What is notable in the talk is that (starting at 12:32) Prabhakar and Peter agree that, rather than supporting only one search at a time, search engines will soon focus on helping people get a bigger task done.
I think the next step that faces us ... is divining the intent of what people are doing [and] fulfilling their tasks, getting what they need to get done.Peter says:
People intrinsically don't want to search. People don't come to work every day saying I need to search ... They want to run their lives.
The notion of a [mere] retrieval engine as the ultimate [tool] is incredibly limiting. We have to get much further along to task completion and fulfillment.
The current world of search engines [are] stateless ... In the act of completing a task -- booking a vacation, finding a job -- you spend hours and days start to end. In the process, you make repeated invocations of search engines ... And all the while the search engine has no state about you. It doesn't recognize that you are in the midst of a task.
What does it take to recognize an intent and synthesize an experience that satisfies an intent? So, if it is a vacation you are planning, it should say ... here is a package I recommend that is based on your budget, the fact that you have two kids, that you don't want to go to too many museums. That's the future we have to get to.
We have to get a lot farther in saying what is it that the user means both in ... tasks where there is a clear intent ... and [even] more so in cases where it is exploratory.There is an interesting shift here from a model where each search is independent to one where a search engine may expect searchers to do multiple searches when trying to accomplish their tasks.
We see this all the time that the user has some area he wants to figure out -- let's say a medical problem -- and the user starts out by kind of floundering around not sure what to talk about and then he reads some document and then he starts to learn the lingo. And, now they say, I don't say funny red splotch, I use this medical term and now I'm on the right track.
We have to accelerate that process ... not make the user do all the work.
That new model could take the form of search as a dialogue (a back-and-forth with the search engine focused on helping you understand what information is out there), personalized search (re-ranking your results based on your past actions, interests, and goals), or recommender systems (helping you discover interesting things you might not know exist using what people like you found interesting). Most likely, I would expect, it would require a combination of all three.