Google’s universal search has got the tech blog geeks foaming at the mouth with excitement.
But it is a significant step towards some kind of ur-content where the boundaries between text, video, photography etc are not so much blurred as erased.
In a nutshell – as far as my limited understanding goes anyway – previously when you searched on Google, you got text results. For images you had to do a separate search . . .
Actually, maybe it’s best if I let Google explain . . .
‘With universal search, we’re attempting to break down the walls that traditionally separated our various search properties and integrate the vast amounts of information available into one simple set of search results.’
In other words, they are trying to give you everything in one hit.
As my friend Lars says, though, there do seem to be a few teething problems.
Anyway, to get back to my original point, what does this have to do with changes in the way content is presented on the net?
I think it’s indicative of changes in taste. People consume many different types of media now. The simplest example is video. The net lets you show how to do something, not just write about how to do it.
Using the riots over Ungdomshuset as a yardstick, traditional thinking at a news site such as Politiken would have meant a picture at the top of the story followed by reams of text. The sidebar might have links to other pictures or even a video. There is a clear delineation between the media, to put it more simply.
Increasingly, I believe, these different media will merge. Video can be integrated into a story, providing context or background. It doesn’t have to be treated as a separate entity.
The BBC do exactly that here with their piece about the brand new Wembley Stadium. With a story like that – about this gargantuan architectural project – video gives the viewer/reader an infinitely richer experience. People want to see the stadium, they want to know what it looks like, as well as learning the facts.
Jeff Jarvis says something similar over at Buzzmachine.