First published March 11, 2010 in Mediapost’s Search Insider
In my last column, I talked about Steve Ballmer ruminating about the future of search. Steve isn’t the only guy thinking about this. A number of people I’ve talked to in the last few months have been pulling their crystal balls out and doing a little prognosticating about where searching as we know it might go in the future.
I think we (and by we, I mean anyone remotely connected to the search industry) all agree that we’re at the cusp of a sea-change in our world. Most everything we know will get swept along with this change: revenue models, our search experience, marketing strategies, the role of search agencies, the tools we use — and even the very platforms we use to launch our search.
One simply can’t overstate the importance of this. So, with another Search Insider Summit rapidly approaching, the folks at MediaPost and I have decided to turn the entire summit over to that one central question: Where is search going?
Those of you who have ever attended a Search Insider Summit know the basic premise: spirit a number of the smartest minds in search away to a fabulous location and let them share ideas for three-and-a-half packed days of brainstorming. This time around, on lovely Captiva Island in Florida, I want the future of search to be on the tips of everyone’s tongues.
And that’s where I need some help. I need passionate and compelling presenters who can “Captiva-te” our audience with their vision of where search is going. I’m looking for pitches around the central question. I’ve switched it up a little this time, dividing the primary question into six different sessions:
Where is the Core Technology Going? The engine that drives search is undergoing some significant tweaking, both in the labs of Microsoft and Google and in countless start-ups around the globe. How is the fundamental function of indexing and organizing information evolving?
Where is the User Interface Going? What will our search engines of the future look like? What is the next flavor of the 10 blue links? How will we query — and when we do, what will the results look like?
Where is the Search Experience Going? Already, we launch our searches from more and more places: mobile devices, entertainment screens, tablets and desktops. And the explosion of screens means the diversity will only continue to grow. How will the very act of searching change for us? And what will it mean for those of us doing the searching?
Where is Search Marketing Going? As search changes, the ways we use it as a marketing channel must also change. How will we adapt to the changing user experience and interface? What will our touch points with prospects who are searching for information look like in the future?
Where is the Search Marketing Industry Going? At past summits, we’ve talked a lot about how the search marketing industry has to change and adapt. Despite its rapid adoption and tremendous success, the search marketing industry is still in its relative infancy. Will stand-alone search agencies be part of the future marketing landscape? And if they are, what do we have to start learning to do — and what should we stop doing?
Where are Search Marketing Tools Going? One of the knocks against search is its lack of scalability. Tools have consistently scrambled to keep up with the changes and have made great strides in assisting the search marketer in keeping track of what is, by necessity, a tremendously granular management task. But what will those tools look like in the future?
If any of the above topics strike your passion, let us know. Send us a speaking pitch in the following format:
Introduction: One (short) sentence summarizing your pitch, along with the session you believe it fits into.
Description: No more than 300 words giving us more detail about what you want to speak about.
About Yourself: A little bit about you and why you’d make a compelling presenter on the Search Insider Summit stage.