Abraham Lincoln defined Democracy as the government by the people, of the people and for the people and that has been universally accepted and we have seen time and again that the people when in unison accept anything then every kind of authority has to bow down before that and accept it whole heartedly.
Well, this article is not about government and politics as I am not interested in either of them but the above definition of democracy is applicable to every field not only in politics.
Let us co relate this with the WWW with a focus on the search industry. As we have seen that the search engines when they started they had very simple algorithms and the main task for them was to index the web and the users had to understand the mechanism of the search engines and try to learn how to search i.e what keywords and phrases to query so as to find what they wanted as the index was limited and did not get updated so fast.
As this problem of indexing has been solved by the search engines and now with Google Caffeine and the advanced indexing techniques by Bing the user has an advantage and search is a child’s play now , with right from a 10 year old student to a 70 year old grandma searching and finding what information they want with great ease on the web. Especially now with so many search options.
As we can see the trend web 2.0 focused totally on the user, the users wanted a dynamic and a rich user oriented experience so all the developers started working on developing such websites and the search engines also started working on their algorithms to index such content.
When the social media sites got swarmed by the people the search engines were not far behind and now they have incorporated the social link graph in their algorithms and the SERPs get affected by the social signals. Even on the local search it is the reviews by the people which affect the rankings.
Hence, the search engines gear and navigate their development efforts according to the peoples demand, likes and dislikes and changing search behavior . So, as the searchers become more net savvy and as search experience becomes more and more just a click away in fact , now it has become instant before you can type the whole query Google is trying to think for you and offer options at the speed of your thoughts.
In short , we get what we ask for. Making the search experience more rich is not only the job of the search engines but all the people involved in the whole process. But, it is the end user who has the maximum importance here. Hence the quality , algorithms and the display of the search engine results are also directed - directly or indirectly by the people, for the people and of the people’s choices.
First it was the user’s ease of navigation and user experience which was focused upon and given importance to (i.e Content For The User) by the WWW and now it is their opinions and views (user generated Content – Content by the user) which is important .
Next evolution on the web is curation of content which should reflect a merger of the content and will truly reflect the 3 principles of democracy (content of the user, by the user and of the user ) in every topical online industry.
No wonder they say that "Content Is king" but "The User Is The Emperor".
Posted by Bharati Ahuja at Monday, December 27, 2010