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Search: How the Data Explosion Makes Us Smarter (GreenHouse Collection) (2014)

by Stefan Weitz

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201515,329 (3)4

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*Free e-book ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss/Above the Treeline. No money or goods were exchanged, and all views are my own.*

The senior director at Microsoft Bing discusses some of the ways in which the way we search and use the Internet can be smarter and more interactive, and how that might change our lives in the next few years.

Predicting the future of tech can be difficult, which Weitz admits from the beginning. He is also a "techno-optimist" and while he addresses concerns such as privacy and accessibility, he definitely thinks that all of this will be ironed out mostly for the good. I'm not sure I agree with him that it will be quite so easy, and quite honestly thinking about all the different places that have some information about my digital person made me contemplate getting rid of Facebook and my smartphone. But at the same time, I know putting that cat back into the bag is probably useless - and we should be talking about what we want it to look like. Essentially, Weitz argues that we will soon have the tools to make Search not just sending some keywords and getting a variety of links through which we have to work to figure out what we want to do, but that devices can start interacting in such a way that they actually figure out what we want to do - so when I'm looking for "Chinese restaurants near Boston," it "knows" that what I really want to do is make reservations, and will tell me which ones nearby are in my price range and not too busy, and be able to follow through on making the reservation without all the intermediate steps there are today. A lot of what he has to say is intriguing, and definitely worth the conversation. ( )
  bell7 | Aug 18, 2015 |
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"Search is as old as language. We've always needed to find something in the jumble of human creation. The first web was nothing more than passing verbal histories down the generations so others could find and remember how not to get eaten; the first search used the power of written language to build simple indexes in printed books, leading to the Dewey Decimal system and reverse indices in more modern times. Then digital happened. Besides having profound societal impacts, it also made the act of searching almost impossibly complex for both engines and searchers. Information isn't just words; it is pictures, videos, thoughts tagged with geocode data, routes, physical world data, and, increasingly, the machines themselves reporting their condition and listening to others'. Search: How the Data Explosion Makes Us Smarter holds up a mirror to our time to see if search can keep up. Author Stefan Weitz explores the idea of access to help readers understand how we are inventing new ways to search and access data through devices in more places and with more capabilities. We are at the cusp of imbuing our generation with superpowers, but only if we fundamentally rethink what search is, how people can use it, and what we should demand of it. "--… (more)

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