Opening remarks: Gord Hotchkiss, CEO & President, Enquiro â€”Emcee of the Search Insider Summit
Where is search at? This year was the first time seeing a major change to what users see via universal or combined search, as well as the beginning of personalization and search term suggestions or query refinement.
Gord recently talked to usability people at the major search engines via a webinar which can be found at enquiroresearch.com
The “holy grail” of search is disambiguation, i.e. understanding user intent.
Four things that came out of the webinar.
Personalization holds promise, but in 2008 it’s not going to impact user experience that much. Engines like Google will continue to play with personalization in the coming year, but don’t expect much.
Social graph – what people are doing as a community. To use this to disambiguate will be good for head phrases but not the long tail. Query refinement such as what Yahoo is doing is one way to disambiguate.
More useful results are coming! Blended results are just the first step. It’s not just the implementation of universal results that will improve the search experience. It’s also the core of search that needs to be improved.
Mashups – expect search to move from “destination search” and more towards powering search in other applications and situations.
“Quantum leaps”.Â It won’t be desktop search. It will be Mobile Search in large part due to the iPhone. Bottlenecks are being solved bringing enhanced features and functionality to the mobile space.
As results become more useful, the less users will move from the search results page. Clicks may not be the best metric, especially if they’re getting answers right within the search results.