Google Pontificates On The Future Of Search

Today on the Official Google Blog, Marisa Meyer posted an in-depth look at what the future of Internet searches holds. She shares many interesting thoughts.
Today on the Official Google Blog, Marisa Meyer posted an in-depth look at what the future of Internet searches holds. She shares many interesting thoughts.Google's Marissa Meyer really lays it out there. She asks a lot of important and interesting questions on the direction of search and how searches will be performed in the coming years. The most interesting ones she touches on are the "location" and "social" values that can be attached to search. Google has already offered an API that allows Web site builders to make Web sites location aware. This will help deliver more relevant results. For me to search for "pizza" sitting here in downtown San Francisco isn't going to do me much good if Google doesn't know where I am. If it does, then it will probably provide me with a list of the closest pizza places to where I actually am. The social aspect also is worth noting. How do we cull the collective information of our friends -- or simply those around us -- to find the information we need. How this will be built into search, she didn't say. Here are some of her thoughts:

Search needs to be more mobile -- it should be available and easy to use in cell phones and in cars and on handheld, wearable devices that we don't even have yet. For example, when the topic of the oldest living thing came up during a boat ride, everyone in the conversation was curious about it, but no one wanted to break out an awkward, slow device to do a search. It would be much nicer if we had a device with great connectivity that could do searches without interruption. One far-fetched idea: how about a wearable device that does searches in the background based on the words it picks up from conversations, and then flashes relevant facts?

This notion brings up yet another way that "modes" of search will change -- voice and natural language search. You should be able to talk to a search engine in your voice. You should also be able to ask questions verbally or by typing them in as natural language expressions. You shouldn't have to break everything down into keywords.

Further, why should a search be words at all? Why can't I enter my query as a picture of the birds overhead and have the search engine identify what kind of bird it is? Why can't I capture a snippet of audio and have the search engine identify and analyze it (a song or a stream of conversation) and tell me any relevant information about it? Services that do parts of that are available today, but not in an easy-to-use, integrated way.

In the next 10 years, we will see radical advances in modes of search: mobile devices offering us easier search, Internet capabilities deployed in more devices, and different ways of entering and expressing your queries by voice, natural language, picture, or song, just to name a few. It's clear that while keyword-based searching is incredibly powerful, it's also incredibly limiting. These new modes will be one of the most sweeping changes in search.

She continues at length. I highly suggest you head on over to the Official Google Blog and check out the rest of her comments.

Editor's Choice
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
Shane Snider, Senior Writer, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author