The enterprise search market has become a crowded and complex space dominated by a few big players where the goal is to find old documents and static web pages. The utter futility of returning 670,000 results to a person who really only cares about the first 10 has never really been addressed. For a fairly long period of time, I have felt that technical innovation in search technology had stalled. This is not a new topic among bloggers.
For me at least, the last really interesting bit of search technology was adding a geographic component to the search that let you center the results around a particular point ñ say an address. This was really cool 4 years ago, but disappeared into the ether with the bursting of the bubble.
The major search engines simply return obvious results. Yes, its across billions of pages and I can appreciate the heavy lifting that goes on, but more and more I am looking for synthesis ñ an opinion on a topic that matters because I can use it to make a decision. Often times I am looking for conversations between knowledgeable individuals that can improve my understanding of a particular topic. Technorati is helping in some ways, but there is more.
The real productivity improvements (making an informed decision faster) will occur when we see enterprise search technology bring you the context of a conversation. This requires natural language processing, dynamic taxonomies, auto-categorization, and expert location through knowledge of the social network. Trap this in a collaboration environment and you will really have something exciting.