Beyond Search, which is a a 10-year-old publication that focuses on enterprise search and content processing, is changing its focus to cover products and services related to voice-centric information access by introducing a new blog, Beyond Alexa. Stephen E. Arnold writes: “The idea is that Alexa has become an interesting product niche, but the impact of voice-related information access is now changing rapidly. Frankly it is more dynamic than the decades old keyword search business.” I couldn’t agree more. He also states: “Since early 2008, we have tracked the keyword centric approach to finding and making sense of information. Our changing focus reflects the fact that I wrote about years ago in Searcher Magazine. Keyword search linked to a keyboard, if not dead, was headed for marginalization…We think there’s more ‘beyond’ Alexa. We want to explore the new world of ubiquitous and Teflon-slick information access.” For a related post, please see Voice Search is Growing and is Different Than Keywords in a Search Box.
An interesting new Pew Research Center survey finds that a majority of Americans feel that information overload is a not problem for them and that they “are comfortable with their abilities to cope with information flows in their day-to-day lives.” In addition, owners of more devices “feel more on top of the data and media flows in their lives.” Findings also suggest that information overload is more situational: “Specific situations may arise, such as when institutions impose high information demands on people for transactions, which create a sense of information burden for some Americans.”
Search Engine Land featured an article in June, written by Wesley Young, entitled The Voice Search Explosion and How It Will Change Local Search. Included are fascinating tidbits of information for those who follow and are interested in the world of search and retrieval. Here are two key takeaways:
- There is explosive growth – “At LSA [Local Search Association] 16, [Timothy]Tuttle shared that within one year (last year), the use of voice search went from a statistical zero to 10 percent of all search volume…Yet more recent numbers show that growth accelerating — Google announced at I/O that 20 percent of all searches have voice intent, while [Mary] Meeker’s charts show that in May 2016, 25 percent of searches on Windows 10 taskbar are voice searches.”
- Voice search is different than keywords in a search box – “Because search queries are more conversational in natural language, they tend to be longer, more nuanced and reveal greater intent…It’s also easy to see how queries may no longer be ‘search-oriented’ in the way we define it today but rather jump over search straight into a request for action. For example, instead of searching for pizza restaurants near me, you can now request Alexa (Echo) to order you a Large Deep Dish Pepperoni Pizza with mushrooms and extra sauce and have it delivered to your house via the Domino’s Pizza skill.”
Just the beginning? I think yes.
Here is a really great Infographic that shows how search engines like Google and Bing work in 2016 from SEO Book. This quote is excellent: “The philosophy of modern search has thus moved away from starting with information and connecting it to an audience, to starting with the user and customizing the result page to them.”
Erik Devaney, Editor of HubSpot’s ReadThink, has written an informative post on corporate jargon, or,“Why do business-people talk like that?”
It is easy to think light of corporate jargon. There is, however, a serious side to consider when performing research. Being aware of what the current day jargon is, even though it can at times be silly, can be helpful in retrieving results that are current and relevant. One search strategy to consider when you are retrieving irrelevant results (we’ve all been there) is to use terms that you think the author might use in his or her writing, not what you think the author should use.
This article is filled with wonderful little nuggets such as:
“…the word jargon dates back to the Middle Ages and originally referred to a sound that birds made.”
“’Thinking outside the box,’ for example, is a reference to a logic puzzle, which requires that you connect a 3×3 ‘box’ of 9 dots using four straight lines or fewer — without lifting your pen or pencil off the paper…The trick is that you need to drag your line outside of the box in order to complete the puzzle.'”
“The term aboveboard, meanwhile, was likely born out of the requirement that card players keep their hands above the table as a way to discourage cheating.”
Perhaps the most interesting section focuses on the theories for its use, even though users know it can be incomprehensible or vague: Here are a few of the leading theories:
- It’s a power move.
- It reinforces belonging.
- It makes it easier to talk about uncomfortable topics.
Project Information Literacy has released a new report entitled, “Staying Smart: How Today’s Graduates Continue to Learn Once They Complete College,” The report presents findings about how recent college graduates seek information for lifelong learning in their personal, workplace, and community lives.
From the summary:
Findings indicated that most graduates needed to learn a combination of basic and complex life skills during the past year, such as money-management, how to make household repairs, and how to advance in their careers and communicate better on the job. They consulted friends, family, and coworkers almost as much as the Web. Graduates preferred information sources that had currency, utility, and interactivity. They also placed a high premium on curated information systems that were organized and kept up-to-date, such as libraries, museums, and bookstores…Graduates reported four barriers to their continued learning efforts: lack of time, finding affordable learning sources, staying on top of everything they needed to know, and staying motivated to keep learning after college. As a whole, graduates prided themselves on their ability to search, evaluate, and present information, skills they honed during college…