Where is Google heading in the future? How are they changing? What's the next big thing from the search engine giant? An in-depth look at what is next
The first talk up at the second BrightonSEO conference of 2014 was given by Ian Miller (@millerian) from Crafted with the subject “Predicting the future of Google, and why it’s no longer a search company” – not an insignificant topic to attempt to cover in the thirty or so minutes he had. Ian offered the audience, myself included, some fascinating insights into the direction he thinks Google is taking and his reasons.
Based on the observation of the products and services Google is creating and acquiring (along with what Google itself has said publicly at its own Google I/O conference), the Company is clearly all about collecting and processing data to gain an insight into each and every one of us. It’s not just about a partial insight based on what we search for but a whole picture of every aspect of our life.
So, where is Google going to, or already in most cases, getting this data from? Well, just take a look at Google’s products and services. Google’s original core product is search, so it already knows what you search for and have searched for in the past, but what else:
So why is Google collecting all this information about each and every one of us as often as they can and about every aspect of our life? Well the conspiracy theorists will tell you that Google is evil and money grabbing by offering us up to advertisers.
Iain’s point of view however was very different and probably far more accurate, Google wants to be your cyber best friend!
To keep itself relevant, it is changing from being a content indexer that allows you to find information by entering keywords to being a “context engine” that understands information within your current context and can present you with the information you need when you need it and more often than not without you even asking for it!
Google is already heading in this direction today with Google Now on Android and iOS devices. Google Now uses the data Google stores about you (with your permission), e.g. web searches, your location, regular travel movements, etc. to provide you with context sensitive information when it thinks you need it. For example, it might give you travel information about your trip to work before you leave the house each day, or the weather for the local area, recent posts on blogs you visit, the latest news about your favourite sports team, etc…
This really is Google’s first step into becoming a “context engine” instead of being a “search engine” and it is getting better at it every day. The change from search to context engine is already underway and will happen slowly over the course of many years and most people will probably not even consciously notice the change. However the impact on all our lives and businesses will be absolutely massive.