I’ve been taking more interest in Powerset as I meet more people working there through Luke. I just ran across this question posted at the company blog: If you could build the perfect search engine for you, what would it do? (links to people’s answers at LinkedIn)
One thing I’ve wanted for a while is search that is informed by the recent surges in traffic. I scour the Internet for news a lot, and many times I’ve read a post on a popular blog with some kind of identifying, statistically-unlikely phrase, then later failed to find it quickly using Technorati/Google/Yahoo blog search. If some phrase has a strong correlation with a story that is being blogged about or added to del.icio.us furiously (passes some threshold), I want a link at the top of search results that says, “There are recent popular posts about ____”.
People are getting faster at organizing information and organizing themselves around information than search engines can make use of that information. For instance, my IFTF colleagues David Pescovitz and Jess Hemerly pointed me to the Wikipedia article on the Virginia Tech shootings. Search engines should be on top of this kind of informal information organization in real time, and maybe help facilitate it as well.