The God Algorithm is dead. There isn't a computational technique that will get the right answer to a search query the first time, every time, the way an omnipotent, omniscient deity would. Far from being disastrous, however, the absence of a God Algorithm in search is a boon to entrepreneurs.

Mind you, watching Microsoft (Research) and Google (Research) scarf up computer science graduate students, one Stanford cohort at a time, might make you think the God Algorithm is alive and well. Why hire so many expensive, big-brained people unless you believe it'll pay off to unleash them on finding a "best" way of getting results for any particular search? Microsoft executive Neil Holloway recently said as much, promising that upcoming improvements in Microsoft's search results would best Google's within six months.

Trust me, it ain't gonna happen. Today a certifiably better search algorithm is a meaningless and abstruse academic notion. Think back to the last Google search you did and ask yourself how it could have been better. Most reasonable people will eventually come up with a few interface improvements that have diddly to do with the underlying algorithm. God has been taken out by Google's "good enough."

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