In a related article, Stephen Turbek writes about Advanced Search. He discusses a number of alternatives to advanced search options, involving how the results are presented. By using categories or allowing the sorting and filtering of results, you don’t need to make the user narrow their choice upfront.
I’ve been thinking a bit about how smarter algorithms and faster processors give us more design choices. When the computer can be smart enough to give us the info we need presented in a way that is most likely to be useful to us, then we need to make fewer choices up front. We can focus more on the task and less on how to instruct the computer to give us what we need.