Today’s post from Google’s blog by Marissa Mayer, VP of their search products and User Experience team about the future of search offers us some tidbits of information and a view into what Google thinks search should become in the future.
Marissa begins by talking about some basic questions she had today that could have been answered by searches. Musing about how limited queries are based on just keywords, she jumps to the possibility of using photo, video and audio input to trigger searching. Google is looking for their search to have total immersion in your world to be able to provide the best results. In order for this to happen, Google is going to need eyes and ears on you at all times, because it would be a shame if have to “break out an awkward, slow device to do a search”.
Since location is relevant to a lot of searches, incorporating user location and context will be pivotal in increasing the relevance and ease of search in the future.
Several of the questions she had were specific to a particular area, such as “What Times does J.C. Penny open”, their answer is that Google needs to know where you are… Well naturally, how else are they supposed to supply local advertising to you!
You should note that Google is seriously contemplating the Google results page even further in it’s attempts to further integrate Universal search into the search concept. She muses,
What if results pages pulled the best media together and laid it out such that the most useful content was not only first but largest?
This isn’t just idle thoughts though… according to Marrisa,
For the past year, our goal has been to take advantage of these new types of results and evolve the interface design and user experience in response. You’ll see the fruits of this experimentation in the coming months, but even these changes are just the beginning.
I had the good fortune to be one of the accounts selected to try out a “bucket test” on a new google account I was creating. Below is a screenshot of “Digg like” icons that appeared next to search results that allowed me to promote and banish different sites from the SERPS.
This type of addition will most likely be a further addition as google attempts to acheive intimate personalization. There are several other varients on this theme that harness user experience in a new way. However, Google has a much more detailed level of personalization in mind for the future.
maybe, search could analyze my social graph and realize that one of my friends works at LF, that I saw that friend this weekend, and that in that context “LF” refers to her place of employment.
Because this Google of the future would have eyes and ears on you at all times, of course it would know who you talked too and everything about that person, including details such as employment. To make their search more relevant of course!
[W]hat’s our straightforward definition of the ideal search engine? Your best friend with instant access to all the world’s facts and a photographic memory of everything you’ve seen and know.
Ok. So this is Google’s vision of search in the future…a Google buddy who is with you at all times. Where your Google buddy goes with you everywhere, Google Buddy knows who you talk to, Google Buddy knows what your associates do in their lives, and Google Buddy can answer any and every question that you might even possibly ask. I hate to come off as a paranoid person…but isn’t that just a little bit creepy? I mean, utilities are good, and search is an excellent tool, but the…intimacy needed to allow search that type of power is… frightening to say the least. I don’t know though…have I gone off the deep end and read too much into this?