Sunday, May 17, 2009

New Generation Search- My experience

I google every day like any other normal human being and truly believe that it has been the next best thing after internet which has helped reduce information asymmtery in the world. You wanna buy a phone or a camera or know about renewable  energy, google will pull up relevant pages... But the intent of this blog is not promte Google but to look at what is missing in the current search?

Why is this important? If we look at the trend/growth of a search engine, there emerges a strong pattern with the changing requirements of users. The first generation of search were more focussed on key words based results... While the users were happy with these results, prolonged exposure was pushing for a change.... In comes google with a search which based on fabuluous algorithm which includes one key attribute of references, aka, refernce notes in reserach papers. What google achieved was no ordinary effort....Their algorithms were so strong, that search results became more relevant... Both the hardware and the algorithm created a huge entry barrier that Google became a behmoth with small businesses mushrooming around it. This includes SEO specialits, PPC specialits.

Google made it even more interesting by having a sponsored link which came up with relevant pages closer to the search key word of the user.. Excesive exposure to search is pushing the user for even more relavent search... The new search should achieve what Google is not able to do it in its  current avatar. Let me substantiate this with an example.

If you are searching for a footbal club and its merchandise, google will come up with an answer in 0.12 seconds ( not sure if this matters to anybody). But what it will fail to address is the intent of the user.. Lets make the search for any day - day activities for which you need an answer. For example, you buy a DVD in the US and trying to play it in the DVD player purchased in India..The DVD player does not read the disc. You want to solve this issue desperatly. Turns towards Google.. The commoly used key words will be
  • DVD disc US DVD player India
  • US disc compatible with player in India
  • Not able to play DVD purchased in the US
Fo all these keywords, the result returned will be meaning less as nobody creates a page matching you intent and keywords. This is an ardous task as every human being thinks differently.

Your search will be become meaningful only after you get the keyword called 'region code'.This will be achieved only after 15-20 attempts. Most people give up by then...

So what does it mean? The current search helps search for keywords and not for the users intent... Hypothetically, twitter helps achieve that because, what is in the mind is captured on Twitter. It is better than FB as the relationsip is asymmetric. Use to find out what is in the mind of the human race? Sounds very ambitious.

So what should the Gen 2.0 search engines do to make them more relevant to users?

While,we have many startups which has started designing the Search 3.0. Please read

But  I have a few suggestions to the enhance the exisiting search functionlity:
  • Build an intent list:With every search result, ask the user to rate the quality of the search. If the result is not satisfactory, ask the users for exact explanation of requirement 
  • Suggested terms: Based on the intent list,pls suggest alternate list to the users and ask them to rate it.
  • Build a community/social network based search
Let me explore these ideas and build a PoC for the new generation search.. I am in search of it