Personally, I believe that search is going to be broken up in the future, as I see it already starting to happen. For a while, Google was god, and you went there for everything, but not anymore. If I’m looking for a torrent, I go to a torrent search engine. If I’m looking for something I know is on Wikipedia, I just go straight to the Wikipedia page. If it’s something I’ve read before, I do a search in my feed reader.
Do I think Google will become obsolete? Absolutely not. They will continue to be the starting point for most people for most things. However, as we get better at searching, as our options improve, I think Google will cease to become the one-stop-shop for all your searching needs. Maholo, Facebook… I’m sure they’ll play a role, as I think the abilities of the masses will definitely begin to shape the search arena. But for that random shit, the obscure, the uber:niche, I think will continue to be served best by robots.
Just my opinion.
To check out other people’s opinions, check out Advanced Operators as a bunches of other people discuss whether or not Social is the new Search.