The world of search is about to be flipped completely on its head. As part of that sea change, today’s reactive Web-based searches are about to give way to proactive, geo-fenced answers that will pop up before you even frame the question.
In many cases, you won’t be searching for content – content will be searching for you.
Putting The New Search In Context
Search, to date, has mostly worked something like this: You type a word or phrase into a search bar in a browser or mobile app and a search engine with a funny name returns a list of Web pages it deems related to your query.
In recent years, search has gotten a lot better in a number of ways. One key improvement takes location into account. If I type “Notre Dame” while I’m in my hometown, then it’s very likely I will get results about the University. If I were located near Cleveland, though, I might get results about Notre Dame College. And if I were in France, surely my results would focus on thisbeautiful edifice.
Location is part of what experts call “contextual search,” which becomes even more important with the rise of mobile computing. Where we are and who we are makes a big difference in the search results we want, and contextually aware search engines are working to use that information to decide what results to return to us.
According to J Schwan, CEO of Solstice Mobile, there are four aspects of contextual searching that all have to work together:
- Security and privacy
First, there’s the where – what Schwan refers to as geo-fencing. Where you are, as noted above, makes a difference in what search results are most appropriate.
Then there’s relevance, which dictates results through explicit preferences that you have set, the results delivered to other users in a similar context and what is going on around you at that particular time (traffic, weather, business hours, etc.).