The industry needs to “re-invent” the foundations of search to prepare for major trends across mobile, social and semantic search, according to Microsoft’s senior director of search Stefan Weitz.
Speaking at the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Search conference in London today Weitz predicted the need for search engines to evolve to reflect changing consumer search behaviours across connected devices, and the rise of social and semantic search.
“In this new search paradigm we must take into account new interaction models, we have moved beyond using the mouse and keyboard alone, towards voice, touch, gesture control, and across devices,” he said.
Search engines must continue to evolve beyond the traditional indexing models to account for the more complex demands of today’s consumers and integrate with all web services, according to Weitz.
“The web today is more complex, it is a web of objects rather than a collection of pages. It used to comprise a bunch of HTML and hypertext but now there is the real-time fire hose driven by social media, services and apps.
“We have a massive amount of social data, which can be overwhelming for consumers. We must create an entirely new index for search that uses this data and incorporates social signals, which can then be layered on top of the existing index. We must re-invent search to reflect, ” he said.
Although the web has changed significantly the search engines that people use to navigate the web remain fundamentally the same, according to Weitz. “We believe search can be a lot more.” he added.
The future of search will centre on introducing increasingly sophisticated semantic technology to the search process to determine the user’s intent, said Weitz. “Search is changing dramatically. The web is becoming more social, and these social signals can do a better job of understanding who people are and deliver more relevant and more personal results that understand the context and intent of the query,” he said.