Your Mobile Is the Search Interface: In App or In Ept Revisited

June 7, 2015

I wrote an article for Information Today about the shift from having control of a search to being controlled by a search. The idea is that with an in app search function, the convenience makes the user in ept. With limited choices and the elimination of user defined filtering, the in app search converts searchers into puppets. The string puller is the ubiquitous and convenient search system.

I read “How Google Is Taking Search Outside the Box.” Nifty title but the opposite, in my opinion, is what’s “appening.” Search is now within the mobile device.

The write up asserts:

But search is still the heart of Google, even though the division that once went by that name is now called “Knowledge.” This reflects an evolution of Google search from something that pointed users to relevant websites to an all-knowing digital oracle that often provides answers to questions instantly (or sooner!) from a vast corpus of information called the Knowledge Graph. The whole ball of wax is threatened by the fact that the I/O of billions of users is now centered on mobile devices.

Google is indeed threatened with a search revenue problem. One way to address providing information to a user is to move the interaction inside the Google “walled garden.” In Google Version 2.0, now out of print, I explained that the walled garden allows Google to control the messages, information, and search results. The user consumes what Google delivers. Convenience for many is more important than taking control of the information provided.

For me, it is very, very difficult to run queries on a mobile device. The size and the keyboards present a problem. The results are difficult to manipulate. When I run queries from my desktop, I am able to move content, save it, output it, and process it using tools which are not available on a mobile device.

I do not accept mobile outputs as accurate. Last week I was in Prague. My mobile device connected in Frankfurt, Germany, and the system required two days to figure out that I was working in Prague. The few stabs I took at getting maps for Prague required lots of thumb typing.

The combination of half cooked software, high latency mobile systems for content delivery, and the paramount need to display unwanted information were evident.

The fix, for me, was to take my laptop computer, locate a “neutral” Wi-Fi connection, and take control of the queries.

Those who mindlessly consume what an in app experience delivers are racing toward ineptness. Sorry. Consuming information without considering what’s presented, ensuring that the output is one that meets the needs of the user, and performing the filtering function oneself are pretty dangerous behaviors.

Google is about revenue. The logic of the math club is not an approach designed to help out users. The problem is that consumers of information are not able to think about the objectivity, accuracy, or the relevance of the information.

Not good.

Stephen E Arnold, June 7, 2015


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