A crystal ball-shaped search engine?

I’m often asked to find out about future trends and forecasts across various industry sectors, after all, it’s a big advantage if you can get the lead over a competitor.

Future searching covers a range of themes.  For market data it usually involves entering an industry area along with a combination of futuristic terms such as “forecast” or “future trends”.  Additionally, as market reports vary in their forecast periods it’s also worth including a variety of future years.   I use Advanced search options to avoid having to run the search over and over.  It helps to have a knowledge of market report terminology to get relevant results.

Now there’s an interesting start-up which aims to help you do all sorts of searching on what might take place.  Recorded Future is a new search tool which scoots around real-time data on the web looking for phrases and keywords with future connotations.

Recorded Future’s engine also looks for patterns such as products under development or clinical trials.  This is a significant development as it gives results some context, and also tries to give them a time-sequence.  This is illustrated in the display formats which include a time-line of search results.

There’s a good explanation in MIT Technology Review’s article: See the future with search

The main search engine is not freely available, but the site does offer free email alerts which it calls “futures”. I’ve signed up for one to cover medical equipment and will see what that brings back.

This is an interesting step towards picking up hints and possibilities, but still requires the user to judge and evaluate what’s brought back.   It reminds me of when Paddington visited a fortune teller who became very excited on seeing what looked like a large pink cloud growing in the crystal ball, only to realise that it was actually just Paddington’s candyfloss.  There’s probably a lesson there.

Real-time search is a hot topic.  Recorded Future wants to go one step further, so it could be quite disruptive.  I predict that we’re likely to hear more on this type of searching…time will tell.

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This entry was posted in Featured sites, Latest news, Market research, Psychology of search, Search engines and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A crystal ball-shaped search engine?

  1. Chris H. says:

    Sarah – Thanks for your thoughtful post! Genuinely appreciate the interest and would love to get in touch if you could shoot me an e-mail.

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