Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Searching Our Senses: The Future of Search Engines

"Let's see. What words would help me find the information/media that I have interest in?" I might think as I plunk my fingers down onto the black, dusty keys on my computer's QWERTY keyboard in my small, dimly lit duplex living room. Those words have a magical quality on the information highway. Like keys to invisible doors that open up to clandestine paths, they work semi-mystically to quickly access information that empowers me. I just need that special key. Some people have got it, and some people really don't.

Right now, it's all about keywords. Maybe my friend Spacehum would be able to fill in some entertaining stories here about search engines. He works for a company that helps client companies improve their google rank (as in how soon do you see a company's web site in google search results).

But in the not too distant future, we certainly won't be limited to the yellow-page-type indexing that we have now. Certainly the present indexing is superior to a phone book, but we have so many other ways of referencing information.

What new ways will we index and reference information? Well we don't just see words with our eyes; what about colors, light intensities, and shapes? What if I don't know the word for a shape? (dodecahedron?) We could search for similar shapes, colors, etc., using a graphical search engine.

What about the other sensory data references?

Could we have an audio search engine? ("My car is making a weird noise. Here is the digital recording. Please match this noise with a data base of sounds and their corresponding diagnoses." Or "I heard this song. What is the name of this song, and what are the lyrics?")

Could we have an texture/touch search engine? ("It is a soft fabric that feels like this..., what fabric is this?")

Could we have an olfactory search engine to find a preferred perfume--to identify any smell.

Could we have a taste engine? "What was the name of this bread, again?" or "I like this restaurant. What restaurants in this area serve food that tastes like this?"

Can we digitize the 5 senses?

We'll see.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The idea of using a sound or otherly-sense orientated search engine would be amazing. I think it's withing the spectra of our lifespans.

5:25 PM  
Blogger General Winchester said...

Not sure about the feasibility of this search engine. I mean, if you would have to have some pretty intense databases for those searches. Yet, it would be great to have an audio database for the happenstance that your car is making a noise, you could just put in the model, year and make and it would give you probable sources for the problem, so when you go into the repair shop and they tell you that your drive train needs to be replaced your tell him, "What the HELL?" Google Sound just told me that it was probably a loose bearing on my rear axle. That or in my case, we had a bad heater this winter, it wouldn't heat the house, it would get down to like 45 degrees by the morning, and the only thing that we observed was a large thud sound coming from under the house, if we could have Google Sounded that then we would have found out that in fact the heater was creating a large fireball with possible death on the horizon! So Google get crackin'

5:22 PM  
Blogger Pete Holmes said...

thanks for the captions! funny stuff...!

1:33 PM  

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