Why Are People So Clueless About Search?

March 18, 2009
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Yes, that’s a provocative title. But check out this far more provocative statement by Emil Protalinski in an Ars Technica article entitled “Why Microsoft continues with search: it’s still not solved“:

What Microsoft is saying here is that everyone should be able to find what they are looking for on their first attempt, every time.

I hope that’s not what Microsoft Live Search director Stefan Weitz, whom Protalinski interviewed, said or meant. Even Google, to the best of my knowledge, has never made so bold a claim. Not all information needs are amenable to one-shot queries, even using a divinely inspired search or “answer” engine.

I’m glad to see that Microsoft is taking search seriously, and I hope that their latest Kumo efforts create more credible competition for Google. But let’s not chase delusions.

For more details, check out my presentation on reconsidering relevance.

Yes, that’s a provocative title. But check out this far more provocative statement by Emil Protalinski in an Ars Technica article entitled “Why Microsoft continues with search: it’s still not solved“:

What Microsoft is saying here is that everyone should be able to find what they are looking for on their first attempt, every time.

I hope that’s not what Microsoft Live Search director Stefan Weitz, whom Protalinski interviewed, said or meant. Even Google, to the best of my knowledge, has never made so bold a claim. Not all information needs are amenable to one-shot queries, even using a divinely inspired search or “answer” engine.

I’m glad to see that Microsoft is taking search seriously, and I hope that their latest Kumo efforts create more credible competition for Google. But let’s not chase delusions.

For more details, check out my presentation on reconsidering relevance.

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