Sarah Milstein, co-author and editor of Google: The Missing Manual, sent some thought-provoking comments to the O'Reilly editors' list last week.

- Vertical search is a hot trendlet; for the most part, it's about clustering and improving the results interface. (Those aren't trivial things; they're really important aspects of helping you find stuff.)

- As search results get more unwieldy, recommendation engines like Amazon's or iTunes' could become more important tools. (Bonus: they're an iteration of the architecture of participation, so we can claim some kind of credit. Presumably, implicit relevance (based on search-result clickstreams) is going to be a big part of this if it's not already.

- It's no longer clear that Google is a search company. They're certainly an ad-brokering network (I'm sure everyone saw the announcement last week that they're reaching into newspaper ads now, with plans for basically all major media). And they're a provider of (mostly) Web-based productivity tools of all kinds. But a lot of those activities seem to have little to do with their mission of "organizing the world's information and making it universally accessible and useful." They do seem to have organized the world's top search experts. But as a customer, I'm not sure I'm feeling the benefit of that in my everyday searching.

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