The latest web search development: from intentions to insights | FirstRain

The latest web search development: from intentions to insights

John Batelle, one of the gurus of Search, wrote as early as 2004 that the secret of Google’s success was its understanding of the web as a database of intentions. He described the web as “a place holder for the intentions of humankind – a massive database of desires, needs, wants and likes that can be discovered, subpoenaed, archived, tracked and exploited to all sorts of ends.”

Fast-forward to the present and Batelle has observed that “web search as a pure signal has been attenuating of late – overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of data on the web, for one, and secondly by our own increasingly complicated expectations.” Batelle goes on to speculate, quite compellingly, on other new “little signals” such as who I know (Social Graph), what I am doing (Status Update), or where I am (the Check-in) that are emerging to make sense of the “Database of Intentions”. Bing and more recently Google have introduced contextual information to their searches as a way to make more sense of the web and better meet the expectations of users. Even so, Bing and Google are still operating in a web that represents a database of intentions – and the new intentions are social and status updates.

In the business world, people are interested in different signals and so require more sophisticated search capabilities than Bing or Google. I believe the compelling “little signal” in the business world is what has changed and it is generated by the detection of what I call events, which are patterns, connections and anomalies of interest to business decision-makers. What has changed about a business and it’s market is a powerful signal. When detected by sophisticated search capabilities, it can transform the web from a database of intentions to a database of actionable business insights.

Detecting the “what has changed” signal by finding, sorting and making sense of relevant events requires a new class of search technology called intelligent business search. Intelligent business search turns the unstructured, messy, duplicative and rich content available online into an analyzable data set of business ideas, relationships, facts and trends. It derives the implied business structures of companies, industries, management, markets and the relationships that connect them. And it applies trend and anomaly detection to discern what may be emerging, unusual or material.

Intelligent business search quickly returns relevant results that can create new insights and facilitate smart, fast business decision-making. It transforms the web into an incredibly valuable database of actionable insights. Tapping into that database has the potential to transform the way you sell, market, strategically plan and think about your business.

[Posted on the Huffington Post earlier today]