Last year I talked a little about the semantic web and how I think search might change as a result.  I’ve been getting the feeling that as the web evolves, search is moving towards being more semantic in nature, allowing people to find what they’re looking for more intuitively with less effort.

Today, Steve, our Director of Search (he has the weekly recap going each Friday) sent over a video containing Google’s Matt Cutts discussing what the future of semantic search might look like.  Here’s the video

The gist of it is that people define semantic search in different ways, so the question of what semantic search will look like in the future can be kind of vague.  Google tends to lean on statistics and probabilistic data to figure out for example that the word "car" when typed into their search engine might also mean "automobile".  The other path semantic search could take is if a database is compiled, made up of common sense facts, basically just relationships, for example as Matt puts it: "rain falls down" or "traffic lights are red" – so that if a person searches for traffic lights, Google might also know that the person might be looking for something under the "red light ticket" concept or how to "traffic light cameras" perhaps.  

And you can see that happening with the traffic lights query:

We know Google likes the probabilistic rather than the relationship/database model but I’m not sure if Google itself will be the future of semantic search.  I think maybe there might be something larger happening, sort of a global brain growing that the web community will collectively create, where webmasters define and create relationships of data… it might become the new hot trend here in the years to come, possibly automated services will start popping up that scrap pages and turn bits of data found into relationships that semantic devices can consume!  But now I’m just going off on a tangent.  I think Google will absolutely try and tap into that brain if it does continue to develop, serve up results and wrap ads around it to make big bucks, just not exactly sure how that collective brain will begin to grow.  I’m on the lookout though 🙂


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