Search Events, Not Just Documents

Jon Udell, as usual, puts into words something true and important that has been nagging at me for some time:

I argue that our increasing reliance on network storage makes the need for desktop search less acute than it formerly was. I should add, though, that the core technology of desktop search — that is, noticing and cataloging information events — will only grow more relevant with time. Whether or not your personal information lives on your personal disk, and whether or not the index is built and searched locally, the reading and writing and editing and communication events occur on the client. Pervasive high-performance monitoring of that event stream will help us weave local storage and the cloud into a common information space.

The last sentence in the above paragraph is a fine insight. The information thrown off by my actions — writing and editing and communicating — still escapes uncaptured. We need to monitor and preserve our own “informated” (to borrow Shoshana Zuboff’s word) actions, and then expose that meta-data to search the way RSS exposues informational changes of state in the broader Internet.