November 29, 2015

A Brief History of Search

This white paper discusses certain tools and systems people use to find information, and how these tools and systems have changed over time. In tracing the evolution of search, I hope to provide perspective on "diachronic search", the time-ordered search recently popularized through Twitter.

divided this paper into nine sections: in the first, I discuss search techniques developed for books; next, I describe initial efforts at computational serach, prior to development of the internet; the third and forth sections provide an overview of the birth of the Internet and the World Wide Web, and how each was, to some extent, driven by a desire for better search capability; in the fifth section, I describe the development of authoritative search by Larry Page, and the subsequent success of Google; sections 6 and 7 provide an account of the birth of Web 2.0 and Twitter; in section 8 I discuss diachronic search and how it relates to Google's authoritative search model; finally, section 9 considers the opportunities in and obstacles to the development of Web 3.0, which has been described as a the "semantic web".

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