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What would a totally new search engine architecture look like? Who better than Julien Lemoine, Co-founder & CTO of Algolia, to describe what the future of search will look like. This is the first article in a series.

Search engines, and more generally, information retrieval systems, play a central role in almost all of today’s technical stacks. Information retrieval started in the beginning of computer science. Research accelerated in the early 90s with the introduction of the Text REtrieval Conference (TREC). After more than 30 years of evolution since TREC, search engines continue to grow and evolve, leading to new challenges.

In this article, we look at some key milestones in the evolution of search engine architecture. We also describe the challenges those architectures face today. As you’ll see, we grouped the engines into four architecture categories. This is a simplification, as there are in reality a lot of different engines with various mix of architectures. We did this to focus our attention on the most important characteristics of those architectures.

1. The Inverted Index —  the early days of search

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