The Discovery Engine

Fortune has an excellent piece
on the rise of the ‘discovery engine’ – essentially, a take on how
recommendation engines will learn about you so well, they’ll know your
wants and needs before you ever explicitly express them (as you would
with search).

 

The Web, they say, is leaving the era of search and entering one of
discovery. What’s the difference? Search is what you do when you’re
looking for something. Discovery is when something wonderful that you
didn’t know existed, or didn’t know how to ask for, finds you. When it
comes to search, there’s a clear winner – a $145 billion company called
Google.

 

But
there is no go-to discovery engine – yet. Building a personalized
discovery mechanism will mean tapping into all the manners of
expression, categorization, and opinions that exist on the Web today.
It’s no easy feat, but if a company can pull it off and make the
formula portable so it works on your mobile phone – well, such a tool
could change not just marketing, but all of commerce.

I’m convinced in the promise of this, but I don’t think it will replace
search. Actually, I think it will be an even bigger driver for it, as
it will inspire people to search even more beyond what’s being
recommended. Additionally, the more you search, the better the
recommendations. It’s all connected.