Jerry Yang on the future of search over in Yahoo’s Search Blog. Nothing mind blowing here, save it’s sure nice to see Jerry blogging.
Ten years ago, we were focused on a simple yet vast problem: finding better ways to aggregate and organize information so people can find it. Today, the challenge is different. On the one hand, there’s a lot more information to aggregate and it’s not just more in terms of quantity; there’s a larger variety of content as well — from products and images to news and business information. In addition, we’re pulling content from more sources than ever before.
On the other hand, our user’s expectations have also changed. It’s no longer enough to simply provide a structure for users to find what they want on the Web. Today, people expect to find precisely what they’re looking for exactly as it relates to them. It’s the old example of the “Java” search query. Are you looking for coffee or for the programming language? People want to define what’s relevant to them in their own personal way. They also want to tap into the source of their information at will and they want to manage it all to personally suit their needs.
That’s what is exciting about where we are today. Search as a problem is still far from being solved. The user is in the driver’s seat: they want an experience that is increasingly personal, more relevant, and ties into their task more integrally. Search is just a way to get that integrated experience, but it’s all about what the users want – when they want it, how they want it, and who they want it from.