I consider myself to be a power Googler. Not only can I bang in keywords but I can also use boolean operators and search operators, such as filetype: & site:. However, I discovered yesterday that this all counts for nothing if you don’t know what it is that you are searching for.
One of my clients is going through a website refresh and was looking to put some screenshots on the home page but they wanted them to appear to be disappearing into the distance, rather like that shown in the picture to the left.
No problem I thought. I know how to rotate an image around the x & y axis so this is just rotating around the z axis, this must be possible and a quick Google would turn up the answer. Many searches later and I was till none the wiser. No amount of “3d rotate image” type searches turned up anything like what I was looking for.
Frustrated I resorted to phoning a friend who immediately said you can do that in Photoshop with the “perspective” tool. Bingo! Another search showed that not only could this be done in Photoshop (which I don’t have) but also can be done in GIMP and Paint Shop Pro. In fact, not only can it be done in Paint Shop Pro it has been there since at least version 5 which is over ten years old now.
So the moral of this story is that it is all very well having the worlds information at hand just a simple search away but if you don’t know how to describe what it is that you are looking for in a way that a machine can understand then you are lost.
I suspect that just as new forms of searching are emerging, such as searching by images, techniques will be developed to better understand the input that we enter and allow searchers to find what they are looking for when they don’t know what to call it.