A couple of quick updates re Search Solutions 2010: first, I am pleased to announce that Yahoo will be joining the programme, with Vivian Lin Dufour presenting on “how to help searchers become better searchers”. So that gives us 12 talks in all – the most we have ever had. It’s looking like a great programme, with dedicated sessions on web search, enterprise search, new entrants (search startups) and lots more.
And then of course there’s the the panel… which brings me to my second update. Another recent development from Yahoo is the launch of their Time Explorer, which is described as a prototype that “lets users explore the future”. Now, this isn’t the first time that news corpora have been the subject of advanced search capabilities, but what make the Time Explorer different is that “it creates timelines based on search queries that not only provide a way to check the accuracy of past predictions, but also allows users to view predictions that are yet to occur.”
So that got me thinking … I wonder what it says about the way search will look in five years time? Or similarly, what were people saying about the prospects for time-based search five years ago?! And so on … Unfortunately, we might have to wait a while before it gives answers to intriguing questions such as these – not because it can’t (in principle), but simply because the corpus it uses is a collection of 1.8 million New York Times (NYT) articles, covering generic news content. A keyword query for “search engine” with the timeline set to “future” produces just a couple of results – not really enough to power any meaningful predictions.
But not to worry – I think we can pick up the baton where this particular question leaves off. With Search Solutions entering its 5th successful year, why don’t we take the opportunity to ask the question ourselves: i.e. What will search look like in five years time? Which startups are most likely to change the commercial landscape? Which research ideas and prototypes will have become mainstream?
If you want to find answers to questions such as these, come and join us for the panel session at Search Solutions 2010. Of course, no-one is going to be held to account if their predictions don’t come true (at least, not until Search Solutions 2015 🙂 But I think it will be fun trying.