future of google

The Future of Search

By Paul Morris
I read with great geeky fervency yesterday an article on the Future of Search.

The article made me reflect on my own thoughts as to what is ‘The Future of Search’?

I think I’ve done a reasonable job detailing my opinions in the past and just wanted to bring them together (almost as a ‘Future of Search’ bibliography) whilst also incorporating learning’s from the great Wired article I mention above

Future of Search bibliography 

New ways of searching – Watch out for increasingly cool new ways of shopping (voice, image, Google Goggles, etc) as online and offline shopping continues to blur

One device to rule them all – Linked with the above point we need to utilise effectively the one digital media device that will end up ruling our lives. This one device will enable improvements in Search as it further turns Search into an amorphous (definition: not being clearly defined in size or reach rather than it being ill organised; quite the contrary in fact) practice

Search = Opportunity – I love viewing Search Engines as CRM systems of Opportunity and in this post I showcase two great examples of how Search can encompass our lives in an amorphous aether styley

The Personalised Localised Socialised Semantic Web – I coined the mouthful that is ‘Personalised Localised Socialised Semantic Web‘ to equate to the future direction Search Engines have to move to so they cater to a user base who want ever increasing relevancy and proactivity (think of a much improved Google Now where Search becomes even more of a trusted friend)

Personalisation –  Social connections, query revision, historic search queries, historic user journeys, favourite websites, CTR, depth of visit, etc

Localisation – IP, Cell ID, GPS, NFC and Wi-Fi are enabling updates such as Venice

Social – Purchases such as Post Rank, development of Google+ and integration of Facebook data in Bing show Search Engines determination to utilise social data

Semantics – Tim Berners-Lee’s ‘intelligent agents’ shows how the Semantic Web can really aid personalised Search

Dual ScreeningDual Screening will increasingly play an important part of how we engage with Search and here I discuss what impact this is having on our lives whilst showcasing 2 of the best examples I have found of Dual Screening integration

Great Content + Big Data + Interactivity = Sweet Link Bait – How Link Bait will form a key tenant of where a website ranks in the SERPS

…And what provoked my thoughts from the Wired article:

I love Paul Saffo’s “Boolean prison of search” analogy and it’s something Google et all have to escape from. Basically without context (whether that be search history, social factors, location, etc) a search word combination drags us down the path of everyone elses preferences which is not always right for us (I give examples of this in my Personalised Localised Socialised Semantic Web post)

Context: George Boole was a Victorian mathematician, pioneered the binary approach and is regarded as one of the fathers of computer science.

Expectations from Search have risen exponentially and become a digital prosthesis. John Battelle nails it by saying “Search is now more than a web destination and a few words plugged into a box. Search is a mode, a method of interaction with the physical and virtual worlds. What is Siri but search? What are apps such as Yelp or Foursquare but structured search machines? Search has become embedded into everything, and has reached well beyond its web-based roots.”

Linked with my point above about Google Now and Google becoming a trusted friend, it feels like Google is becoming the equivalent of Aristotle to Alexander the Great; an adviser who knows all there is to know about the world and knows the right time to utter those words of wisdom. Clearly Google has a long way to go before it gets to this new ‘Google Now’ world however Google is certainly helping its situation by having some of its greatest minds work on its Knowledge Graph and Semantic interpretations algorithm

Semantic edges are what Google is particularly working on to understand connections and to enable computers to understand the world the way humans do. The challenge is to produce and apply a Semantic Graph layer that connects the serendipitous links, parses the disambiguation, filters the noise, overcomes the hypernyms (words that mean the same thing as a more specific usage) and uses the great pockets of information available across the web to serve you the best results.

Google will continue to improve on the great work by Wolfram Alpha and increase the number of answers rather than links in the SERPS (linked with my post on the future of Search not necessarily involving visiting websites)

The pillars of Google’s future of search involves the vast knowledge of user behaviour and intent it already has and is compiling every second; the Knowledge Graph, in which strings become things; and Google’s advances in artificial intelligence. This is where the semantic web is moving to.

One of the biggest challenges facing Search protagonists is that Search is becoming fractured (“in apps, in walled gardens such as Facebook, across clunky interfaces”). Whilst the current focus is the Semantic web, the next battle ground is likely to be amalgamating these disparate data sources that in turn, in a virtuous circle styley, empowers the Semantic web.