DLD13: Next Generation Search

DLD13 Conference

Wolf Garbe (FAROO), Philip Inghelbrecht (Rockmelt) and Albert Wenger (Union Square Ventures) are discussing “Next Generation Search” at DLD13, moderated by Henry Blodget (Business Insider). Free Press Photo © Hubert Burda Media / picture alliance / Jan Haas.

While originally I was to talk about distributed search (you can see the slides here), our moderator suggested to focus on the recent developments of the big search brands instead.

So, what can we expect from the future of search?

From text to facts
Search will move from conventional text search towards understanding and combining facts.
Today’s search engines do a plain text search, returning links to documents. Future search will be able to identify entities (locations, dates, persons, companies, products). It then can use all known properties of those entities (price, date of birth, coordinates …), even if they are not stated in the current document.
This is the Semantic search we have been promised for quite some time. But that’s not the end. Combining facts scattered over different documents, deduction und predicate logic allows the search engine to come up with answers, which are not contained in any of the indexed documents, perhaps even not yet known to mankind.
Search assistants will do call backs to the user to clarify ambiguity, and automatically initiate follow up queries to gather, compare and combine additional information.

Implicit search
If we thinking of search today we have that search box in mind, where we type our keywords in. But tomorrow that will be dominated by implicit search.
Search engines, that see what we see (Google Glass), read what we read, and hear what we hear (Mindmeld). Which know our location, our interests, habits through the day, our calendar, and our personal preferences. Which come up automatically with the contextual information and warnings before we even know we will need that answer.
Imagine you are talking to somebody and you are presented his/her profile and calendar in your augmented reality glasses or you look at a product in a shop, and you are presented with information and price comparisons.

Augmented data
Today search engines are indexing existing documents. But in the future, search engines will control a global net of sensors, which for the first time also creates huge streams of additional data to be indexed.
This can be images and videos from augmented reality glasses, user location data from moving people and cars, usage data from video sites and web site statistics. Early forerunners might be Google Now & Google Goggles integrated into Google Glasses or a crowd sourced Streetview.
And more and more data which are isolated today will be incorporated to search: Crime and pollution data, medical records and income statistics, economics data, stock and weather data and much more.
This brings search closer to the real world. Those augmented date combined with reasoning, correlation, early-warning and prediction technologies will let pale the Delphic Sibyl.

Decentralization has been the foundation of the Internet. It fostered diversity and freedom of information. FAROO focuses on the decentralization of the search infrastructure.
But to the same extend the decentralization of data is important. A single instance owning and controlling the world’s data is infeasible and undesirable. With decentralized data sources like Google Glass and Smartphone GPS the creation and collection of data becomes decentralized. And perhaps the more sophisticated processing of data will be carried out in a worldwide distributed artificial brain.

Interoperability and ownership of data
People want more and more data to be integrated und utilized for search. They want to simplify their life. Flight data, hotel data, weather data, event data, recommendation, satisfaction and price data and much more.
Collecting, normalizing organizing and updating data is complex and comes with cost. But also integrating data, creating a unified marketplace and providing search has a price. So while the user really wants and needs the integration, data owner want to stay in control of the data and their monetization models.
We need not only to solve complexity and interoperability of data but also the interoperability of business models and monetization streams. Every party involved needs to be recompensated fairly. Even for relatively simple cases like a single music catalog, we had to wait for Apple to persuade all the market participants to agree to a user friendly model. The music is still owned by several labels, but there is a unified search and payment option available, and this made online music a success story.
The same will happen for search, companies pioneering a fair exchange model will win, while others staying isolated become obsolete.

Transparency, openness and neutrality
While the integration of data from many sources is desirable, it is important to prevent discrimination.
Sources shouldn’t be blocked or biased in ranking, nor search engines blocked or confronted with unreasonable access conditions.
Full integration is possible already today in web search, app stores and music catalogues.
This is a win-win model with more simplicity, diversity, transparency and more business. Let’s do it for the remaining data sources too.

Smart assistants
Just an example: Coordinating travel, hotel, meetings, events from different data sources, with multiple people and their calendars involved, reacting on flight delays and changing prices while giving the user a choice with different scenarios is possible only with a fully bidirectional data integration.
The user just can’t enter the same data again and again for different providers and different scenarios and fighting with different layouts.
Implicit search is only possible when data can flow freely and be automatically processed, without manual interaction required.
On the long run only those businesses can be only successful which adapt to the needs of the user. He wants to simplify his life and outsource tasks to smart assistant systems, which are the successors of today web search and much more.

Some echo in the press:
Focus: Die Zukunft der Internetsuche
Meedia: Suchexperten über die Zukunft von Search Engines
Futurezone: 6 Trends, die die Tech-Konferenz DLD aufzeigt
digital:next: DLD: Welche Websuche wird ein Hit?
internet world: Die nächste Generation der Suche
Deutschlandradio Kultur: Was tun mit Big Data?

FAROO at TMT.Communities’09

Gosia of FAROO has been speaker and special guest at the TMT.Communities’09 conference in Warsaw, Poland.

The conference toke place in July, 18th, at the Warsaw Stock Exchange in the Chamber of Listings, and was held under the motto “Generation C”.

Here a short excerpt from the conference web site:
“What is Generation C? It’s a group of people all over the world aged 15 to 45 choosing a digitally-enhanced lifestyle and thus empowering hardware, application and service providers but also grassroots organizations like creative commons or Piratbyrån. In the world of Generation C it’s all about content, communication and cooperation. And since the content is digital it doesn’t exist without a proper medium and your favorite device. It all ads up to a digital world where people are the most important component individually and form powerfull and influencial communities all together. ”

We used the change to evangelize the power of P2P search again 😉

Wyszukiwanie P2P – demokratyzacja wyszukiwania (Peer-to-peer Search – Democratic Search)

Warsaw Stock Exchange, Chamber of Listings

Goodbye 2008, Welcome 2009!

