“Search in it’s early days.” !?

Mr. Pell who is CEO of Powerset posts on the 19th an entry chockablock full of tidbits waiting to be spoiled.

For instance,

…It is often said that the rival that will overthrow Google is only a click away. Monier is sceptical. “It’s very difficult to innovate on the scale that we do,” he said. “You need a really radical idea, and need to execute it well.”

If I was Google I wouldn’t take such a publicly dismissive attitude. Search isn’t so hard. Innovation isn’t so hard. SCALE… now that IS hard! And it’s something any successful destination on the web is going to have to address early in their lifetime. But for a wicked smart person such as Mr. Norvig to be so cavalier as to dismiss the agreggate power of their competitors… After all, what little upstart in a garage turned the industry on its ear? Google. And they weren’t exactly a gargantuan entity at the time. No, I think Mr. Norvig’s a bit “off” on that one and should stick to his thing.

I’ll set another one up:

“We are at the very beginning of search,” said Norvig. He said his colleagues were “disappointed” that most searches still start by typing a couple of words into a box on a web page.

OK, Mr. Norvig… we’re at the dawn of the internet (and whatever progeny it’s going to cast off). Imagine 250 years out (assuming we don’t destroy ourselves). Today’s “internet” is going to be infantile in comparison. Heck, imagine 50 years out! I would LOVE to see what Mr. Norvig thinks is a good search… I would LOVE to see the something that doesn’t dissappoint he and his “colleagues”.

I guess my point is this… until the database of intentions is so good that it can read our minds well before we can think to even type our desire… well, today’s search is probably good enough to last a long while. And, Google in my estimation has a lock on the opportunity to fulfill most search requests. NOT because they’re that much better than Powerset or Inktomi or Yahoo or MSN or Autonomy or Verity but because they have brand recognition and a CLEARLY recognizable identity (unlike some of the be-all-end-all’s above). I go to Google for two reasons – they’re integrated into my browser (Safari) and their searching tool is simple and uncluttered.

Today, they are the go-to supplier for “results” that are good enough to satisfy most consumers of web site data. They’re good at it. But, if Mr. Norvig has an angle on just how bad a product search is right now… I’d love to know how much better search results could be. To be sure, we all iterate our products. I sense either Google’s about to unleash something so spectactularly better on us or they’re wringing their mitts in anticipation of someone else doing the same to them as they did to Yahoo a few years ago.

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