Don’t get me wrong. If I need to find something on the Internet, I know how to type a few keywords inside a search box.
But remember those almost bygone linear search days when all we had to do was to scan a list of blue links and choose one or two or maybe three?
Even more troublesome is discovering that today’s Internet’s search tools haven’t kept up with the way we’re using the Web.
Of course, maybe if I’m checking the spelling of a city in Florida, or the name of an album by Nina Simone, I’m in good shape. Fact search. But that’s where it ends.
Look. What if I really want to ask a realtor about a particular property located near my mother-in-law’s beach house and if the price will be reduced next week so I can bid on it? Or if I want to find a local Nina Simone buff who’d help organize a fundraiser for a musician, a friend of a friend’s, who played with Nina for 20 years and now is sick without medical coverage?
The Web is not just about fact-finding. It’s a way to create community across mutual interests.
In the last five years or so, the Web has spawned a new generation of technologies, together called social media or social networking tools.
President Obama’s campaign brought Twitter to national attention as he built a constituency in 140-character length messages. Facebook is the service that college students introduced to their parents as a way of keeping in touch during semesters. LinkedIn has been discovered by the minions of unemployed as a way of finding business contacts. And YouTube is a repository of video clips spanning past and present.
I now want to search for community, find a variety of opinions, and to offer my own. I want to personalize that experience so that everything looks and feels like home.
To do this today, requires for me to hop in and out of browser windows as I open and close accounts, do a variety of searches and possibly collect responses in another file for later review.
So I’m thinking, isn’t it time for a new breed of search engines?
Once I enter a keyword, I want to see related information in all its glory, including text, photos, video, and even from my virtual world (if I have one).
Don’t force me to keep returning to some Internet information mall and to remember my password at every turn.
Reinvent a universal signon with coding muscle. Bring up social networking networks that are related to a particular search. Allow me to copy and paste information seamlessly into different accounts. Identify me through a photograph or avatar of my choosing with different attribute levels.
Until then: Honey, not tonight. I have a headache.