The Future of Search. Really?

April 8, 2011

Dead tree version of the 4-8-11 New York Times’s story “New Search Technology Is Enhanced with Video,” Page B 3 of the business section. Interesting write up about Autonomy’s video search, which I would describe as augmented search, but that’s neither here nor there. For me, the weird part in the otherwise good write up was this passage:

There is now a broad consensus that the future of search will link search technologies with geographical location. Although the software can muddy the distinction between what is real and what is virtual, its most practical application would be in commerce and helping people search for bargains in the real world. [Emphasis added]

I thought this function was already here and on my ancient BlackBerry 8320 to boot!


But what’s the “broad consensus”? What’s the source of the consensus? By what method has consensus been determined? Did the writer tap the search engine optimization crowd? A public relations professional with a degree in art history or medieval poetry?

Sorry. No sources, no explanation, and no foundation. Maybe the New York Times in its rush to make print subscribers jump hoops to access the online edition is too busy to provide some facts. A blog post is one thing. But in the hard copy version of the story, a big gun newspaper should provide a tiny bit of back up for this “broad consensus” baloney. No big gun. More like a rubber band gun.

Forget the writer. What happened to the business section editor? Oh, looked fine.

Sorry. I don’t buy “broad consensus”. Lots of searches are for things other than eCommerce and finding a pizza in Gaithersburg, Maryland. How about a job search for some media mavens? What about looking up that antidote to save your kid? What about locating a quotation from a Shakespeare play last read in college via a Cliff’s Notes? Broad consensus my tail feathers. Two cents says that there will be a snooty rationalization about “broad consensus”. Thank goodness I am in Harrod’s Creek and not at One Park Avenue South where I would be tempted grouse at lunch. Just my opinion from rural Kentucky.

Stephen E Arnold, April 8, 2011



One Response to “The Future of Search. Really?”

  1. Steve McHale on April 8th, 2011 8:58 am

    I think you would like Jack Shafer’s Press Box column on com. He takes the NYT, WaPo (his employer!) and others to task for shoddy journalism. He would classify “broad consensus” as a weasel word.


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