More “friendly” search engines…

(via John Battelle’s Searchbog)
Craig Silverstein, Google‘s technology officer, asks how your search engine can become more like your friend:

It’s clear that a list of links, though very useful, doesn’t match the way people give information to each other,” says Mr Silverstein. The question that he says Google – like others – is now trying to address is: “How can the computer become more like your friend when answering your questions?”

That means giving direct answers to questions, extracting data from online sources rather than giving links to web pages. It also means doing a better job of divining what the searcher is looking for, tailoring results more closely to what, based on past experience, appear to be the user’s particular interests.

Also notable is the (both amusing and frightening) news flash from the future leading the article:

May 2008. Google launches G-Life, a substitute for the fallible human memory. By searching your e-mail, instant messages and telephone calls, and with the help of voice recorders set up around the home, you can now recall everything you said or wrote.

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