I was driving home the other evening listening to a series of podtech interviews from Supernova 2006. In and amongst the conference buzz comments Philip Rosedale, CEO of Linden Labs, the makers of MMOG Second Life, dropped a gem: Within the game, second lifers mimic the internet ecosystem (I nearly went retro and said internet economy: ) – interacting much like we do in other net activities …buying, selling, gifting and social networking. In fact much like you walk out of the subway in NY or London and query a fellow traveller about the exact whereabouts of a gallery, restaurant etc … so too on Second Life a gamer would locality query someone near them.
Yet when a gamer jumps back to reality and exits the MMOG, the most likely query mechanism they would use would be… one of the GYM (Google, Yahoo, MSN) search engines. In this sense search is a proxy for real or gamer life.
This is a great insight into how much more we can improve the whole search experience. The industry pitch is that we’ve only done 5% of search and there is much more innovation ahead.
My take to search-related innovators is to take heed of where MMOGs are heading — there is an inflection convergence point between immersive games, social networks and real life that’s coming up faster than you can say google (deer) in the headlights.