Admit it; you were around pre-Google. I know I was. My first search engine was Ms. Little at our high school library and she knew everything. I’d love to see today how she would work in a digital world. I’m sure she would have mastered it.
But, fast forward to the beginnings of being connected to the internet. Believe it or not, we were still pre-Google.
The search engines that we preferred were Yahoo! and Lycos. My Computers in Education School Contacts were largely teacher-librarians and they helped form that opinion. At the time, both of these search engines were really libraries that you could flip through much like card catalogues. It served us well and we mostly were able to find what we were looking for, provided it was catalogued.
On the board’s website, I had a home page for the browsers where we had links to the resources that tied directly to the curriculum. People would submit links and I’d throw them up there. The logic was that, if it was good for one, it could be good for all.
The mantra was “Don’t waste time looking for content when you can use something that is already reviewed and made available to all.
When Google came along, it was forbidden to use. Why waste time searching for a resource that someone has already found and catalogued.
I still remember one of the teacher-librarians providing a research article that indicated that most students found what they were looking for in the first ten results from a Google Search. If this was true, there were sure better than me or they were able to compromise.
Of course, we know how things ended. The kids won!
Nowadays, the concept of a catalogue for public search isn’t really used although there are some incredible ones for particular purposes.
Instead, we turned to learning how to get better results from Google. That was right up this Computer Science person’s alley as I was comfortable with AND, OR, NOT, XOR, exact versus fuzzy matches, etc.
Now, it appears that everything will change again.
This morning as I turned to my Flipboard resources, both the Microsoft and Google categories were filled with the results of Microsoft’s announcements from yesterday. Don’t let the irony that the link there goes to a Yahoo! news site.
I have no doubt that the skillset that we used for searching logic but artificial intelligence promises much more with concept of inclusiveness to all, dialogue with a search engine, and much more. Oh, and the stories indicate that Google’s AI will be better than Microsoft’s AI. How far can you spit?
So, we’re in it all over again. As end users, we can’t afford to stand still. Whether you’re ready to jump in and maybe get a preview of Microsoft’s search (and marketing … read the fine print) or you’re willing to wait until it becomes to the masses, make no mistake.
It’s coming and the most powerful of users will take advantage. What’s exciting this time around is that if you’re not an expert in logic and logical operators, the promise is that you can talk your way to better search results.
I do find it interesting that privacy search engines like DuckDuckGo are not making any big announcements at this time. Can they survive in this new search world?