Search vs Tags

Umair Haque writes:

Google finds itself facing a similar tension to Macrovision. If Macrovision makes perfectly efficient DRM, it puts itself out of business. If Google makes perfectly efficient search, it loses revenues fast.

Now, let’s think about tagging for a second. As the size of the tagosphere grows, the number of clicks it takes me to find the the thing I’m looking for drops.

In other words, search costs are falling rapidly as the tagosphere grows and gets interconnected between taggable apps across media.

At some point, tagging becomes more efficient than search. This point is reached when the number of Google clicks is greater than the number of related tag clicks (or similar proxy). When this happens, tagging becomes a perfect substitute for search.

Alternatively, you could consider a world where tagging picks up where search leaves off – you search for tennis racquet, click over to racquetworld, and then tag your way over to the perfect racquet. This is imperfect substitution, but still close enough to cause Google problems.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.