Next Generation Search Engines

In Fortune magazine’s July 29th story entitled Google: The search party is over, author Michael V. Copeland with Seth Weintraub chronicles Google’s rise to dominance of the Internet and probes the options for an encore performance.  Said differently, what can Google do to feed the growth engine it created?

The article is full of possibilities but one struck home for me as I read it since it parallels something we are working on to help English language learners improve their reading ability.  The concept is elegantly simple; create a passive search engine that automatically collects all the news, images, videos, blog posts, Twitter feeds and Facebook updates in a single place for your convenience.  Flipboard for the iPad is a great example of this new paradigm.

Now, imagine you are a Chinese high school student learning English and preparing to attend a university in the United States.  Intuitively, you know that reading more results in reading better but where do you start?  Enter the passive search engine concept.  It delivers reading content targeted to your reading ability and your interests directly to your laptop or mobile device every day.  Content would include magazines, newspapers, blogs, websites and e-books.  Periodically, it would mine your reading experiences to determine how much you’ve improved.  Then, it would raise the difficulty of the content it sends so that you’re always perfectly targeted to achieve optimal growth.

Flipboard seems to be at the intersection of search engines and social networking.  However, applying this next generation search engine to education could result in personalized learning platforms similar to the one described above.  To learn more about this new service for English language learners, please see www.EngagingEnglish.com.

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