The Jekyl & Hyde Evolution of Search?

No tier 1 search engine delivers you results about your personal network. For years there have always been those companies who say they’re the “Google killer”; we’ve yet to see anyone come close. Google has always been on the offensive and perhaps has launched only one defensive move in 2007 when Facebook enabled public search capability outside its network.

This past week Stumbleupon broke away from eBay and returned to it’s original strategy, sparking further discussion that perhaps Stumbleupon could start to give Google a run for their money. And remember last July the launch of search engine Cuil? Started by former Google engineers they proclaimed the death of Google and launched. They dazzled in their failure, results even missing social media thought leader Chris Brogan.
In his weekly digest Jeremiah Owyang points out that Stumbelupon may be about the change “search” all over again. Then there’s been discussion around Twitter changing “search.” So, who’s going to revolutionize the “search” business?
Right now, I don’t think we can know what’s going to happen, but I assert that we’re entering a new phase of how people are using search tools. I think we’ve broken search into two classifications;
1) Generic Search: Where we search using standard consumer search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Cuil or Haiku and visual search engines like SearchMe. This covers everything except searching for information that is “personally relevant.” None of the mainstream search engines are designed to deliver you content produced by or about your friends.
2) Personal Content Search: This is where the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Ning and social networking tools come into play. This is the content that is more relevant to the individual and their network. In part it is a reflection of an individuals desire to “connect” with more people while facing Dunbar’s Rule that we can only connect to so many people meaningfully. But this connectivity can expand past the theoretical 150 threshold and therefore we look for content meaningful to our social interactions. Perhaps in part this is why services like FriendFeed are so valuable?
And this is where the mainstream search engines fail. It’s general search versus social search. When Google figures that out, they will have taken a significant step and perhaps they already have, tying in Gmail and Gtalk with Android.
So what do you think? Do we have at the top level of “search” two primary search activities that we conduct?

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