There’s no doubt that Google Search is a great product, but aside from some cosmetic changes in how results are displayed there hasn’t been any major innovation in search in the last few years (aright, Goggles is pretty awesome):

There are a number of questions which Google fails to answer:

  • “where’s the best bagel in new york?”
  • “what’s a cheap, clean, centrally located hotel in bangkok”
  • “which DSLR camera should I buy?”

In the cases above, you’re most likely to get SEO-optimized aggregator/review site whose primary motivation is affiliate sales.  And forget about finding anything usable to:

  • “what’s everyone up to this weekend?”
  • “should I get a tattoo?”
  • “is business school right for me”

Increasingly, I turn to Twitter and Facebook for these types of questions:



Aardvark is another really nice product that tries to answer these experiential/recommendation type of questions.  It’s easy to use (via a chat bot) and gets quick and solid responses.  The same question got me three responses within 10 min (here’s two):

  • (From Rakesh R./24/M/Arlington,US, Re: **cameras**
    go for canon 50D with a kit lens to start with . Your body is excellent but lens is OK types. u can always improve on ur lens whne u know what u need (Amazon: Canon EOS 50D)
  • (From Sam A./M/Dubai,UnitedArabEmirates, Re: **cameras**
    Well the best bet would be to start looking at the more popular brands:
    Canon and Nikon. Some people also swear by Olympus and Leica (the latter
    being seriously expensive), and even Sony. I’d stay away from Sony because
    cameras is not their real bread and butter (though I have read some good
    reviews regarding their Alpha series). Now I wouldn’t recommend sticking to
    the popular brands because they’re better or provide the best value for
    money, but rather for things beyond that: availability of accessories,
    lenses, repair options, etc. I personally just purchased a Canon D7 and it’s
    a really great camera. Though a little on the pricey side, it provides great
    value for money. Things like high continuous shooting rate, HD video, etc.
    This site helps you actually buy one:

    This website will be really helpful in doing some comparisons:

Imagine if I could aggregate this data, slice and dice according to my tastes (i.e. 2nd degree relationships within NYC who have bought a camera in the last 6 weeks), compare prices and actually buy this thing from a single application?  This is a game changer that could be a devastating blow to Google SEM and forever change the way we buy products and services (though Google’s smart and they’re workin’ on it) . Facebook ::nudge nudge wink wink:: I’m lookin’ at you…

My favorite quote from the excellent video by @equalman (posted below) is:

We no longer search for the news, the news finds us…
In the near future we will no longer search for products and services they will find us

Increasingly though, it’s not just individuals who will be turning to social tools to answer tough questions:

There’s a new tool that can help companies predict sales for the coming weeks, or decide whether to increase inventories or put items on sale in certain stores.

It’s Twitter.

~ MIT Sloan

Social data from Facebook, Twitter and the like combined with traditional CRMs will allow you to keep track of buzz, transactions and brand loyalty/sentiment, letting you answer questions like:

  • What are people saying about my product right now?
  • How has the perception of my brand changed recently and in what direction is it trending?
  • Geographically where is my biggest, rapidly emerging and diminishing customers?
  • Who are my biggest evangelists, in what demographic do they fall in, where are they located?
  • Who are my biggest naysayers, how can I change their perception?
  • What is the perception of my product vs. my competitors?
  • What product features do my (potential) customers want?
  • Where is my next potential biggest growth market?
  • What are the trending (in both directions) topics in my industry?

Social CRM is totally hot right now and an important trend to watch this year:

Everyone’s talking… are you listening?

Related posts:

  1. Advertising Is Not a Sustainable Business Model for the Web (unless you are a Search Engine)
  2. The Transition to Real-Time, Social Search
  3. An Intro to Social Data Portability
  4. Slides from Social Media Training Sessions
  5. Eating our own Dogfood in Marketing 2.0 Class