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Google's Marissa Mayer clarifies her position on Web search

September 10, 2008 |  3:47 pm

Marissa Mayer at TechCrunch50

On the occasion of Google's 10th anniversary, Marissa Mayer told us that the Web search problem was 90 to 95% solved.

The comment got the attention of TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington. He spoke with Mayer on Monday at his TechCrunch50 conference (where he presented her with favorite cupcakes, from Citizen Cake in San Francisco). She told him she would clarify her comment on the Google blog.

Today she did just that, making the point that the first 90% of the search problem is solved, but that the last 10% will require the most work. She estimates it will take decades to do so since search is a new science, presenting the same sorts of challenges as some of history's great scientific puzzles.

"It could be a hundred years or more before we have microscopes and an understanding of the proverbial molecules and atoms of search," she wrote. "Just like biology and physics several hundred years ago, the biggest advances are yet to come. That’s what makes the field of Internet search so exciting."

The clarification satisfied Arrington, who took time out from his conference to blog about it. He said he agreed with her assessment and called search "in its infancy," equating today's search engines with pre-World War I airplanes.

-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: Marissa Mayer at TechCrunch50. Credit: Steve Maller

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