The Journey of Search Part IV: Are You Psychic?

Part III discussed vertical search, which totally changed the way people searched for information on the Web. Instead of online users having to sift through numerous results, the engines grouped them based on search preferences. Instead of receiving a thousand links on the ongoing crisis in the Crimea, people looking for news on the matter will receive fewer but more accurate links.

Now, search has reached the current time frame or Search 4.0 as Danny Sullivan calls it. You can see Google listing search suggestions before you even finish typing the words. The truly strange part is that Google guesses your search term right most of the time. It’s not surprising if you suddenly start telling Google to stop reading your mind.

Of course, Google isn’t psychic. It uses data collected from search entries and collate them into a system that completes them for the user. Google calls this “autocomplete,” which offers a load of benefits for the user such as faster searching than before and correction of misspelled words. You can’t turn it off, though.

Search 4.0 also harnessed the power of social media. Search results, namely reviews on a product or service, have incorporated results from social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. As far as reviews are concerned, however, Yelp is a more suitable platform compared to others. With most everyone having at least one social media account, search’s transition is hardly a surprise.

Can search go any further? Find out on Part V.


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