Monday, January 21

Reality Check: search is lacking

Reading Frank Buytendijk's post on search conjured up memories of the hours I've spent on Google (I admit I haven't used others, even Yahoo or LiveSearch) trying to find information or a birthday present. Sure when I know exactly what I want, it's easy... I only receive a million links to trudge through.

But when I don't know precisely or I'd like to have options to my original thought, I spend hours trying different keywords to give me those options. The same is for any keyword search in Forrester, eBay, Amazon, etc.

For example, when I was interested in buying a video camera for capturing ad hoc interviews at conventions or a spontaneous family moment (not a complicated or expensive camera), you can imagine the results I received -- 52 million. The first couple pages are riddled with product pricing and accessories -- no trusted, non-marketing information -- definitely no options!

This relates to BI too. When I search for corporate information in a BI system, such as, "sales performance 2007", I don't necessarily want every report and KPI with the word "sales", "performance", or "2007" found in the name and description. That would assume I know the name of the report or KPI from a list of thousands -- I have more important things to remember.

The search engine optimization strategies don't work for me, the average consumer. Seth Godin thinks Internet SEO's are problematic for marketers too. So today's keyword search is not working for either the consumer or the marketer.

Here's what I'd like to see from a search engine (if you know of one, BI or other, please let me know):
  • Search shouldn't be a yes/no answer. When I ask for 'video camera', the search engine should also come back with options, such as, accessories and comparisons from trusted, non-marketing information. Not just 52 million results with those words or nothing.

  • Search should ask me for clarification. When talking with people, we ask clarifying questions, like "did you mean camcorders, professional cameras, or picture cameras with video?" It's the help me, help you situation.

  • Search should provide flexible results. From Frank's post, "If you search for a second-hand Jaguar in black, with not more than 100,000 kilometers, perhaps the dark blue one with 101,000 km is fine too."
I want search to be intuitive, easy like Google, but have some "intelligence". Access to information is great but now there is too much available to us in an inefficient manner.

Now to BI. Business Intelligence provides insight into your organization but at what cost is accessing the content. Ask yourself how easy is it for the average person in your organization to gain insight through your BI system (without knowing exactly what the name is). How easy is it for management to find information in your BI system? Do you need a dedicated power user who is the only one that knows what is available?

Think how easy BI would be adopted within your organization if access to the information was as easy as using Google.


Anonymous said...

Have you looked into the 'Singularity' and AI that google is researching now?

Tom Hudock said...

Singularity theory and how Google and Nasa are funding artificial intelligence efforts is interesting.

Thanks for letting me know, Anonymous!

They believe we can create "cleverer-than-human artificial intelligences" that can solve such things as, hunger and disease.

Anonymous, if you have links to good content, I'd look into writing a post about this!