For some reason I missed this post from last week by Jon Udell about Indexing and searching Outlook email, but I thought his concluding paragraphs had a much broader impact on Enterprise Search in general.
… The Web has trained us, rightly, to expect that we just type in a word or two and get the “right” answer. I don’t know what the stats are on use of Google’s advanced search, or any advanced search, but my gut tells me such features are rarely used.
I used to think the answer was to standardize on query syntax. Now I think that might help some, but not much. More fruitful, perhaps, would be to use multiple search strategies in parallel, suggest “best” outcomes, and factor the user’s choices into future determinations of “best.”
For years now, we’ve been able to find things on the Web more easily than we can find things in our own personal data stores. There’s a huge opportunity, and a huge need, to swing that pendulum back toward the center.