Search is dead, long live search

It was a bank holiday this weekend, and, for what felt like the first time this year, a strange, warm orange ball appeared in the sky.

Travelling into town, this had clearly caught everyone with a sense of surprise. Everyone was wearing an interesting mix of clothes.

  • Some, clearly those who got up early, were bundled up, clad in coats, shoes and winter wear… seemingly refused to believe it was warm
  • Others, those who surfaced later, had made the switch and were in summer mode, breaking out the T-shirts and shorts. I was the later, with socks on, of course… extra middle aged comedic value.

Now, having decided to avoid the crush at the supermarket for sausages (it’s a reflexive thing; a sunny day equals barbecue in the UK)… I opted to sit in the sun at a local café, soaking up some sun. It was just lovely. Of course, I was also on the phone….

Grokkle

Now, I know a lot has been written, much of it lament, about the demise of Twitter and the change to X. For someone who uses Twitter/X to look at news, I have also noticed a change in the last year or so. However, as it is still the best source for breaking stories I have stuck with it, on my free plan, until now.

However, with the continued premiumisation of features, and especially the loss of TweetDeck (now X-Pro) it has been hard. Reluctantly, this last month, I eventually relented and signed up for a paid subscription…. and I have been pleasantly surprised.

Harmony has now been with X-Pro and to my delight I also discovered that Grok, X’s AI, is now available in the UK (from this weekend).

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And, Grok was interesting. Different from both ChatGPT and Claude, it has been built with access to the live Twitterverse (or X-verse, I suppose).

You can simply ask it for what you want to know, and it will come back with a summary, with references to sources (tweets). The difference is it all seems very real time. I can see it changing my reading and searching habits too… especially for news. It is so targeted.

In fairness this is something that MS Co-pilot also does well. It searches the web, giving referenced stories (with ChatGPT doing this via Bing too). These tools however still refer back to newspapers and searchable web content… The advantage (or disadvantage 🙂 ) with Grok is the immediacy of Grok doing this live on social media. I was impressed.

This will have implications for search too.

Searching Social

I don’t know about you, but once I have seen something on social media, I find it almost impossible to find again.

That hack… fixing a charging cable, stats from around the world… the one I saw on Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook… I thought was interesting, and then quickly move on.

My reactive/emotional brain is satisfied… but, my logical/slow thinking side (read thinking fast, thinking slow) about 5 minutes later says… “hang on a minute, that could be useful later, you need to bookmark it”!

So then I am stuck in a scroll loop trying to find it again.

Except of course the algorithm has now been updated, and finding it again is not easy. I have to resort to searching for fragments of what I remember… whilst all the time my feed is off down another rabbit hole. (1980’s dance moves anyone).

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So maybe here Grok can help, maybe this is the future of search and maybe this is also the future of searching knowledgebase at work, for employees and in app for customers… Ie if we know roughly what we are looking for and can describe it, it does the searching for us.

Sounds good, and undoubtedly a step improvement over the boolean search we have today… I suspect we will see this in every customer service app in the very near future and not a fancy, ‘added feature’ but something that will be just expected.

A different approach

And like the search engine, once this starts to happen it will also change the way we write too. Remember ‘keywords’ and ‘tags/labels’.

I suspect we will start to add or include content to make is more easily interpretable by AI/LLM too. (I have already started taking notes differently, in a longer form).

This whole area is still moving fast, developments fast to market and close to the consumer. This week alone.

Meta released Meta.AI (not in the UK yet) and much like GROK, they have the benefit of access to social media data, think Facebook/WhatsApp and Instagram public content… The difference however is Meta owns 3 of the 4 top social platforms… the reach is huge, this will be worth watching too

And then in the background, we have Google, who this week released NotebookLM. It again uses data (uploaded by you) to inform and enhance your note-taking. More developments from the search engine giant.

So whilst the demise of the search engine has often been mentioned… maybe it is not quite the case. Increasingly it seems to be less a question of search engine OR AI (LLM), but AI AND search engine both in combination…

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…. we await OpenAI and ChatGPT-5 any time soon.

Have a good week everyone.


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