Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Search Trails - Taking Search to a Lower Level

The birth of a new search engine doesn't happen very often. Yesterday Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales launched his new 'google killing' search engine - wikia. Sadly it seems to have been universally panned the moment it left the starting blocks.

It reminds me of when we first entered the industry. OOF! I can still smell the canvas! ;-)

Since then we've learnt a lot. There will be no Google-killing search engine anytime soon and social search is not simply Facebook + search. I believe social search is about creating a shared global search memory similar to Vannevar Bush's 1945 vision of the Memex.
"There is a new profession of trail blazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record."
Search trails are the missing ingredient - a simple, transparent, democratic system of way finding - no PageRank, OpenRank, MinesMoreOpenThanYoursRank - required.

Wikia, Mahalo and Google will litter the search landscape with Knols and other 'editor' controlled silos of information - but we will still need trails between them. The trails themselves need to be honest search memories, made by the masses, not by a group of self-appointed 'editors'.

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