Search 2006

I’m not going to make new predictions for search this year — it’s already underway, and my predictions for 2005 mostly did not come true. I predict that most of them will, in the fullness of time:

Metadata-enhanced search. Yahoo! and Google opened Creative Commons windows on their web indices. Interest in semantic markup (e.g., microformats) increased greatly, but search that really takes advantage of this is a future item. (NB I consider the services enabled by more akin to browse than search and as far as I know they don’t allow combinging tag and keyword queries.)

Proliferation of niche web scale search engines. Other than a few blog search services, which are very important, I don’t know of anything that could be called “web scale” — and I don’t know if blog search could really be called niche. One place to watch is public search engines using Nutch. Mozdex is attempting to scale up, but I don’t know that they really have a niche, unless “using open source software” is one. Another place is Wikipedia’s list of internet search engines.

On the other hand, weblications (as Web 2.0) did take off.

I said lots of desktop search innovation was a near certainty, but if so, it wasn’t very visible. I predicted slow progress on making multimedia work with the web, and I guess there was very slow progress. If there was forward progress on usable security it was slow indeed. Open source did slog toward world domination (e.g., Firefox is the exciting platform for web development, but barely made a dent in Internet Explorer’s market share) with Apple’s success perhaps being a speed bump. Most things did get cheaper and more efficient, with the visible focus of the semiconductor industry swinging strongly in that direction (they knew about it before 2005).

Last year I riffed on John Battelle’s predictions. He has a new round for 2006, one of which was worth noting at Creative Commons.

Speaking of predictions, of course Google began using prediction markets internally. Yahoo!s Tech Buzz Game has some markets relevant to search but I don’t know how to interpret the game’s prices.

2 Responses

  1. “Firefox is the exciting platform for web development, but barely made a dent in Internet Explorer’s market share.”

    Thanks for the link. 9% is not bad, but they got 3/4 of that growth during the first half of the year 2005.

    Mike L., do you think that Google will help popularizing FireFox?


  2. Certainly bundling will take Firefox adoption to the next level. Google Pack is an example of that. Even better would be preinstalls on new computers. There are many rumors that Dell will do this.

    FWIW there was (is, waiting to be judged) a Foresight Exchange claim about IE market share last year. Unfortunately its possible trading range (mapped to IE share — 80 to 90 percent) was very narrow, so although the trading price swung wildly, mapped to IE share it was never far from the final result. I don’t think anything can be said about the market’s success or lack thereof in this case.

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