Search Engines & Entertaining New Ideas

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Search as a Portal

Bing has announced some new features in search this week. Explained in the Bing Gets a Fresh Look post, content themed on Auto, Finance and Entertainment information was used to demonstrate “great new decision-making tools in [these] areas”. Similar to the enhanced Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) served by Google and Bing, these new tools take search closer to portals in their content consumption model.

In many ways SERPs are becoming more like portal content pages. Search goes beyond an ordered directory of URLs and descriptions. Content including maps, scanned books, images, video, news, blogs, product listings, and social media material is indexed and increasingly being presented in the main SERP as a part of an enhanced search result.

Indexing Entertainment Media

The Internet is an important source of entertainment, either supporting content available through other channels or material native to the web. As said by Bing’s Yusuf Mehdi in his “A New Entertainment Experience For Bing” post:

“In the field of entertainment, 76 percent of people use search to help find and navigate their entertainment options online, but only 10 percent say they have a trusted place to go.”

Entertainment information, from song lyrics to game trailers to film reviews, matters to the user, and can take many different forms. The challenge is in organising it in a human friendly way, similar to what has already started to happen with geographic information and maps. The search engine can programmatically add more content in locations under their control in a theoretically infinitely scalable fashion.

Search in the Music Business

Google is also in the entertainment business. Beyond their search properties and YouTube, Google’s acquisition of Simplifymedia during May hints strongly at Google directly entering the music business. It is likely that Google would add their product to the search experience in the same way as Google Commerce feeds (formerly Google Base) are added to the index or through applications in Chrome or Android.

Missing Attachment

Lady Gaga on Bing

Missing Attachment

Lady Gaga on Yahoo! Music

Search is starting to provide a portal-like experience. As the search experience becomes richer, more personalised and more aware of the location of the user, it gets closer to providing the experience sites like Yahoo! do, but with finer levels of customisation through queries. Pages like Yahoo! Music may soon be eclipsed by pages like Bing Entertainment or the current Bing Lady Gaga SERP. In the end it will be how the consumer prefers to consume and seek out content that will determine this. It is passive consumption versus searching with intent.

2 responses to “Search Engines & Entertaining New Ideas”

  1. […] portal sites no longer dominate the web. Search and social media have taken their place (though Portal sites and Search Engines are not all that different), but advertising for branding online is still a […]

  2. […] microformat projects like Schema.org will probably also continue the trend towards a more portal-like search experience. With publishers providing more content to be displayed within the search results themselves and […]

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