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Universal Search is People!

To quote a favorite scream from the movie Soilent Green.

I was walking through the process of Universal Search with a client last week. She had no concept of what a "GoogleBot" was. Yahoo Slurp? Not even.

It reminded me that the details of how search engines work are very foreign to most people. I maen, you just type in a word, and it spits out links, right? No mystery. No magic.

In reality, there is so much going on behind the scenes to make that simple search happen.

There are pages being indexed (added to the database).

Mathematic algorythms parsing pages to see how many keywords are on a page; how many links from related sites; what word(s) are used in that link. The URL of that link. The number of other sites that are related to the one being examined...

It goes on forever.

In reality, Universal Search is People: The search engines just want to provide a better, more personal and relevant experience for the user.

Since images, video, blog posts, news and podcasts have become a natural part of our daily viewing, it simply makes sense to bring those to the same page you used to get simple web page searches.

Think on this: In another year or two, people won't think in terms of Web Search vs Universal Search. The line will have blurred (and Google+Yahoo!+MSN+ASK will create pretty containers for all that visual information) to the point that it just becomes "Search".

We hope by that time, rather than explaining spiders, slurp and meta, we can just say we work with the search engines to help your clients find you easier, faster, and in more places.

Mark Alan Effinger


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