Have you noticed the subtle shift in how we search for information on the Internet…?
In the past when I wanted to find something, I would start a web browser (before Tabs came along) and go to www.google.co.nz. I’d enter what I wanted to search for, and press the ‘Enter’. So began investigation and refinement.
Now, I just click in the browser address bar and type in what I want to search for. Depending on the browser, results are returned from whatever search provider the browser is configured to use.
While this saves a few steps, it makes the search engine underneath a little less noticeable and redundant. Sure, you can still customize and set a default search engine if you are so inclined, but it is no longer the imperative it once was. I remember a time, when we would use policy to set (and enforce) our user/client/staff web browsers home page to Google as it meant less headaches for support.
Now, I don’t really care what search provider is configured. Unless I can’t find what I want or need, the search engine that I use makes little difference and, so far, hasn’t made any changes from default for some time.
The Best Search Provider?
Since I can remember, the best search provider has always been Google and for good reason. I have always loved the simple web page, with no background. As, “back in the day” if a page had an image and you were operating remotely, your remote session would go to sleep for a good minute or two while the fool background loaded in the browser.
Setting aside having to setup Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specifically for each provider if you are publishing a site, they all seem much the same now. Indeed, some may use their competitor’s engine to gather results anyway so using one over another does not have the meaning it once might have.
For myself, if I don’t get a result in the first two or three searches, I might then consider trying another search engine and site. I try to leave everything at default settings as it keeps things simple.
Do you actually open results pages?
Search results are now so well presented along with previews and such, that I find that I don’t often actually open a “find”. Quite often the answer I want is contained in the preview of the site that holds the answer I wanted. If not, refined searching is often enough to give an answer, within the search results previews.
Of course, this depends on what is being looked for. If I need a default username & password for some weird home users Internet Modem, this can often be found in results preview of sites so there is no need to open the actual page or site. Only if the password fails (which happens more than I would admit) do you visit the site properly.
If searching for something more particular with more detail or opinion, then moving through the results and opening (well, right click and open in another Tab) those that might be of interest is easy and sets up a two or three tabs ready for reading.
It Gets Better…?
Voice control has also made an impact. Now you can just click or tap the “microphone” icon and speak what you want to search for. Again, no more opening a web browser (or new tab) and going to a search provider start page.
For Windows 10 users, using Cortana from the Start bar offers an option to voice search or to start typing for search activation. Note that “search” can include EVERYTHING – Web content, local applications, local data, settings and options and more.
With the coming of cool devices that will listen to a room and respond with some (?) intelligence, searching for web content is likely to change even more as time and technology march on. Of course, the security implications of these devices (which are essentially continuously recording) will need serious consideration.
I am not that sure when the shift occurred or where it started particularly, but it sure is funny how a process that had become embedded in some of us has changed so much but with very little recognition.
So, has your own search experience changed?
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