Searching has a cost. It takes time and energy, and distracts us from other opportunities. It is also a quickly growing part of modern life.

The world’s most-visited website is Google, suggesting that we devote more of our time to searching for content than consuming it. Exponentially growing databases create search overhead costs that grow even faster. Quickened job churn boosts what economists call frictional unemployment.

As we broaden and deepen our reliance on search, we are also building tools to make it easier. Algorithms predict the optimality of search results, and recommendation engines serve us the content we want. In the race between harder searches and better search tools, which will win? And will we learn to be happy with the results?

Welcome to “Searches.”