The future of search is context - search insider summit 2010


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Slides from my presentation at Captiva Island Search Insider Summit in April 2010

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  • Where search is going, and how context – the environment and circumstances around us – will be the organizing principle of search innovation, and then talk about what that means for all of us in the search industry. Overview :  The future of search is context – tomorrow’s search engines will be task-oriented, context-aware, and context-creating. Abstract : The future of search is about context. The era of one-size-fits-all search engines - a "search box and ten blue links" - is over. The future will be contextualized and task-centric, focused on enabling discovery and not just keyword matching. Gone are the days that a keyword search returns the same 10 results for every person, whenever and wherever they run the same query. Tomorrow's search will be personalized, tailored for location, tailored for context, even for the weather! Context is environmental, task-centric, social, user-centric, and data & domain aware. Tomorrow’s search engines will know what time it is, where you are, what the weather is like, what your interests are – if you let them. They’ll know as much as you’ll let them about your social network and what they’re interested in, and let you leverage your network to help make decisions. They’ll use this entire context to do a better job of answering your query. Tomorrow’s search engines will have a much richer awareness of data than just a list of keywords – in addition to leveraging context, they will create context. They’ll condense volumes of information down to consumable “chunks” you can use to shape your discovery process. Based on your task and context, they’ll understand how to combine raw results with other information (photos & media, maps, summary views) to help you make sense of the ocean of information that’s out there. This is starting to happen already. Drawing on examples from Google, Bing, Search Insider Summit alums Milo and Goby, and other new startups like Hunch and Siri, we'll paint a picture for how tomorrow's consumers will access information. We’ll explore what that might mean for brands and search marketing professionals looking for new and better ways to address the right audiences at the right time through the right channels.
  • Turn to science fiction for inspiration…. Knows who he is….that he likes beer….that he needs to “get away”….his emotional state… His context… Now, there’s some danger in all this context….as you know if you’ve ever been hit with a runaway behavioral targeting campaign….
  • It’s all here, mistaken identity, inappropriate disclosure of personal information, bad recommendations… But this is the future of advertising….I promised to talk about the future of search. What’s to prevent all that? Context!
  • If you weren’t sleeping through high school english, you remember the 5 Ws (who what when where why, and how) – what’s with the H? I prefer to think about context this way: Time / Task / Location / Identity Constant chatter of things like news, weather, etc also influencing context. Context as the “organizing principle” for innovation Let’s explore what that might mean for search
  • So this is starting to happen today. Here’s a simple example of a search I ran during the final four. Google recognizes the context – there’s a tournament going – and knows that the word “Duke” has some meaning in that context. If I ran that search today, I’d get a different answer. This is the engine explicitly recognizing & using time as a context.
  • Search tools are might also use time as an explicit context provided by the user – this is an example from my company’s site – Goby lets you provide a time range, and interprets the query relative to the indexed pages to show you meaningful, relevant content – in this case, Jazz concerts in NyC this coming weekend.
  • Here is an example of another kind of context- Task. If I know what you a trying to do, I can give you a deeper experience. In this case, as I’m searching for travel destinations, I can navigational aids that are task-relevant. In this case, I want destinations that are “beachy”, good in August, and within 8 hours of my location. Your father’s oldsmobile – the ten blue links - can’t give you this kind of experience. (oh and for the bing guys in the room, you can pay me later…. 8)
  • Milo is a search insider alum – they make use of location in two directions – my location as well the things I am interested in – so they can show me digital cameras in stock in stores near me – they also of course make use of task as a context – I’m shopping.
  • Further out into the future, Google Goggles & a startup called Layer and others are chasing “augmented reality” – basically an information system overlaid onto the real world….
  • Identity is the next key element of context – both my personal identity and my network’s identity. Hunch is a new york startup I am a big fan of – creating what they call the personal taste graph – what am I interested in, what do I like, and who are people who share my tastes…. as I use Hunch, it learns more about me, and can do a better job of serving up information.
  • Google’s social search experiments – when I search for iPad, content from my social network makes it’s way into the search results… are you going to SEO that? Remember Mike’s picture – we’re going to come back to that….
  • Influenced by weather, current events, social activities Social/real time search will become much more pervasive
  • Is this a search engine? Doesn’t feel like one. Feels like a travel site! Pictures, prices, ratings, maps….
  • More like personal assistants or lifestyle recommendation engines
  • Search engines not just *using* context, they are *creating* it. Example of very simple, but very useful creation of context
  • Here’s a much more in-depth context-creation experience, around selecting a concert…
  • Understand how your brand’s content on the web can support context. Some of this is simple – produce structured data – microformats, rdfa, xml data feeds etc. (e.g. Good Relations RDFa for product data) You can’t control how your brand will be seen in the content marketplace – but where you can control it, you should – produce structured data for serps Some is harder – creating context and content that supports search engines down the road as people look for your products or services Find other channels than just google – likely convert better and are cheaper / less competitive – more efficient e.g. foursquare for restaurants - New search engines – not just what are you looking for, but why are you looking for it? Task-centric means they can do better, especially if they have structured data
  • Echoing what was said at the last SIS…your job is going to get harder, but more fun. Networks that can handle the semantics of what’s available or desired How to get to the right audience at the right time through the right channel?
  • The future of search is context - search insider summit 2010

