval: yes today I have decided to throw some light on my research area but not from too much of a technical standpoint but from an interesting standpoint which opens a whole new area of research. The area and concept is becoming so important that a special panel was devoted to this discussion in this year's WWW 2010 conference at Raleigh, USA. WWW Conference is the world's most renowned platform for WWW researchers and the theme was "Search is dead." The panel comprised of the following people:

Andrei Broder – Fellow and VP, Search & Computational Advertising, Yahoo! Research.

Marti Hearst – Professor, School of Information, University of California-Berkeley.

Barney Pell – Partner, Search Strategist for Bing, Microsoft.

Andrew Tomkins – Director of Engineering at Google Research.

Prabhakar Raghavan – (Co-organizer and Moderator) Head, Yahoo! Labs .

Elizabeth Churchill – (Co-organizer) Principal Research Scientist, Yahoo! Research.

If I have to sum up the discussion in one line it is "Search as we traditionally know it is already dead!!!!"

Already user expectations from search engines are changing, the traditional task of typing in a query and being offered 10 blue links in response now amounts to a failure.Completeness is the key here: users want search engines to incorporate all the incredible level of richness that is available these days as today there is much more diverse data sources and presentations than links to web pages. So with the user needs getting "weird" and the search business competition getting "fierce" we are at the doorstep of yet another information retrieval (IR) revolution after PageRank.

Well it boils down to an important question: who is a key player in all this??? Any guesses??? Yes social networks like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Orkut. Mark Zuckenberg's statement at Facebook's F8 Conference, "We are building a Web where the default is social" throws a lot of light into this entire phenomenon and in particular the new Facebook Platform, crucial parts of which are the Open Graph and Social Plugin. Already as statistics say Facebook has surpassed Google in Internet traffic and this may be the beginning of the new revolution.

So what's your say on it? Is the search really dead?? I will reserve my own thoughts on this for sometime :) and would love to hear from my readers.

In the end a short video to throw some more light into this social media revolution:

1 comment:

  1. I don't think its dead, now people find what they are looking for right away, Google/Bing, facebook, twitter, linkedin, youtube or other Web 2.0 site. I think its getting mature enough, like any other industry. Someone explained me year back the concept of business/technology convergence and then everybody takes it granted, there is no wow factor, but we are still depend on it.