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Jaron Lanier: “Friction-Free” Is the Problem With Search Quality

Any actions associated with zero costs tend to become debased over time, says technologist Jaron Lanier. Search is no different.

In part 3 of Big Think’s Farsight 2011 event, Jaron Lanier discusses the trouble with un-monetized services on the web. Search’s spam problem may be solved by attaching a small micro-payment to every one of our searches. “Is paid search comprising the value of search,” asks Big Think emcee Vivek Wadhwa. “I would happily pay Google or Bing 20 or 40 bucks a year for search,” says Lanier. 

Later, Esther Dyson took the stage and claimed the future of search will be about verbs, as Bill Gates once told her over dinner. We will want to ask search engines for solutions as to how to do things, rather simply for information. Following Dyson, Di-Ann Eisnor, VP and Community Geographer of the search application Waze, showed off Waze’s ability to crowdsource, in real-time, information for traffic directions.

Finally, Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Architect of Bing Maps, summed up the troubles for search presented by our shift from largely using PCs to mobile devices.


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