Don’t get me wrong. If I need to find something on the Internet, I know how to type a few keywords inside a search box.
But remember those almost bygone linear search days when all we had to do was to scan a list of blue links and select one or two or maybe three?
Even more troublesome is discovering how today’s Internet’s search engines haven’t kept up with a convergence of media across the new 2.0 Web.
Honey. Can my search engine track a rich preserve of videos, photographs, blog posts, exchanges from social networks, ratings on restaurants and other vendors? Can it then display information in one place, allow me to work with content, and in doing so, make searching on the Web more efficient?
Sure. Don’t stop indexing, classifying, and rating information. Just remove the walls that separate different kinds of media. Don’t force me to keep opening different browser windows, and then to collect responses in a file for later review.
Of course, maybe if I’m checking the spelling of a city in Wisconsin, or the name of an album by Nina Simone, I’m in good shape. Fact search.
But what if I want to find someone whom I met at a recent comic book convention in Green Bay with a really strong opinion about the type of skateboard I should buy? Or if I want to find a local Nina Simone buff who would help organize a fundraiser for a musician, a friend of a friend’s, who played with Nina for 20 years and now is sick without medical coverage?
The Web is no longer just about fact-finding. It’s becoming a way to create community across mutual interests.
Remember how President Obama’s campaign brought Twitter to national attention as he built a constituency in 140-character length messages? Then there’s Facebook, a service that college students introduced to their parents as a way of keeping in touch during semesters. Today’s unemployed professionals have discovered LinkedIn as a way of finding business contacts. And YouTube is a repository of video clips spanning past and present.
Instead of blue hyperlinks, revolutionary in their own time, I now want to search for community, find a variety of opinions, and to offer my own. I want to personalize that experience so that everything looks and feels like home.
Variety, customization, socialization and feedback are the new hallmarks of the Web. In the last five years or so, the Web has spawned a new generation of technologies, together called social media or social networking tools.
So I’m thinking, isn’t it time for a new breed of search engine, which lets me view and work within a diverse media map of my own content?
Once I enter a keyword, I want to see related information, including text, photos, video, reviews, recommendations, and even exchanges from my virtual world (if I have one).
Allow me to copy and paste information seamlessly into different accounts. Identify me through a photograph or avatar of my choice.
The Web is no longer just about links. It’s about building relationships. I want my search engine to work the same way.