21 August 2005

Search Everywhere

Posted by Jameson Penn
John Battelle has done great work exploring the concept of search and not only what it means to us today, but what search will do for us in the future. Moving towards a digital world, it becomes increasingly easy to be overwhelmed by excessive information (content), whether we are talking about the generic search engine, our music collection, television, or even our photograph collections.

More and more of our world is becoming digitized. Embracing such a trend allows for our lives to become far more orderly, given that there is a way to organize, catalog, and store information in methodical if not logical ways.

From Battelle's book,
The Search:
What is TiVo, after all, but a search interface for television? ITunes? Search for music. That box of photographs under your bed and the pile of CDs teetering next to your stereo? Analog artifacts, awaiting their digital rebirth. How might you find that photo of you and your lover on the beach in Greece from fifteen years ago? Either you scan it in, or you lose it to the moldering embrace of analog obscurity. But your children will have no such problems; their photographs are already entirely digital and searchable—complete with metadata tagged right in (date, time, and soon, context).

But let’s not stop our digital fantasy train yet. It may sound farfetched, but in the future, your luggage will be searchable. Within two decades, nearly everything of value to someone will be tagged with tiny computing devices, devices capable of saying, upon radiowave-based query, “I’m here, right here, and here’s what I’ve been doing while you were away.” Instead of the ubiquitous bar codes airport officials now slap onto your luggage, there’ll simply be an RFID (radio frequency ID) chip. Lost your luggage? I don’t think so. Not when you can Google your Louis Vuitton in real time.

Think about that—Google your dog, your kid, your purse, your cell phone, your car. (Do you have an E-ZPass or OnStar yet? You will.) The list quickly stretches toward the infinite. Anywhere there might be a chip, there can and most likely will be search. But for perfect search to happen, search needs to be everywhere, attached to everything.


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