I started my career as an IT consultant 11 years ago. Most of my work revolves around Java development. Looking up for information on Java was limited. I remember making a lot of trips to the bookstore to get answers and tips on some of the complex issues I face at work. Then, Google was not so popular and Yahoo was very much still like a directory search. Either that, or I was still not exposed to the world of search. Well, Google was only officially included in Oxford Dictionary in June 15, 2006 anyway.
Online searches has been growing up in the last 10 years, and I believe that it has reach a level of maturity that is more than one can expect. Now, I can find almost any information on it. With meteoric rise of smart phones, information is literally on my fingertips. I remember this one time, I wanted to verify whether Venison is a type of beef or deer (my vocabulary in English is really bad). A quick google on my iPhone – there you go, its from a deer.
So in a nutshell, online searches has made my life so much easier. Most of my daily routines – will involve getting information from search. Let it be search for information or even getting simple information like currency conversion. In fact sometimes, I just google for fun! You really never know what you can get from a fun search.
Having said that, the newer generation now are so much more lucky as they are able to get access to information far easier than me. Back in secondary school, I really hated history subject because most of the resources I have is so boring. The knowledge that I get is limited to the information that is provided in the text book. If I want additional information, I would need to dig in to the books in the library, and that sucks. I can safely say, if there were access to online searches such as Google and Yahoo then, I would definitely love history. In fact, I probably would not even be an IT consultant now. History is so much more fun. Then again, it’s never too late to learn history. A quick type in the search box “malaysia merdeka timeline”, would give more than 5 pages worth of results. And of course not all results are relevant, but I am pretty sure that at least 30% is related to what I wanted to find.
Because of the impact on searches by the Internet, the usage of searches has evolved into more things such as Desktop Searches. Personally, I hardly use the “Windows Start Menu” or Mac “Finder” because I either have Windows Search or Spotlight. I remember in the Windows XP days, the tips and tricks of the OS is to disable Searches because takes resources when it comes to indexing. On top of that, the searches would also waste valuable space. Its definitely fair, because cost of disk and processing power is so much more expensive. Nowadays, with the technological advances, definitely the experience is hell a lot more usable and it just works as if nothing is happening.
Since the launch of Windows 7, I’ve been using desktop searches to perform most of my daily tasks. My typical task would be pressing the Windows button on the keyboard, and then typing the document or email that I would like to modify or read. In sub-second, the list of emails will come out and I would just press the link. Outlook will launch, and the email is ready to be read or reply. I can also do funky stuffs by using the search syntax, such as the plus sign – to make my results more accurate. It’s just much faster than traversing through the complex maze of folder in my Outlook. Then again, its pretty much my fault for organizing such away that I have millions of levels to reach a particular usable folder.
On the other hand, searches has also evolved into Enterprises. A lot of the search provider such as Google and Microsoft provide Enterprise editions for their engine. Google for example, they have those funky looking Google Appliance, which just need to be plugged into the network. Once connected, it will crawl to the different servers and applications. The information will be index and stored in the appliance.
The amazing bit about the google apps is that the look and feel is exactly the same as the google that we see via www.google.com. Well, it really conforms to the idea of “If it is not broke, why fix it”. Google apps will not just crawl thru documents, but it also crawls into Enterprise applications and databses – giving the “searcher” really a view of the system. The results are also restricted via the user permissions. It is truly an amazing piece of technology. In fact, what it does really is just to bring search to the Enterprise. Just imagine working on Siebel, and you could use the search syntaxes to perform search for that particular case that you have solved 3 years ago!
Search will continue to evolve. To what, I personally would not know. It definitely has evolved to something that I could not imagine 10 years ago. And ten years from now, god knows what this genius will come out with. Sometimes, little things will just make it pop. Few weeks ago when the dynamic search result was release, I was like wow! That totally changed the search experience. In fact that has made my searches much faster and accurate. In fact, I believe on Google – they would have save a lot more bandwidth and processing power as searches gets more accurate.
How does search affect your life? What do you think it will evolve too?