The trend to watch in search

crossed magnifying glasses for the trend to watch in search

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I recently spoke with a16z’s “Future” about the evolution of AI and touched on how summarization is one of the trends to watch in search in the next few years.

Summarization is a big part of what we’re doing at You.com. Our goal is not to be a pure search engine but rather a “do engine” that helps you get things done. Your time is finite and valuable, and we want you to be able to search less and do more — not get sucked into engagement loops from companies whose business models are often reliant on advertisements.

Search is broken. Access to information is not the problem anymore — there’s so much information that no one has time to read it and process it or know what to trust. Plus, a single gatekeeper controls almost 90% of the search market, dictating what you see. And it keeps the bulk of search traffic to itself — nearly 65% of searches in the fourth quarter of 2020 ended without that traffic going to another website, according to a SimilarWeb study.

Summarization can help solve these challenges.

Here’s how we’re already applying summarization with some sample searches on You.com:

1. Search for the band “The Foo Fighters,” and you can see how complex summarization can be. A good summary isn’t just a short text recap, but instead, it features all the different dimensions of The Foo Fighters, from the quick facts to the music and even what the band and its fans are saying on social media.

Foo Fighters complex summarization with different dimensions
Foo Fighters complex summarization with different dimensions

2. Now search for “best Thai restaurant near me.” You probably don’t want a large body of text. Instead, you want to see the restaurant name, rating, review, if they have delivery or pickup, and the location and contact information.

Best Thai restaurant near me animated example in You.com
Best Thai restaurant near me animated example in You.com

3. Let’s say you want to search for a recipe for “brownies,” you probably don’t want to sift through a 1,000-word search engine optimized blog. On You.com, you can see the recipe options organized by sources that include the recipe’s name, image, rating, and cook-time. To see even more, you can click “read more,” and a side panel opens featuring the ingredients and instructions. The same goes for product reviews, like “best headphones,” where you can see “the good,” “the bad,” “the specs,” “the bottom line,” and even a buy button in the side panel.

Brownie recipe examples in a You.com search
Brownie recipe examples in a You.com search

4. Summarization can also boost productivity. If you’re a developer searching for code snippets, like “send SMS in Twilio,” you’ll notice copy/paste buttons next to the snippets, which was our first instantiation of the “do engine.”

Summarization for code snippets - send sms in Twilio
Summarization for code snippets – send sms in Twilio

5. You can take that coding-related search even further and execute on the intent communicated in your search query. Let’s say you’re in a hackathon and you need code quickly for “CSS flexbox,”you can see the code snippets from an app like StackOverflow, or you can see new code generated based on the natural language from your query input in the Code Complete app, which is trained with a large language model to write code, right on the results page.

code quickly for CSS flexbox in You.com Code Complete
code quickly for CSS flexbox in You.com Code Complete

Those are just a few examples of applying summarization to search to help you do more. We have many more exciting summarization features to debut in the coming weeks and look forward to sharing them with you.

You can read the full interview with a16z here.

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