I missed this group very much after an absence of two weeks or so
(vacation). This newsgroup still remains my favourite.
Thoughts have occupied my mind which relate to the vocation of search
technology. As we all (should) begin to realise, data and software are
migrating to the Web so no more will we need to handle things locally, i.e.
on/from our hard-drives. Web 2.0 also comes to mind, but it's not related
directly to search engines. Now, here's a crazy thought...
Given all the data which is contained in our E-mail box(es), our files
(photos, documents and sounds to name a few), wouldn't inference be the
natural direction to follow? Extracting the semantics from our data and
forming a network of knowledge will enable us to search for answers rather
than text that resembles our query. As for personal search (limited scope
due to privacy), the implications can be particularly revolutionary. Having
got large lumps of data (I have nearly 200,000 files), we should be able to
perform a query, using natural language, to receive plenty of information
about a person (or place) including relationships, photos, etc.
Rather than "search engines" we will be talking about "knowledge engines"
(Googlism is maybe worth citing). There is currently no barrier that stands
in the face of implementation apart from computer power and code. With Open
Source software, I think it will soon be achieved. Just imagine a neural
network out there which rather than contain text with your name has got
complex knowledge about who you are. Moreover, it can answer questions that
involve you and is too complex to be explored by a human. To many bodies
including governments this would be invaluable, so be sure it's headed that