Google's Schmidt Tells Us The 'Internet Will Disappear,' Microsoft Bing Defines What That Means

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said during the panel "The Future of the Digital Economy" at the World Economic Forum that "the Internet will disappear," replying to a question about the evolution of the Web. He meant to describe the integration of search technology into operating systems and applications that gives access to answers without going to a search engine and typing keywords into a box to retrieve information similar to Google Now and Microsoft Cortana.

"There will be so many IP addresses because of IPv6, so many devices, sensors, things you are wearing, things you are integrating with that you won't even sense it; it will be part of your presence all the time," Schmidt said. "Imagine you walk into a room, and the room is dynamic. And with your permission and all of that, you are interacting with the things going on in the room."

Vodafone's CEO Vittorio Colao agreed with Schmidt. He along with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg were on the panel.

A Disappearing Internet

Microsoft has begun to make the Internet disappear on mobile, and soon desktop. It doesn't mean search engines will vanish, but they will become less important in a world where information gets pushed rather than pulled to the user. In Windows 10, scheduled for release later this year, Microsoft's personal assistant Cortana will have a space in the toolbar on desktops running the Windows 10 operating system. Those running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 operating system will have the option to upgrade for free during the first year

Bing continues to become an increasingly intelligent fabric powering a variety of experiences across Microsoft, from Insights for Office and Kinect voice on Xbox, even Apple Siri, and Apple Spotlight, a system-wide desktop search feature for OS X and iOS operating systems. Bing also has a partnership with Amazon for Kindles and Fire. "It's a larger reflection on taking search out of the browser box, and  bringing it into new experiences that's not only shaped by what, but how people search," Ryan Gavin, GM of Search at Microsoft, told Search Marketing Daily. "Bing is the brains behind all of that."

If Cortana can't directly answer a question, the user ends up on a Bing search results page. Ads come along with that page. "The way we think about search in the future will fundamentally change; today, it's so 1995 …, you launch a browser," Gavin said. "Being able to talk to a computer in your kitchen and ask questions without typing a query in a search box will enable some very different search innovation."

Intent signals will become clearer. Advertising and content marketing will become more precise. Searching for zoo hours might really mean how someone can plan a fun day with their kids. It will let search technology gain a greater understanding of intent. Natural language and speech lets you do that."

How Cortana Works

Technology in Cortana responds to real-time events, pushing information to the user based on information stored on the phone, for example. The request might occur on smartphones or desktops, but the processing occurs on a server in the cloud. The user interaction even comes back down from the cloud server to the user interface on the device. This means Cortana can work with any device that connects to the cloud or servers connected through Internet accesses. Knowledge Graph, speech recognition, language and query understanding, and relevance are called a technology stack that makes up Cortana.

Microsoft recognizes the audio and processes it into text before passing the text into the Bing system. Natural language queries are processed a little different than keyword queries, explains Mike Calcagno, director of engineering, who is spearheading many of search and Cortana efforts. "We generate results using the standard pattern that we use to generate relevant results for Bing," he said. "The architectural patterns are similar on how Cortana understands and processes intent vs. how Bing understands queries and processes intent. The models are different and data sources are different."

Since Cortana doesn't live on or belong to a specific device, the technology could work on any Internet-connected gadget. "She's an entry point to a set of services, said Calcagno. "In the near future we make the Windows phone and PC work great together."


4 comments about "Google's Schmidt Tells Us The 'Internet Will Disappear,' Microsoft Bing Defines What That Means".
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  1. Jay Fredrickson from Fredrickson Services Inc., January 23, 2015 at 4:43 p.m.

    Sign me up for this world, please. When will this happen and be fully rolled out? Ten years? 20 years?

  2. Samuel Hobbs from Dion's, January 23, 2015 at 6:06 p.m.

    I would be more skeptical of this, but then I recall how in 2004 I watched an interview with Larry Ellison of Oracle where he prophesied that one day software on physical media would someday be completely obsolete and we would get all of our programs on demand through the internet in seconds. I laughed it off as implausible. Who is laughing now?

    So, yeah, sometimes these crazy "in the future" articles turn out to be true.

  3. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, January 26, 2015 at 10:28 a.m.

    The vision of information "puch" treats people like herded cattle. What say Moo?

  4. Bob Gordon from The Auto Channel, January 26, 2015 at 11:39 a.m.

    The content will still have to be created by someone and stored somewhere...the evolution of the phone from an operator getting your party (one ringy dingy); to todays digital marvels does not mean that the telephone disappeared only the method of usability.
    For over twenty years we have been preaching the end of search engines and direct access to discrete content verticals.. buh-bye search hello direct access to info.

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