The Search Option – How it All Began and What’s Next

We can upload and search for information so easily on the internet that we barely take the time to stop and think how search engines have changed the world. Do you remember a time when you had to go to the public library if you wanted to know something? Knowledge and information can be found at the click of the button. We can even access information on websites through cell phones. Never before have we been so connected.

More importantly, all kinds of information are being digitized nowadays. We can find entire books, written centuries ago, on the internet. We are now beginning to digitize our lives too – on social networking sites. Our thoughts, friends, bios, etc. are all being shared with people over the Internet. In this video, famed search engine expert and head of Search Engine Land – Danny Sullivan, reminisces about the search revolution and speculates about the future of information digitization.

Search Revolution

Decades ago, people had to ask others or go to the library to look for information. As the computer era began, we saw the initial search engine-type software in libraries where patrons could find books they were looking for via computers. However, this was painfully slow. Similar search software like Lexis Nexis was being used by major publishing companies but they were extremely expensive and out of reach of individuals. Users also had to know specific search commands to use these software efficiently. In the mid 1990s, the Search Box was born. The privileged users who had computers and internet connections could go online and place a search term in Yahoo!, Ask Jeeves, WebCrawler, etc. and wait for a while for results.

Then came Google – the search engine that went on to become an Internet giant with billions of users. Most people don’t realize that for centuries, only privileged and wealthy people were privy to information and this remained unchanged for centuries. In a very short span of time – in a matter of decades, due to search engines and the Internet anyone could find countless pages of information for free. Nevertheless as Danny points out, the fact that we could search for information is not the only revolutionary development.

Digitization revolution

Apart from being able to search for information quickly, we can now publish or digitize information on the Internet with lightening speed too. According to Danny, people forget to acknowledge the fact that search could only be possible because information was being converted to the digital form. Now we can search for books online using Google Books. Similarly, YouTube ushered in a revolution by allowing us to upload and search for video content online. Before YouTube, placing videos on the Internet was very tricky and expensive. Now you can upload video content from your cellphones!

We are also digitally rendering our physical world via Google Street View, Google Maps and Microsoft StreetSide. Most interestingly, we don’t even realize that we are digitizing ourselves via social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. Search engines like Google and Bing can tell you if your friends also like the same search results or content you do. As Danny says, we have come full circle – we are back to asking our friends for information albeit via a computer.

As content writers and SEO experts it is essential that we know about the history of online publishing so watch the video and learn all about it from Danny Sullivan. So what is the next publishing barrier that is going to be broken down? Who knows what new barrier will be broken down and what will be digitized but whatever it is we – wait for it with bated breath.