Matthew Koll on Search

Excerpts from a SearchEngineWatch interview with the founder and CEO of Wondir:

I’m still waiting for the great breakthrough in visualizing search results. Clusters, folders etc are nice. And I’m continually attracted to new attempts at graphical or spatial displays. And I like the new A9 interface, Nevertheless, nothing I’ve seen really has the intuitive clarity and simplicity needed to be a major improvement in efficiency for the user.

[Google is in the business of] advertising. That’s where their revenue comes from, so that’s their business. The Google site just happens to be one of their best distribution outlets (pretty convenient for them huh?). I think of Google as two companies. And it wouldn’t surprise me if one day there were to split in two.

I don’t think its possible to overemphasize the revolution that GoTo (now Overture now Yahoo) and Google have created in the world of advertising, For content and media companies, search companies, any company that is in the business of having users tell them something about what they are interested in – GoTo and Google have created a superb enabling environment.

I’m not expecting true natural language understanding any time soon. But we can continue doing a whole bunch of little things – such as specific results for known questions, recognizing known entities. We can make better use of user feedback, and of clues to the user’s intention. I think that far more than personalization, tuning results to the users task at the time will produce greater improvements in relevance.

I think searching by voice will be huge. When I have a question, I want to just say it out loud and have results appear.

[In 5 years, we will see] Voice access. Task integration. Unified natural language access to all different kinds of information: web documents, desktop documents, network documents, contact info, definitions, media segments, background info, and live Q&A of course.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.