I just read an interview with Hadley Reynolds from Computerworld. He said on APRIL 15, 2002
When you go the Web and use a search box, you almost always have in
mind receiving some sort of answer, or you wouldn't be there. There's a
disconnect between wanting an answer and getting instead a list of 256,000
documents. It's ergonomically inappropriate. [If we] asked, "What is the
gross national product of the U.S.?" [and] the system came back with an actual
number instead of 256,000 documents, we'd all feel that our Web
investigative life had been revolutionized. And that is where
research is headed.
I admit that I got a list of 9,880,000 documents on Google for "gross national product of the U.S." but the first one was a hit.
It is not exactly what Hadley Reynolds asked for but it is pretty close.
More than 3 years after this interview are we in the future of the Search Engine?
I think that for this kind of questions we certainly are. There are millions of unique terms that will bring you a satisfying answer on the first result. For almost every unique word in any scientific dictionary there is such an answer.
But there are questions that are very difficult to answer. Like "show me articles about senior citizens getting too many results on the web".
Or research questions which only a mountain of results may answer like "global warming policies" For which I got on Google 1,440,000 results. It might take me years to collect the answers. With Qtsaver it might take a shorter period.
Anyhow I think that for this kind of questions...
There is no future to Search Engines!