Feb 1, 2010

Three Kings

Twitter HQ is on the 4th floor of this not ver...
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The first time I became aware of the difference between ‘search’ and ‘discovery’ was when I was attending a keynote of the founder of Stumbleupon Garrett Camp at The Next Web in 2007. And I’ve been interested in this subject since then. Search versus discovery can be illustrated by the following dichotomies between;

– knowing what you want versus not exactly knowing what you want,

– going to the information versus information coming to you,

– driven by popularity (math) versus driven by recommendation (social),

– wanting less (search results) versus more (options) is better,

– endpoint versus starting point.

More popular said; search is making the web effective and discovery makes the web fun (again!). Browsing the web in the pre-Google era was in fact discovering the web. Nowadays ‘search’ is still the most dominant theme, covering nearly everything we do with on the Web (finding something or someone). But most current innovations made in search are related to the discovery experience within search. Especially in the field of image/visual search¬† (f.e. look at Google Swirl). So another dichotomy can be added;

– text-based (entry field) versus click-based (button, link).

To put it more straightforward; the future of search is discovery! The success of Twitter proves this thesis.¬† Twitter is commonly seen as the most important player in the field of ‘realtime search’. But from a search/discovery perspective; Twitter is largely a discovery service!

– Information (Tweets) is coming to you;

– It’s driven by popularity (You choose whom you want to follow);

– A tweet acts as a starting point for further exploration (in a sense of thinking, linking etc.)

And if you’re following, you don’t have to search!

In the meantime, another term is making its appearance; recovery! Recovery refers to the activity of finding something you’ve seen before. F.e. you’ve seen a fragment on television, and you go to Youtube to find this fragment.

From a content perspective there are three ‘kings’;

King of Text is ‘Search’, the King of Images/Galleries is ‘Discovery’ and the King of Video is Recovery. And as in poker, the game immediately ends when one player has three kings!

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