Search became a popular term with the rise of the Web. Before that search was a major component of database systems, also called information systems in some circles, and not so popular that time information retrieval systems. In these systems search was ‘inside’. Yes, search was the reason these systems existed, but it was considered a user-facing component. The systems could be used by other systems and be part of larger systems.
Search is an important activity in many, if not most, of our problem solving tasks. Even when we are doing arithmetic operations, search is a basic step in our table look-up to find the result (or should I say semantics) of the operator given the operands. In general, however, we focus on problem solving or some other task, rather than on the search task. So why did people consider search so important when Web came in? Well that’s because when there is so much information, search will take lots of time when done manually. So the term ‘search engines’ became a popular term.
Now that we have search engines that make it easy for us to do search, we want to put it back (where it belongs!) at the back-end. We want to search to become as effortless as in multiplication tables while doing arithmetic. We want to build complex tasks built on this philosophy. I see increasingly this trend coming in — in many applications. Whether it is in travel sites, or in real-estate sites or now in a new interesting site called cruxlux (http://www.cruxlux.com/).