More food for thought:
The search holy grail is less of a general per topic or term indexing strategy, but more of a per user individual response strategy, meaning, what does this specific searcher "has in mind" when translating that need into a search query.
Bit of a mind reading race, currently lead by Google by knowing as much as anyone can know about that person though opt-in services, incentives & plain old ad tracking...
Mind you they're not doing a great job yet due to privacy constraints, their failing to acquire Facebook (which would have completed the circle), and finally plain old lousy searcher self expression, users have not been well educated on how to talk to the machine yet. It's also note worthy that we as humans barley know/understand our own spouses, children, parents or even ourselves enough, making the machine's task even algorithmicly harder.
If I were to wild guess the future of search, I'd say it will be money related, micropayment relieving the stress of the ad funded model, not necessarily replacing it, back to real good traffic = money, visitors automatically contribute fractions of cents on each site they visit & resource they download, money is shared among content owners & isps, original content is registered like all original ideas should be..
That leads to flipping current rules, very high speed access becomes free, good content becomes not, companies pay you to visit their sites, info sites get paid when you visit them, search engines & webmasters focus less on ads and more on good original or fulfilling content, content takes its place as king.
That's just a very general 0.0001 cents, many details left out due to incompetency, age, lack of knowledge, space & time. <-- just in case Google does manage to travel though time, this should send me to the bottom of the hit list.