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This article was published on April 4, 2008

Garrett Camp: “one-size-fits-all in search is history”

Garrett Camp: “one-size-fits-all in search is history”
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Story by

Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

So I hope Garrett Camp, co-founder of StumbeUpon, uses Slideshare since he has just summed up all the hot topics of the web in thirty minutes. It was hard to keep track with. No kidding! All the important questions the web community struggles with, were discussed by Camp. This would have been a really interesting presentation for a less tech-savvy crowd, but most people in the audience probably didn’t hear anything new. Although it was interesting to see an overview of the emerging Web 3.0.

Garreth Camp

So after a short summary of the history of search – from directories, to algorithm, to social networks and social media – and types of search – page, query, image, visual, video, people, product and music – Camp shared some thoughts on the future:

  • social search is on a roll
  • collaborative annotation becomes more important: use tags!
  • taming the wisdom of the crowds: expertise is more important than popularity.
  • trust becomes more important than authority. You want to know the people who recommend stuff to you.
  • search will adapt to the device you’re using.

Camp also described the personalization trend. “One-size-fits-all is history”, he said. Google made some first steps with Google Personalized. So the audience wants recommendations, and one way to get those is by asking input from your users – as Wikia Search does. Another way is helping your users create the best query possible by suggesting search terms and sources.

The third option is social search: what are your friends searching for? Which sites do they like? Before Camp climbed the stage we saw andUNITE, and they seem to focus on this social searching by matching your search terms with those of your friends.

The fourth way to get a personal recommendation is collaborative searching, so if you look at the example of andUNITE, the service would then compare your search terms with people you don’t know, but do have similar interests. Thus human intelligence is combined with an algorithm.

I think it’s a pity Camp didn’t talk a bit more about discovery, since that’s what his service is all about: exploring random cool sites. I’m sure he’s a visionary guy, so I hope that the next time he’ll share more of his views on discovery instead of just summing up the latest developments.