Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Innovations in Search

An article in today's MIT's Technology Review discusses ongoing innovations in search.
Dan Crow, product manager at Google, says people are generally happy with the interface as it exists today. "The basic format hasn't changed much because it's been successful ... It works well for most of the users most of the time."
There is no argument that Google works well compared to what was available in the past, and been very successful; but there are huge opportunities for further innovation. The current implementation delivers results that are popular. It's often difficult to filter through a large volume of search results to find information that is meaningful, accurate and relevant.

I found Google's introduction to their public experimental search lacking. I joined the experiment for Right-hand contextual search navigation. Google's offering of alternate views for search results (list, info, timeline, and map views) didn't grab my interest. Although I'm enthusiastic about the value of the timeline view, the others didn't get me excited. I was a little relucant because it wasn't made clear up-front, what signing up for a Google experiment means. Now when I open a new browser window and search on Google, I get some extra GUI elements that provide context prompts based on my search results. I signed up in MS Explorer, and the features don't seem to carry over automatically to FireFox. My first impression of the new tools is positive, but I like to know what I'm getting into before I sign-up for something online. I guess the fact that I went ahead indicates that Google has earned my trust enough for me to take a chance on something new.

Related links:
Clusty Search clustering 2.0


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