What Happens When the Whole World becomes Searchable?

My Search Insider column today was big picture stuff, looking at how search can connect us to a digitized world.

Here’s an excerpt:

There is this vast binary universe out there, terabyte after terabyte of data that grows each and every second, capturing the essence of who we are and what we do. And the sole door to that world, the channel we all must pass through to gain entry, is search. In the act of searching, we connect to that universe.

Catch the rest of the column at MediaPost.

The column drew some interesting responses, both on the Search Insider blog and emailed to me.

Martin Edic truly thought globally

In the spirit of creating a ‘brain melter’, imagine the extension of search created by GPS and satellite imaging. Suppose I want to create a search engine devoted to global climate change. If I can access these sources I could literally do a planetary search that included both digital data a geographoc, geological, weather and other environmental data all viewable as imagery, maps, text, etc.

David Gust took exception to my plaudits for Pandora: I initially thought Pandora was great, but eventually it became monotonous. A descriptor genome for the music is great, but it doesn’t decipher the music consumption genome in me.

My point is that indexing means little without context. Context is about behavior and that is where the true focus must be placed to truly unlock value of “Indexing the World”

Derick Harris,w ho obviously has a lot of time on his hands, took me to task for my “pointless” vision of an Orwellian future

I do wish that these marketing rhetoricians of search, such as Mr. Hotchkiss, would “think first” about what they are asking, in terms of “big questions” — instead of wasting our time with patently pointless essays that amount to self-serving indulgences posing as questions that really amount to a whole world Googleized into an information hell.

…Ouch! Sorry Derick, I obviously hit a sore spot.

And in the spirit of wired “Big Brother”, Warren Peace (come on..that can’t be your real name. But if it is, kudos to your parents!) shared his vision of a database schema for a “global object database” or GOD for short…

whereby every kind of digital data could be stored, indexed and cross-referenced, and rated for accuracy (couldn’t find funding for it, though). One issue is that many things are analog, not digital, and digitizing them means losing important information. An image of a person and a list of their interests is NOT the person, just an avatar. Do we really need an avatar of every living thing?

Perhaps that’s what the real “God” is – an analog, searchable object database that details absolute accuracy.

Talk about your brain melters!

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