Before heading to Paris for this week’s LeWeb conference, Google made a number of huge announcements. At the conference, TechCrunch editor Mike Arrington asked for more details from Marissa Mayer, Vice President, Search Products and User Experience of Google. Her answers will help shape your future, scare you a bit, and potentially open countless business opportunities.
With new agreements with Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, your status updates will be more public than ever before. With Google’s new real-time search of these social networks, every time you post something, it will be available in the search results of Google. Facebook has announced additional security measures that you can take to control what goes out. (This is a MUST for all parents!)
We all see the downside of real-time search of social networks, but the bright side is pretty sunny.
“When we think of the future of search at Google, we really think of it of it as four main components. One is modes or modality: How do you search?” asked Mayer. She never got to the other three components of search, but what she did cover is pretty cool.
Today, most people type keywords into a search engine on a desktop computer and look for results. “In the future, we believe that people will talk to their phone [to search]. They will be able to take the picture of something and say give me the information. That’s what Google Goggles does.” For example, you can use your mobile device to take a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge, and your phone will tell you the height, designer, when it was built, and more information.
Take this a step further and take a photo of a restaurant and get a menu, or make it an amazing learning tool for your children where literally, your imagination may be the limit.
One of the next logical steps for Google would be shopping. Just take a photo of an item in a store and let it comparison shop for you. That means, theoretically, you can shop in one store and buy it from another at a lower price.
“That’s a different modality of search, and we think its one thing that’s going to push search forward, and also make it a lot bigger… What will cause [the search market] to grow more is when more people can do more searches about more things from more situations that their curious about.”
This application is now available in beta for Android phones from Android Marketplace.
Mobile searches have grown considerably, doubling last year’s numbers – possibly higher than 5 percent of all searches.
Since the web has gone from a static page from rich media: music, videos, photos, maps and more, Google wants search to reflect how we use the web, and how we interface with the content. That means search needs to reflect the richness of the media.
And the social aspect goes further. Google Social Search, currently available in beta at Google Labs is testing social search, which I admit to playing with. It has been interesting, helpful, and in some ways scary-cool.
With social search, for example, a search on New Zealand will deliver the top ten links on New Zealand. “But if you’re signed into Google Social Search,” according to Mayer, “you get pages, photoblogs, reviews [that are] written by your friends about New Zealand… which are most relevant to you.”
It also helps you narrow down who among your contacts are experts in certain fields. In my case, there were some pleasant and helpful surprises.
If you’re a skier looking for how conditions are at a ski area, you probably trust someone who is at that ski slope rather than the ski resort.
Real-time search; “The public updates from people, even from people you don’t know, are already really, really useful.” Mayer noticed that when she Googled Chrome, Twitter Search was her 5th top page. And she was using Twitter to find snow conditions. “Snow reports from ski resorts will lie, but people on the mountain will tell the truth. Someone who is on the hill who has taken the time to tweet will be more trustworthy [than the resort].”
Real-time search, geolocation (GPS data from your phone) and social media search will have a big future. “We should be able to indexed the web and allow you to search the web the way you see and experience it. You’ll see the public updates, but you’ll also see the private updates from your friends, that just you alone would be authorized to see, or just their social circle would be authorized to see. It’s a long way off, but social sites will be a big part of your sphere of information.”
The bottom line, real-time search is evolving. It’s crossing from text search to the more than 1 billion images that Google has indexed. And many of us are going to play a part to help it grow with our photos.