The search engine breadth problem

Yesterday, I spent some time considering what it would take for a brand like Wired magazine to make a curated search engine that provided a limited view of the internet. My current concern is that search engines have taken on an extreme breadth of content by over indexing everything they can possibly map and consider via algorithmic scoring. It would probably be better for some people if a search engine was built out that focused on just depth and stayed locked into a very defined set of known and focused websites for news, technology, and science related coverage. You could probably create a free admission walled garden of curated content that lets people get to most everything that they wanted to locate. You could even split that garden into two sides of content related to learning and buying. Those are the two sides of the coin that I’m curious about in terms of considering if search engines have a breadth problem. 

I might set up and run a rudimentary example of this search engine to see how it would work. It might take me a few days to mock it up and share the code out on GitHub for fun. That might be a good thing to do for fun, but it could quickly be modified into a personalized micro search engine deployment online. You could let people select a few pods of content and seed the search engine of their dreams that could provide a landing splash page to things they probably want to see from that garden and a basic search bar that let them dig in deeper to find things if they wanted to search around. I did a few quick searches for “personalized search engine” and “curated search engine”. None of my searches really populated what I’m talking about. It would be pretty easy for major websites to build this feature into what they offer. Google and some of the other services have methods of introducing a safer search experience, but that is more pruning than curation in terms of how they control the content.

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