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Enterprise Search, 2nd Edition by Martin White

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Chapter 2. Benefits and Challenges

Most people think that search is easy. All you have to do is type a word or two into the search box on Google or Bing. In a fraction of a second, thousands, if not millions, of results are ready to review. You don’t know and don’t care about how this was accomplished, and for searching the Internet, that’s acceptable. Even if you knew all about PageRank, BigTable, Markov chains, and the teleportation matrix, it would be of no value in using Google, and the situation is similar with Bing. The nice thing about searching the Web is that we are easily satisfied. Even if you don’t find quite what you are looking for, you will find something close enough to be useful and forget about the initial disappointment.

Enterprise search is much more challenging. From the evidence presented in Chapter 1, it is clear that there is a significant dissatisfaction with enterprise search applications. One of the reasons for this is the height of the satisfaction barrier. If you are looking for a specific document or specific information and cannot find it, then your satisfaction is zero. Finding something roughly similar is rarely good enough to risk your career on.

When it comes to enterprise search, it really does make a lot of sense to know something about how search works. However, before we start to look inside the technology (we’ll cover this in Chapter 3), we will look at some typical experiences with enterprise search. Then, in Chapter 10, we’ll consider ...

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