Wanna know a secret? Traditional search is dead. Yep, I said it. You know what I mean; typing text into a blank box and clicking “Search” or “I’m Feeling Lucky” is slowly giving way to a new kind of search, something much more intuitive, accurate and helpful. I’m talking about the new search technologies that are define Web 2.0 and continue to shape the way we live. These new forms of searching include:
- Audio search (Shazam and SoundHound)
- Image-recognition search (Google Googles, TinEye)
- Location-based search (Foursquare, Google Maps)
- Social search (Facebook, Twitter)
- Barcode search (RedLaser, Barcode Hero)
- Realtime search (Twitter, Google News)
- Suggestive search (Netflix, Hunch)
These are just some examples of unique ways searching the web has evolved in recent years and the examples given in the parentheses are just simply the first that came to mind. None of this is in any particular order and I’m probably forgetting something important, but the key here is to take note of the dramatic shift in how we’re finding information these days.
Yes, while we still use traditional search engines, we’re relying more and more on these newer technologies to guide us to both specific content that we’re looking for as well as content that we don’t even know we’re looking for (as in the case of suggestive search). It is my sincere belief that the future of web development lies in this field, which I call non-traditional search.
Now for the kicker. The company that controls the best versions of these non-traditional search technologies will control the future of the web and guess what? No single company has taken this position or appears to even be moving towards it yet. Wait a minute you say, what about Google? Aren’t they the king of search? Well yes, they certainly are the king of traditional web searches and while they do have some significant market share in some of these non-traditional search technologies, traditional search still seems to be their focus. I would not be surprised to see another company pop up in the next few years with the intentions to dominate the non-traditional search market. This company could very likely rival the growth and profitability of Google. Yes, that is how strongly I believe in the untapped potential of this market.
You see, right now the search technologies listed above are controlled by a vast array of different companies. What is missing is a unified brand. Someone needs to step up and take all of this technology under one roof. They need to brand themselves as a revolutionary search engine that can find exactly what you’re looking for based on your location, your friends suggestions, the image you just uploaded, the song playing from your car stereo, the bar code you just scanned, the things you already like and other non-traditional concepts.
In my opinion, whoever does this will capture the market for the future of search and lead us into a new era where finding what we’re looking for no longer revolves around a keyboard and a text box, but rather centers around actions that are much more integral to everyday living. Moreover, as we move away from traditional computer usage and more towards mobile browsing, the searches outlined about will take place predominately on mobile devices. This is looking more and more like uncharted territory. Now the only question is, which single company will step up and be the first to plant their flag? The “search” is on to answer that question.
In a follow-up blog post, I will discuss these specific non-traditional search technologies in more detail, so stay tuned!