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I’ve just finished reading this article about how Tablet devices are changing the future of search.  When I saw the headline I sniggered to myself.  Oh come on, search is search. Type in your query, get your answer.  But as I read through I thought about how my habits have changed since I got my Samsung Galaxy in August this year.  And it’s quite astonishing.

The first startling realisation is that you cannot just borrow someone else’s electronic device anymore.  pretty much starting with the iPod mass produced devices have become deeply personal and customisable.  In the 80s, if you were going on a plane ride you could use your buddy’s walkman and just lug along your own tapes.  With an iPod it’s not so easy.  Firstly you have to hope your buddy has similar music tastes or load your own music on it.  A ridiculous scenario since most of us longer need an iPod, we have all the music we want on our phones or tablets.

A mobile phone has become so much more than a phone that calling it a phone is like referring to your car as a wheelie chair. In the 90s you could keep about 150 phone numbers and half names on your sim card (anyone remember the 12 character limit for a name?).  There was no on-phone storage.  Now these devices have almost unlimited capacity for your address book.  But it also knows your favourite websites, your games, your music, your email, your whatsapp, bbm and other messages.  It’s also becoming your wallet.  In fact an hour with someones phone and you get some deep insight into their lives, kinda like a diary with multi-media content.

Even more so with a tablet device.  It “knows” you. So much so that using someone else’s is decidedly uncomfortable.

Because of this the way we search has changed.  We’re moving from search to discovery. Using the device means we discover what is important to us rather than simply searching for it.  This has been referred to (or at least is in the article I reference) as “unified search” which is combining your senses for search.  Where are you? (think about search using your location through GPS).  What are you looking at (think about search using your front or back facing cameras). Not just with search either.  As our devices become more sophisticated so the unified experience becomes more seamless. We search a subject through which we find a location and either make a call to it, navigate to it or watch videos about it.  Whatever.  No cutting & pasting, remembering numbers.  One action moves fluidly to the next.

This could all fit neatly under the 2010 buzzword of “convergence”.  With each such convergence our world and the way we interact with it changes some more.

How have personalised, customised devices changed your habits or behaviours?