The search cycle

Search goes like this:

1. CREATE. A new medium becomes popular.
2. SHARE. People want to find and share objects created in the new medium.
3. ORGANIZE. Manual systems are created to organize the new medium.
4. SEARCH. Manual systems become stale and can’t scale quickly enough so automated systems are built.

Looking at an example, let’s start with web search:

1. CREATE. Lots of people started creating web pages.
2. SHARE. Users tried to find information on the web.
3. ORGANIZE. Web directories were built and became popular.
4. SEARCH. Web directories go out of fashion as search engines improve and scale.
What’s next? Some people think personalization and customization, but I think we’re still working on #4.

How about another example, image search:

1. CREATE. Digital photos become popular.
2. SHARE. People want to share their photos.
3. ORGANIZE. Tagging systems like flickr become popular for organizing photos.
4. SEARCH. Search engines like Yahoo and Google search text associated with photos. What’s next for automated ways to search images?

One more example:

1. CREATE. The rise of the bloggers.
2. SHARE. Bloggers want readers.
3. ORGANIZE. People build their own blog rolls. Also blog directories are built.
4. SEARCH. Blog (RSS) search engines like Technorati do real-time indexing.

I’m anxious to see how the cycle works with video content.

About Chris

I'm Chris and I've worked in the search engine industry since the late '90s.

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2 Comments on “The search cycle”

  1. You missed this one:
    1. CREATE. Printing press invented, people produce a lot more books.
    2. SHARE. Libraries are created with books chained to desks.
    3. ORGANIZE. Too many books. Time for union catalogs, then Dewey, card catalogs, subject headings, cutter numbers…
    4. SEARCH. Hello automated catalogs with keyword fields and awkward syndetics.

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