The Ultimate Search Engine

The search engine, that little browser tool into which you type a phrase, hit Enter, and hope for the best, is notoriously inefficient, often returning millions of off-the-mark URLs. People search for 11 minutes on average before finding what they’re looking for, and half abandon searches without getting that far, according to Microsoft. By Gartner’s estimate, half of potential Web sales are lost because visitors simply can’t find what they want.Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and dozens of search specialists, including those catering to business customers, are racing to develop next-generation technologies that do a better job of getting people the information they seek. With emerging tools, people will no longer have to dumb down their queries with the pidgin language understood by first-generation search engines. They’ll be able to ask questions in English and other languages–or pose no question at all and automatically receive results based on their earlier queries or the applications they’re using.

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