    1. 1. 1
    2. 2. Ten Blue Links
    3. 3. The future of search
    4. 4. Things can go wrong…
    5. 5. What is context? Context: the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea. Identity Location Task Time
    6. 6. Context: Time (implicit)
    7. 7. Context: Time (Explicit)
    8. 8. Context: Task
    9. 9. Context: Location
    10. 10. Context: Location (Augmented Reality) Image  licensed as  Creative Commons Attribution  by Mac Funamizu.
    11. 11. Context: Identity (the personal taste graph)
    12. 12. Context: Identity
    13. 13. What’s really going on here? <ul><li>Blurring of the concept of a search engine </li></ul><ul><li>Search engines will morph into rich applications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focused on fulfilling needs, not answering keyword queries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More like personal assistants </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Powered by context </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Time, Task, Location, Identity, Weather, News…. </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Search engine or destination site?
    15. 15. Are these search engines? <ul><li>Siri </li></ul><ul><li>Goby </li></ul>
    16. 16. Creating Context
    17. 17. Creating context (Goby music)
    18. 18. Creating context (Goby music)
    19. 19. Creating context (Goby music)
    20. 20. Creating Context <ul><li>Linked Data ( or </li></ul><ul><ul><li>using the Web to connect related data that wasn't previously linked </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Microformats, RDFa (e.g. Good Relations) </li></ul>
    21. 21. What does this mean for you?
    22. 22. If you are a brand: <ul><li>How does your brand’s “webprint” answer to context? </li></ul><ul><li>This new information ecosystem will reward enabling context </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Incent your users to participate & create in social media – content will drive context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Produce structured data </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Find alternate channels to reach your customers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Figure out where they are and what they care about </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intent-driven interactions convert better than display ads </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think about affiliate programs, location based coupons </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Search is the purest expression of intent on the web </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Task-centric, structured data search engines can do better </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But we are engaged in a guessing game with the user </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help us by providing better data & better context </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23. If you are a marketer: <ul><li>Your job is going to get a lot harder – but way more fun </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You will have more channels to think about </li></ul></ul><ul><li>More diverse media / creative requirements by channel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blurring of lines between ads and apps (e.g. HTML5 ads in iAd) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The era of “everyone gets the same answer” is over </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Traditional SEO is going to wither </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Targeting & analytics - BT / Contextual targeting – more important than ever </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Will see the rise of context exchanges or networks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>OwnerIQ (an “ownership” context exchange), BlueKai (intent data) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> (Hyperlocal ad exchanges/networks) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do I advertise to people who are traveling in August? </li></ul></ul>
    24. 24. Forsman & Bodenfors for IKEA
    25. 25. In Summary…. <ul><li>10 blue links are dead </li></ul><ul><li>Context is king (but powered by content) </li></ul><ul><li>You will be able to “know your audience” better than ever </li></ul><ul><li>“ Catering to your audience” is the challenge </li></ul><ul><li>How are you going to feed the beast? </li></ul>