5 Ways the Humble Search Bar Has Revolutionized the World
The search bar may be the most simple and straightforward invention to ever revolutionize the world. It has to be at least the most significant one since the creation of the wheel.
The concept of a search bar could not be more direct. Most users can use one effectively with no training at all. But despite that accessibility, the search bar is the single greatest information resource ever available to humankind. Just think of it. Many of your customers find your business simply by using their search bars.
If you’re skeptical, though, just consider all the ways this humble feature has forever changed the world for the better.
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1. Putting More Information in One Place
Older readers will recall that before the popularization of Google and other quality search engines, the Internet was difficult to navigate. Finding what you wanted was almost impossible. You basically had to know where something was to reach it in the first place. Search bars took vast amounts of disparate information and made it all accessible through a single portal. Now, a single universal point of access replaces hundreds of hours of hunting.
2. Making Access More Intuitive and Democratic
For most of human history the information retrieval process was complex and cumbersome, with spotty results. Just imagine trying to rely on a physical archive to dive into the details.
The search bar immediately offered a way for anyone to find anything they wanted. They needed no special training, no special access, and no special tools. They only needed to pose a question. Search bars have made the lessons of history and the wisdom of the ages available to anyone who was interested.
3. Creating Solutions to Common Problems
Some of the most persistent problems of all time have been seamlessly solved by search bars. Just consider how hard it used to be to find vacant jobs. Now, thanks to search bars, job seekers enter one query and find hundreds or even thousands of vacancies locally or globally.
Or consider how hard it was to keep in touch with friends throughout a lifetime. Now we just enter a name into a search bar and find their entire social media presence. Search bars don’t just connect user with information faster. They connect users with information that would be unavailable otherwise.
4. Placing the Individual in the Driver’s Seat
Up until this moment in history, successive gatekeepers have guarded access to information. Users needed to have the right credentials, authorization, or certain privileges to get specific information. And even with this in place, they needed the help of experts, archivists, or information professionals to find what they were looking for. This had a severely limiting effect on who could access what.
However, search bars put the individual at the center of the experience and removed barriers to entry. The only prerequisite is curiosity, which is why search bars feature in so many business analytics solutions.
5. Satisfying Curious and Creative Impulses
The search bar revolution is significant for how seamless it makes the discovery process. But the impact of that has to do with more than just the easy accessibility of facts and figures. Search bars are so easy to use and so effective that users can follow their own instincts wherever those instincts may lead.
In other words, users are not limited by what they need to do. They are liberated to pursue what they want to do. This means that information is available to excite, inspire, challenge, contradict, and compel. In short, it’s available for much more than simply answering questions.
The search bar is more than a lowly tech tool. Rather, it is a powerful key to a wealth of information. It’s the greatest resource we have for understanding data that already exists. And although it is difficult to say what the future holds, it appears that the search bar will remain a potent and practical portal for some time to come.