From the post:
Where you are and what you’re doing increasingly play key roles in how you search the Internet. In fact, your search may just conduct itself.
This concept, called “contextual search,” is improving so gradually the changes often go unnoticed, and we may soon forget what the world was like without it, according to Brian Proffitt, a technology expert and adjunct instructor of management in the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.
Contextual search describes the capability for search engines to recognize a multitude of factors beyond just the search text for which a user is seeking. These additional criteria form the “context” in which the search is run. Recently, contextual search has been getting a lot of attention due to interest from Google.
“You no longer have to search for content, content can search for you, which flips the world of search completely on its head,” says Proffitt, who is the author of 24 books on mobile technology and personal computing and serves as an editor and daily contributor for ReadWrite.com.
“Basically, search engines examine your request and try to figure out what it is you really want,” Proffitt says. “The better the guess, the better the perceived value of the search engine. In the days before computing was made completely mobile by smartphones, tablets and netbooks, searches were only aided by previous searches.
Context can include more than location and time. Search engines will also account for other users’ searches made in the same place and even the known interests of the user.
If time and location plus prior searches is context that “…flips the world of search completely on its head…”, imagine what a traditional index must do.
A traditional index being created by a person who has subject matter knowledge beyond the average reader and so is able to point to connections and facts (context) previously unknown to the user.
The “…current world of search…” is truly impoverished for time and location to have that much impact.