As every year it’s time to hold on for a second, look back to see what have been accomplished, and try an outlook for the next things to come.

2008 has been very intense and successful for us at FAROO.

We significantly enhanced our Peer-to-peer technology

FAROO attracted attention as a promising alternative

We launched the product to a wider audience

We continued to build up the company

  • by strengthening our team
  • and securing the base for our future growth.

While last year we demonstrated the technological feasibility of p2p search, this year we will concentrate on a large scale distribution and indexing, as base for a much broader adaption in the market.

We would like to thank everybody who supported us during that year, our long term friends and the exceptional people we met this year, and we hope that also in 2009 you will be on our side to further explore the future of search.

FAROO at the TechCrunch50 conference

In 2007 FAROO was selected as one of the 40 presenters at the prestigious TechCrunch40 conference in San Francisco out of more than 700 applications from 26 different countries.

Since then, we strengthened our team and enhanced the product with a new active, community directed crawler, the integration of third party search providers, an API and other functions yet to be revealed.

Therefore we heve been very delighted, that we received an invitation fom Heather Harde of Techcrunch to take part in the Techcrunch50 event as an TechCrunch40 alumni.

We are looking forward to meet you again this year at the Alumni Hall of the TechCrunch50 conference at the San Francisco Design Center Concourse, in September 8-10.
If you have questions about FAROO or just want to talk to us just stop by, we will be all three days there.

And of course we keep the fingers crossed for all Techcrunch50 companies presenting this year.

FAROO at the CHORUS P2P Workshop

FAROO joined the CHORUS P2P Workshop 1P2P4mm, which was colocated with the InfoScale 2008 conference.

This first workshop on peer to peer architectures for multimedia retrieval (1p2p4mm) took place in Vico Equense, Naples, Italy, on June 6 2008. The workshop was arranged by the CHORUS Coordination Action to discuss what challenges must be met and what bottlenecks must be addressed by research and engineering efforts in the near future.

We had a great and intense discussion on the true benefits of p2p for search and on building a joint p2p platform and a better connection between academic and web2.0 communities as possible measures to reach the critical mass (in terms of number of users) and gain traction as a serious alternative approach.

For more information and the position papers of the participants please visit the workshop homepage.

Unconference & BoF at Web 2.0 Expo

“The Social Side of Search”, a Micro-Unconference initiated by FAROO, took place on April, 25 in the Oracle Booth at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.

The day before we presented FAROO at the Birds of a Feather (BoF) Session “People Powered Search”:

People powered search:

Social Networks are very successful, there are social networks for near everything, Only in search you are still on your own? Searching together is natural: Asking friends, family, Experts …

  • Why we haven’t social search yet (on large scale)? Chicken-egg problem, Many users required to be useful, First your plain search must be competitive , than you can add features -> costs!
  • What could be the benefits? Personalization, benefit from search experience of your community …
  • What could be the risks? Spammers, Edit wars, Privacy, locked in community -> alternate opinions get filtered out

Examples of how searching together could benefit – a lot of different flavours:

  • Providing Infrastructure (using P2P technology)
  • Directing the crawler (websites which often appear in results are crawled more frequently/deeper)
  • User generated Ranking (using attention data)
  • Annotating results
  • Editing results
  • Creating results
  • Bringing users with similar search interests together ( FAROO Social Search )
  • Collaborative Searching: Partitioning search among users
  • Personalization using your Social Graph
  • Many more …

Collaboration not only between users, but also between social search projects:

Todays social networks have one problem: walled gardens ( possible workaround: open social, friendfeed api ). Would it be possible to define a standard/protocol to have all social search initiatives to work together from begin?

  • Can the user take its profile with him?
  • Can the user take its attention data/query stream with him?
  • Are the privacy settings standardized?
  • Can the different search projects exchange index and usage data and use them together, to join their forces? Intense discussion on this topic at Alternative Search Engines Day, a conference hosted by Charles Knight


Of course also beyond the unconference the Web 2.0 Expo was a great place to meet interesting people and look what others are heading for.

San Francisco day …

… and night

Alternative Search Engines Day

The first “Alternative Search Engines Day” took place on April, 21  at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco. The conference was hosted by Charles Knight of AltSearchEngines the day before the Web 2.0 Expo.

We were glad to be invited as it was really amazing to see and discuss the diversity of approaches, all dedicated to one common goal – to challenge the current limits of search.

Opening panel, photo by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
Opening panel, photo by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

 Opening panel, photo by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
Charles Knight, Richard MacManus, Nitin Karandikar

Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten from the NEXT web reported live from the event, also covering FAROO.

For a complete coverage of the conference please take also a look at these blog posts: Alternative Search Engines Day – Call For Alts to Band Together , Alternative Search Engines Day, Rock on, Alts! , Alt Search Engine Day Part 1 and Part 2.

DLD08 Conference – Digital, Live, Design

These days the DLD08 Conference – Digital, Live, Design takes place  in Munich.

Chaired by publisher Hubert Burda and investor Joseph Vardi, there are three days packed with panels from a very broad spectrum, but each of them intriguing and inspiring.


We were lucky to be invited to the conference, and we enjoyed discussing und exchanging ideas with likeminded people from all over the world.


Also here in the beautiful, sunny Munich two internet megatrends are omnipresent:  Search and social networks.
Combining both could be the Holy Grail. There are many ways to do it, but probably only few will work out.

After endless experiments the famous inventor Thomas Alva Edison once said: We now know a thousand ways not to build a light bulb. But finally he succeeded.  Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time said Edison.