Moderator: Chris Shipley (Guidewire Group), David Sifry (Technorati), Jim Lanzone (Ask.com), Leila Boujnane (Idee - image and video search), Kapenda Thomas (Jookster - a social search engine)
This panel covered what's next for search, a perennial topic at conferences like Supernova - but that's because it's such an interesting challenge!
Chris starts off by asking about how to reconcile search and (web) applications. Dave Sifry says in the early days search was thought of as like a library (pages, documents), but moving forward search will be thought of as like a river or an event stream. He talks about aggregation of content plus two new pieces of metadata - who and when. So he argues search is more of a social process which is constantly being updated.
After that there was a bunch of talk about the functionality of the products represented on the panel, rather than exploring the actual topic - what is the future of search?!
Finally Chris steers the panel back to how search is evolving... Leila says that keywords won't be the future of image and video search, but image processing algorithms that study backgrounds, textures and similar things will be the kind of approach taken. Kapenda says that community will be key to the future of search - e.g. kids don't go to search engines but go to their social network systems (nb: I'd like to see some stats on that - anyone have them?). So he argues there's a reliance on relationships, rather than keywords.
Chris asks what business models will support search in the future? Leila says enterprise is key to her business. Jim says that search advertising is still at the early stages and will grow a lot more. Jim thinks the key question is how will search change other business models?
Wrapping up the future of search discussion, Dave Sifry says it will go beyond keyword boxes - and into "discovery". Also mentions the "delight experience", where users discover things that delight them. Jim says making things seamless for the user will be important - not just finding information, but utilizing it. For example making a restaurant booking after finding a good place to eat. Leila says new indexing technologies will be what drives particularly image and video searching. Kapenda says the key is indexing relationships of people, as well as simplifying results with things like tagging.