Search Insider Summit & presentation

Presented last week at the Search Insider Summit – great event with a lot of learnings. Everyone seems to be talking about the increased richness and personalization of search, and how it intersects with personal passions and the new social media environment, and what that means for traditional search marketing. Some roundtable notes can be found here: http://www.mediapost.com/blogs/raw/?p=2159.
My presentation focused on “context” as the organizing principle for search innovation. The future of search is about context. The era of one-size-fits-all search engines – a “search box and ten blue links” – is over. Gone are the days that a keyword search returns the same 10 results for every person, whenever and wherever they run the same query. Tomorrow’s search will be personalized, tailored for location, tailored for context, even for the weather! My presentation:

Abstract: The future of search is about context. The era of one-size-fits-all search engines – a “search box and ten blue links” – is over. The future will be contextualized and task-centric, focused on enabling discovery and not just keyword matching. Gone are the days that a keyword search returns the same 10 results for every person, whenever and wherever they run the same query. Tomorrow’s search will be personalized, tailored for location, tailored for context, even for the weather!

Context is environmental, task-centric, social, user-centric, and data & domain aware. Tomorrow’s search engines will know what time it is, where you are, what the weather is like, what your interests are – if you let them. They’ll know as much as you’ll let them about your social network and what they’re interested in, and let you leverage your network to help make decisions. They’ll use this entire context to do a better job of answering your query. Tomorrow’s search engines will have a much richer awareness of data than just a list of keywords – in addition to leveraging context, they will create context. They’ll condense volumes of information down to consumable “chunks” you can use to shape your discovery process. Based on your task and context, they’ll understand how to combine raw results with other information (photos & media, maps, summary views) to help you make sense of the ocean of information that’s out there.

This is starting to happen already. Drawing on examples from Google, Bing, Search Insider Summit alums Milo and Goby, and other new startups like Hunch and Siri, we’ll paint a picture for how tomorrow’s consumers will access information. We’ll explore what that might mean for brands and search marketing professionals looking for new and better ways to address the right audiences at the right time through the right channels.

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