Yahoo just announced that they’ve hired Andrei Broder to be their VP of Emerging Search Technology. He’s worked for IBM and AltaVista in the past, and in an interview with Red Herring this week Broder summarized the major phases of search development so far. In the first phase searches were simply an effort to connect search terms with documents containing the same terms. The second phase (which he places in the mid- to late 90’s) began to consider linkage information along with web page attributes. Broder believes we’re in the third phase now which is about applying semantics to search. Instead of simply matching keyword search terms, the engine is attempting to understand what you mean to provide more relevant results. He sees the fourth generation of search as literally “outside the box??? – the search engine keyword box:
“If I understand enough about what you need and what you’re doing, maybe I can do search without a search box, and without you having to do an exclusive request. How can that happen? Context becomes very natural. Think about cars. Five years ago, people looked at maps. Now people have a GPS navigator. It pushes information to you. It’s a supplier of information on maps. It might have gas stations and restaurants. I have to tell the GPS to show me restaurants and gas stations. In two years, it will be connected with the gas gauge. When the gas gauge is a quarter full, it’ll start showing you gas stations.???
Advertisers, better start working on your gas gauge campaigns – where there’s content there will eventually be ads.
(Read the full interview here)