"Is the search industry locked in a race to the bottom or are conditions ripe for a breakthrough? This question will take center stage at a gathering in San Francisco on February 1, to be webcast on BigThink.com," the event's site noted.
The main panel will have Matt Cutts, Google's Spam Czar, Harry Shum, not the "Glee" cast member but the head of Core Search Development of Microsoft, and replacing what once would have been a rep from Yahoo or Ask, co-founder and CEO of Blekko Rich Skrenta.
The moderator Vivek Wadhwa -- academic, entrepreneur and columnist -- outlined a few of his questions at TechCrunch.
- How will they save the web? Is it possible for search engines to separate the wheat from the chaff--tell the difference between content produced by regular people and large-scale junk produced by the spammers?
- How are the engines really different? Most people can't tell the difference between Google and Bing. Where is the magic?
- What lies ahead? What is the future of search?
The event will be streamed live this Tuesday at BigThink.com from 1 to 5 p.m. ET. Other presentations will also be covered.