If you were wondering what's on TV in California, check out Google video. Apparently they're indexing the supetext captions that are transmitted in the black bits of our TV channels. Man - those guys are developing a finely tuned indexing radar. If there's content anywhere, (even flying through the atmosphere!) -seems they'll find a way to index it.
This makes me speculate on the future of companies that have profited for years by providing structured storage (FileNET,Documentum, OpenText, TOWER Software) etc.
I mean, when you can triumphantly return with exactly what you wanted from a big pile of random stuff, do you really need to structure it properly? Let's use the following half-baked analogy:
My study is full of vaguely important pieces of paper. Becuase deep down I hate all of them, I tend to treat them fairly carelessly. This means I generally just chuck them through the study door in order to minimize the amount of time I have to spend thinking about them. Sadly, every now and again I have to retrieve one for some random bureaucratic purpose. This usually involves swearing and yelling, and lots of looking at papers that I don't want.
If I could use these two approaches(structured vs unstructured storage) on my study, one would shake a bony librarian finger at me and say "You should've filed all your papers in folders, and categorized them appropriately. I have no idea where you car insurance policy is. " After a bunch of searching, I'd eventually find it - probably with lots of swearing and yelling.
Whereas the unstructured index mad loons at Google would just hand it to me. (along with a bunch of other unrelated cat insurance policies and so on. )Minimal swearing and no chastising.
So - is unstructured storage the way of the future? If that means less filing, I'm all for it. Now, If I could only get a googlebot to index my study...