lowering the biocost of everyday life

Why Understanding Matters

Improving Internet Search


I. Why We Search

Search is not an end in itself. We search on the internet to find. Unless we experience searching and finding as entertaining in itself, we want to find things in order to make decisions or take actions. What are prerequisites to making decisions or taking actions?

I claim that decisions and actions require the formulation of a coherent worldview, in which the decision or action is a natural consequence of that worldview. In other words, decision making -- such as making a purchase on the internet -- involves

Before every decision or action must come understanding. Therein lies a key to improving internet search.

Subsequent sections of this page probe more deeply into this approach. Section II addresses the specific confidences needed to make a purchase. Section III argues that knowledge modeling will be a necessary part of an improved search experience.


II. Three phases of user shopping confidence

One useful view of the 'shopping experience' comprises 'layers of user confidence':

In an important sense, EVERYTHING about product purchase on the web
comes down to those levels of confidence, and helping the user move from
one to another. therein lies monetization.

Here is a larger pictorial representation.


III. Why knowledge modeling is key to improving search

So much is written about search, its present state of wonderfulness and its bright future. Absent is a structure or argument as to how the problems with current search -- ambiguity, inefficiency, complexity, and not finding what you want -- will be solved. The following constitutes an argument for the necessary role of knowledge modeling in improving search:


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