Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Search as a utility

We were discussing search at a recent NY CTO club meeting, and a thought occurred to me (as it frequently does in these meetings):- Is search a utility? Meaning, is search a plug-in function and not something to be developed by the tech team.

Every system we build has a search function built into it, usually hand-crafted (proprietary). Why? When I programmed years ago, every system had a screen-writer, which updated the characters and pixels on the screen. But no more, this is now a utility provided by the operating system. It would be crazy to do otherwise. I have plenty of other examples (showing my age!).

So, why isn't search just "available", like google desktop? Why aren't searches in different systems more effective? Why doesn't every search return results in "relevance" order? Why don't some systems have a decent search? Why is search completely different in every system (ever tried MS Outlook search)? Why can't searches be combined across systems?

Search on the internet, whether it be google, youtube, facebook, amazon, ebay, or linkedin, is solved for me, I always find what I need. And I believe the same is true for most consumers. But why not in the enterprise? Seems like a solution waiting to happen....

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