I remember in 1996 when my high school installed the Internet in the library. I sat down so excited and started surfing the web. Other than setting up one of the first 500,000 Hotmail addresses there was little else to do. I didn’t know what websites were there and search was horrible. Google wouldn’t exist for another 4 years!
Google has made sense of the web. In the Information Age whoever eloquently organises information and delivers up relevancy is king. That’s right relevancy is king. However that’s all changing.
Page rank used to indicate relevancy. It doesn’t anymore. Just because your fish shop website ranks 1st doesn’t mean it is necessarily what I am searching for. Google’s algorithm takes in 1000s of signals from links to likes to ranks to content and more to deliver up a relevant search result. However that’s all changing too. Too fast perhaps for Google.
Now with geo-location based search, and social networks influencing search results what is relevant is changing. For example when I am looking for a cafe, do I want:
– The cafe closes to me (geo-location tools on my iPhone/Droid tell Google where I am)
– The cafe I “liked” on Facebook or +1’d on Google
– The cafe my friends on Twitter recommended?
– The cafe with the most hits, ratings and so on…
The current frontier for the web is for someone (Google perhaps) to include social and geo-location based information into their search results. This is a hard battle.
See also The Web of Intent