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Saturday, 27th September 2008

Reading the Future of Web Search

Reading the Future of Web Search

Believe it or not, Google turns 10 this month. Though other search engines predated it -- remember AltaVista and Infoseek? -- Google has become synonymous with Web searching. Over the course of the past decade, we've become accustomed to typing a couple of words, clicking the search button, and browsing the results page with the 10 blue links Google spits back at us.

This worked well as long as Google's index of the Web was relatively small. But now it contains at least 15 billion pages, plus images, audio clips, videos, books and all sorts of other information. That's a lot of stuff to sift through.

Google is aware of this. Last year they introduced Universal Search, which blends content from their other indexes into the results page. Thus, a search for John McCain will return the usual 10 blue links (at least one of which is a YouTube video), plus 3 links under each of the following additional headings: News, Video, Blog and Books results. There's even a related searches heading containing suggestions such as "John McCain quotes," "Ron Paul" and "2008 presidential candidates."

This is helpful, but is it the future of Web search? Some people think not, and they've launched search engines that organize information differently than Google does. These next-generation search tools utilize concepts such as clustering, visualization and human editors.

Source: The Legal Intelligencer (by Dan Giancaterino, ResourceShelf contributing editor)


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