Does the functional web require a re-thinking of search?
Carter Trout stashed this in Search
It seems like we are entering a new phase of the internet -- real time web applications that are focused on doing things. I've heard it called the "functional web." Will Google Search be sufficient for navigating the functional web and finding the best app for a given objective?
BTW, developer initiatives like Cappuccino.org and Now.js are enabling these real time web applications. Less focus on pages and more focus on functionality
The page model does have limitations but its flexibility has allowed the Web to grow for 20 years.
This is an awesome topic Carter!
I think that maybe one linkage that could shed some light on this is: are "functional web" apps/sites basically public or private/personalized? If private -- e.g. Facebook -- lack of discoverability is not in fact a critical problem from a user standpoint because (bad joke alert!) no one can step in the same stream twice. If public -- e.g. Tumblr -- discoverability is critical to all users of the system.
I know that a lot of people were very surprised at PandaWhale's lack of DHTML flashiness given my background... but in fact I intended it from the beginning to be a repository of PUBLIC conversations. It's so important that PandaWhale be lurkable, searchable, and transactable. To me that's a big part of what makes the web great! What makes the "functional web" great?
Public functional apps certainly work better with a google style search that uses inbound links for information than they do with more old fashioned search that indexes the words on a "page". Inbound links seem to do a good job of capturing the words that actual users use to describe an app or site, which is often more useful than the words that actually appear on those pages.
For many functional sites the problem is one step back from that. If you go away from a page based model, it is hard to have useful URIs or URLs that address a specific resource. If you lose that, then an external search engine can't work.