Over the last four years, search has changed the way we interact with the world. Just like you can't remember what life was like before email, you're probably having trouble remembering what you did before Google became a verb.
It's easy to believe that search is mature, and the next big thing is going to be somewhere else. Actually, we're about 5% done.
Example: What if I want to find a place to take 6 friends for a midweek retreat, near a lake, within an hour of my house. I know when I want to do it, I know about how much I want to spend, but I don't know where. I don't know if I want a private house for rent, or a condo or a hotel. I don't know if it's in Massachussets or New Jersey.
This is actually the way many people plan a trip like this one. If I do perhaps 75 online searches, I'll start getting close to what I want.
Or what if I want to have a business meeting in Los Angeles in September. I know how many people, and approximately where the venue needs to be, but that's it. It doesn't matter a lot if it's a private loft, a hotel or a restaurant. Gigs like this get planned all the time.
Or what if I need a new CRM system for my office...
If you're a seller of that sort of accomodation, you'd love to know about me, no doubt.
So, how do we find each other?
No website is going to be able to aggregate all of the providers if it requires either a payment or incremental effort--it's just unreasonable to expect that you'll get the entire universe in any category to affirmatively sign up for something. It needs to be more passive than that. But it also needs to be incredibly intelligent to sort the junk from the good stuff.
So far, the most ubiquitous solution is Craig's List, and while it's a miracle, it's not the answer.
How do you use search to introduce the right buyers to the right sellers when it's not a frequent transaction of a commodity? I have no clue.
I'm betting someone is going to figure it out.