Googling The Future Of Search

In 2010, I wrote a book called “Everything I Know about Marketing I Learned from Google.” The last chapter focused on “Future-Proofing,” where I talked about how connected devices and apps are changing consumer behavior and providing new opportunities for brands to reach their audiences. More specifically, I discussed how Google would be well-positioned in this new world of “app-sisstants” with its investment in Android.

Now here we are four years later and Android commands more than 80% global market share for smartphone operating systems. And Google’s investment in connected devices and apps extends well beyond phones and tablets (and well beyond software) to glasses, watches, TVs, cars, cameras, thermostats, virtual reality headsets and even robots. Just wait ‘til they get all these things working together!

The Internet of Things

Sir Tim Berners-Lee may have invented the Internet of Web pages, but he also had a vision for the Internet of Things very early on, referring to it as the Semantic Web. In 2001, he laid out his vision in Scientific American with a scenario in which a phone sends a message to the entertainment system to lower the volume so its owner can take a call from his sister about their mom’s medical condition, prompting a web agent to book a doctor’s appointment after cross-referencing everyone’s schedules.

As Berners-Lee saw it, “The Semantic Web will bring structure to the meaningful content of Web pages, creating an environment where software agents roaming from page to page can readily carry out sophisticated tasks for users.

Furthermore, “The real power of the Semantic Web will be realized when people create many programs that collect Web content from diverse sources, process the information and exchange the results with other programs.”

And, finally, “The effectiveness of such software agents will increase exponentially as more machine-readable Web content and automated services (including other agents) become available.”

Just Google It

Imagine a scenario where your car notifies the thermostat in your house that highway traffic is moving faster than normal, so the house temperature needs to be changed quickly to reach the desired level when you arrive home. The thermostat senses a large gap between the temperature outside and inside -- and, after detecting an open window, alerts the security camera. The camera pulls up footage from the time the temperature spiked and sends it to your glasses.

You view the footage (keep in mind, the car is driving itself so it’s perfectly safe to watch video) and see a baseball crashing through the window followed by a robot vacuuming up the glass. Your watch vibrates to confirm an appointment for window repair service -- and suggest instructional baseball videos to queue up on the TV for the kid next door.

Two things worth pointing out about this scenario:

1. All of this activity was conducted via devices and platforms currently owned by Google.

2. No search queries were performed.

Search No Further

Once our things start doing things for us, search as we know it is dead. But before you start dusting off your resume, consider the following:

1. We are many years away from realizing this vision. For the foreseeable future, humans will still be making the decisions and completing all the steps in those decisions, racking up search queries along the way.

2. SEM pros will be best equipped to help brands survive and thrive in this new reality. Think of all the paid and organic opportunities to insert your product/service into the considered set for these “things” (which window repair service gets the lead?) as well as how critical the understanding of consumer intent will be to designing/beating the algos powering them.

Indeed, Googling something will take on a much different meaning once the mission of organizing all the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful moves from Web pages to everyday objects.

Who knows what the world will look like when the Internet of Things takes hold? One thing’s for sure, it’s gonna be Googley!

Tags: google, search
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2 comments about "Googling The Future Of Search".
  1. Steve Plunkett from Rockfish , July 2, 2014 at 10:51 a.m.
    exactly// nail on the head.. Go GOOG!!!
  2. Aigerim Kikimova from TBC , July 2, 2014 at 12:15 p.m.
    I disagree. SEM gives users the power of choice. While we appreciate small things to be done on the backend without us getting involved, the whole idea of search is that we have choices and research options, we are looking for something and always will be. SEM will only grow...