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Less Search, More Time…For What?

Posted on Thursday, December 9th, 2010 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Featured, Social Media

In recent years, Facebook has been criticized as a “time suck.” Um, of course it is! Nobody NEEDS to spend hours a day, or week, looking at how much cooler their friends’ restaurant choices are, or flipping through the 100+ PBR induced/pretentious/hipstamatic iPhone photo uploads from that awesome party to which you weren’t invited. However, as much as we (perhaps I am speaking for myself) enjoy the “waste of time” characteristic Facebook has acquired, the head honchos in Palo Alto have a different direction in mind.

Most active Facebook users are well aware of the new profile overhaul that occurred this week.  The goal of the face lift was, like every Facebook evolutionary step, to streamline the most interesting and relevant information (relationship status, jobs, and photos duh). Gone are those bulky tabs, which have been moved to sleek little links under your profile picture.

Now, all of your most pertinent information (job, location, hometown, relationship status) are conveniently listed at the top of the page. No more wasting a whole five minutes of your precious time rooting around someone’s profile to brief yourself on his or her life. Phew! In the same (lazy?) vein, a user’s most recent status being featured has been replaced by the most recent photos tagged. Who can be bothered to read what someone did last Saturday, when you could just SEE it? *For more insight, please watch Mark Zuckerberg awkwardly explain how he will soon own the Internet… I mean his 60 minutes interview about new directions for Facebook.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like the new changes, but I can’t help but reflect on how increasingly time starved our society has become. We are discovering that whether we are searching on an engine or through our social networks, it’s taking too damn long.

Mashable recently brought a new product called PostPost to the forefront of my attention. PostPost gives yours index finger a break by alleviating the daunting (ugh, carpal tunnel!) task of scrolling through your entire live news feed. Instead, one click allows PostPost to usurp your Facebook profile for a hot minute (just like any third party application) while it sorts through your network’s most interesting and relevant information.

After it finds all the photos, links, and videos that your friends find interesting, it displays it in a visually pleasing virtual newspaper layout.  You can sort by category or look at all results. It also pulls news on books, movies, TV shows, and other interests you have indicated in your profile. The service also provides convenient “Like,” “Comment,” and “Share” buttons to easily spread information across your network. PostPost also filters your friends’ inane status updates about their major case of the Mondays, and just leaves the interesting content. It’s pretty cool, but my one complaint as a user is that once you’ve viewed the entire page, you can’t “see more” or refresh for new content. Hopefully that’s the next step.

Aside from it being a universally neat aggregator, the coolest thing about PostPost is that it is powered by search technology trailblazers, yolink. With the notion that users are conducting more searching than results yielded, yolink aims to excel at multi-step or complex searches, and thus dramatically increase the effectiveness of search across your favorite sites and services.

Developed by TigerLogic Corporations, yolink recognizes how bombarded users are today, and while more information is inherently better, it raises more obstacles to finding accurate search results. The good people at yolink don’t discriminate against any content; they give the same value to content on the first result page as to links on page one hundred. They even go beyond simply searching pages as a whole, by crawling the links within a page to deliver the most appropriate result.

We’ve been conditioned to explore primarily on the first few search results pages because we’ve been led to believe this is where we will find answers. Yolink challenges this philosophy by quickly scanning search results, e-books, online documents, and web sites using key quotes, words, and word relationships to find your information. Yolink’s “About Page” makes some bold claims.

“Yolink was created to streamline the search process, completely. Considered the web’s first genuine ‘find tool’, it essentially finds the information you would have never found before. And it does it faster than you can say Google.”

Does Google have reason to shake in their goliath boots? Probably not, but this raises a lot of questions about the future of search. Whether it’s through social portals or regular old search engines, one thing is clear; users want to spend less time searching and smaller engines are rising to the occasion.

With search seemingly entering this new direction, I can’t help but wonder if the art (or even fun!) of search is being lost. The time consuming process of a search query can often make you change your desired result, and it frequently helps ignite new creative ideas. Taking time to search through social networks connects you with people you wouldn’t have thought to find.

What happened to life being about the journey and not the destination?

About Heather Sundell

Heather has five years of experience in online and offline marketing. She graduated from The University of Southern California with a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and absolutely no idea how USC football works. An aspiring cyclist, blogger, and cheese enthusiast, she is currently honing her Gen Y skills by doing all three at once.

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5 Responses to “Less Search, More Time…For What?”

  1. Thank you for the fantastic write up. You really hit the nail on the head.

    As far as taking the fun out of search, I’d say, instead, that we take the uncertainty out of search.

    With the vast amount of information added to our lives everyday, it has become increasingly necessary to find a way to cut through the superfluous fluff.

    We are honored by your article and please feel free to contact us whenever.

  2. david says:

    Great insight, “search” continues to evolve at a dizzying rate

  3. John says:

    Wouldn’t it be easier if they just TOLD you what you want? Then we wouldn’t have to search at all.

  4. Erik Freeman says:

    I’m looking forward to the time that Google just puts up a personalized site for me on the fly with everything I ever wanted and more.

  5. Surely people who search want the fastest easiest most accurate results without all the fluff, and searching through social can give you that. One this is for sure, search will continue to evolve, so the way it is today, might not be the same as tomorrow.


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