TECH TALK: The Future of Search: Information Dashboards Rationale (Part 2)

Attention: The next-generation search engines need to morph into information dashboards with centralised data stores accessible to us on any device at any time. Think of this as the next version of MyYahoo understands our context (location and time of day), is built on our preferences (subscriptions), leverages the wisdom of crowds (tags), and allows for serendipity (discovery). There is seamless mobility as I can access this event store and flow from not just any of the computers but also my mobile device The commodity that the information dashboards seek to optimise is one that has not increased and will not increase Attention To build the new generation of search engines and information dashboards, we need to combine interface innovation with mobility integration and centre them around Attention.

Subscriptions: RSS is the HTML of tomorrow, and Subscriptions will be the Search of tomorrow. RSS is reaching a tipping point and making its way beyond the early adopters. The potential of RSS goes way beyond just reading blogs it is a fundamentally different way to consume informationEven as Search is the window to the Reference Web, the Aggregator is becoming the window to the Incremental Web.

Tags: Tags are the wisdom of crowds. There is every reason for them not to work. And yet, they do. Along with subscriptions, tags are the other fundamental building block of the event-driven interface of tomorrow.

Discovery: As more and more of our interests and actions are available on centralised servers, the process of discovery will become easier not just discovery of content, but also discovery of other people with similar interests. In a sense, the information dashboards have to build upon the social networking sites what our friends and family say means a lot more to us than what someone else says. This creates another layer of search we can view the world in a series of concentric circles which expand the sphere of search and discovery.

Interfaces: We need to think of innovative interfaces and that is where ideas like Ajax come in. But we also need to think beyond the computer to the mobile device. This is where speech comes in. Think of an integrated query-presentation interaction environment and that is where we can learn from video games (and word processors and spreadsheets). As Ramesh Jain puts it in his Gartner interview, the search becomes WYSIWYG what you see is what you get.

In essence, as RSS becomes the de facto standard for syndicating information, how the information is consumed will need to be controlled by the user. This is where the Information Dashboard will come in. It will need to give the user the flexibility to package collections of RSS feeds for viewing for different experiences these could be based on the device I am using (I may want a smaller subset of feeds on the mobile), or time of the day (I may want a different view in the evening as compared to the morning).

Once subscriptions start becoming popular, there will be a need for a new interface for this Web which is built around our lives combining the Incremental, Archived and Community Webs. This is where the next innovation in computing will happen. This is the future of Search not directly in the field of search, but in addressing the root of the problem of information overload. This is where Information Dashboards will thrive built around events, subscriptions, tags and discovery, built with cutting-edge software innovations, available to us on the devices of our choice, and focused around optimizing our Attention.

Next Week: The Future of Search (continued)

TECH TALK The Future of Search+T

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.