Search Convergence

Mar 2, 2005 - 11:19 am 0 by

How search is going to be taken to other places by the engines.

MSN Search was up first, Oshoma Momoh, and wished Yahoo! a happy birthday. He said they think a lot about this topic, this is where they are excited about. Search today in 2005 is you find what you need in a fraction of a second, but you often need to do more, refine your search, click and more - taking a lot more time. Today's reality is you don't get the right answer right away. The dream is to answer, discover, recall and publish any information anywhere and at anytime. He said you want the answers on anything, PC, mobile, game console (xbox), on things that you would not image. What might convergence world look like? He said that all things (advertising, shopping, research, blogs, people, music, tv, video, sharing, email, messaging the list goes on...This will all revolve or resolved around search. He then spent a few minutes showing off MSN Search and the desktop product, which was nice, he showed some relaxing pictures. What's different in the "c-world"? Search as an ingredient (search in context, enhanced user experiences, entirely new experience), Natural computing (computing, storage, ram, cheap, voice, ink, gestures, devices), Online everything (pictures, video, tv, music, news, blogs, rss, advertising, worldwide). He said imagine asking the search to bring back pictures of my sister, it will figure it out based on knowing visually who your sister is. Happy one month birthday to MSN Search.

Next up was Ask Jeeves, Jim Lanzone. He explained that ask started off as a question/ask service in 1998. He said there are currently certain things we can't do, like answer the question as to "where are my keys?" Then he brought up when they bought Teoma, which was a first big step for Ask Jeeves. They stuck with the original premise of making it very easy to use. They started along a path that is beyond mere html documents. "The Staircase": Step 1 is the Web with billion of pages. Step 2 is PC & Media and Step 3 is Mobile. He then pulled up a book named "Being Digital" by Nicholas Negroponte from 1995 and quoted a few things. "Computing is not about computers anymore. It is about living." In Q2 please expect Ask's first mobile product, Mobile Smart Answers. He then showed off some of Ask Jeeves structure data, smart answers (they started doing this in 2003). He said that smart answers are exactly the right way to deliver to mobile environments. They just recently purchased Bloglines that has a mobile product right now. He then showed off Ask's desktop search. He showed how embedded video works well in the desktop search tool, he showed a T-Mobile commercial plugging Jeeves. He quickly moved from desktop, to web to my jeeves. He said Ask is currently looking to integrate the desktop results within the Web results but its a challenge. He then showed Bloglines and explained the importance of monitoring the Web.

Google was next, Marissa Mayer. Google thinks search is the most important aspect. It is a way to navigate information, on the Web that is the way people do it. Google local had more pageviews then Froogle during the holiday shopping season when it was not linked from the home page, which says something. They introduced Google Maps - its a cool tool, she said they are very user friendly. She then typed in Hilton and it showed the results on the map that were brought up, its pretty cool. She showed how direction in NYC can take you around the world, because of all the one way streets, so she clicked a button to "reverse directions" which made it quicker in distance. Marissa then moved over to personal information. In Oct. Google announced Desktop Search, and she showed examples. She then move over to the communication space. Email is the #1 application on the Internet. Search is a great way to organize your email, hence the announcement of Gmail. Don't worry about organizing your email in folders, in fact, she said there are no folders. She then showed some usability aspects of the gmail application, you know the way they thread email conversations together, which is really nice. They recently acquired Picasa Photo Organizer and Marissa shows it off. The most popular feature in Picasa is to share photos. Noticed that she did not wish Yahoo! a happy birthday. ;)

Gerry Campbell from AOL thanked Danny for letting him speak, he loves search. He gave a story on marbles, and how to find your marbles (sorry for not providing the context). How is search changing our lives? People have access to content, there is a ton of content, publishing is easier, and the technology is bringing it all together. Users are taking control of their information, and search is the fundamental tool for navigating the digital life. Generation One is search the Web for text. Generation Two is searching images, audio and visual AND local. Generation Three is about intelligent answers; AOL calls it snapshots. Query driven programming, better answers, faster. He typed in "vince carter" and bam, he has all the information about him. And he went through a ton of examples of "snapshots." From local, sports, music, movies, cakes, stocks, calculators, and games. He explains that these things are all built on the building blocks to make convergence possible. So in the future, it needs to be "me" focused. The real convergence is in the realm of ads and content. He said content and ads in the future become one and the same. Generating "auto leads" directly from search and content.

Last up was Yahoo!, Bradley Horowitz, he said today is the literal 10 year anniversary. Provide the world's most trusted search experience for users, publishers and advertisers. Yahoo! also considers themselves as a media company. In the past it was all about "mass media", today we can easily do "micro media." At Yahoo! they think a lot about "my media", its the ability to do both mass and micro based on the user. Digital Media Dartboard; music and the ipod, TV and tivo, movies and netflix, and publishing and my yahoo. Yahoo! believes that search lives at the center of this world. He said when he uses his tivo it takes him forever to find the content he wants, search would work well with that. He showed The Apprentice image as an example of mass media and then some viral marketing piece that is more micro media - hence "my media". My Yahoo! Search, - this tool allows you to define "my web." He then shows Yahoo! Desktop Search. Then moves on to Y!Q, which springs open a DHTML search box and results up at the "moment of inspiration." (Which makes me think, why didn't Google discuss the new "auto link" feature in Google Toolbar 3.) Then he shows off Yahoo! Mobile and throws up dozens of new products, features they added. The last slide read, "We Are Just Getting Started."


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