Where Will Search be in 10 Years?

Google is celebrating its 10th anniversay this month. This signifigant milestone harks the question – Where will search be in another 10 years?

So much has already been achieved, the world has radically changed through the power of the internet – global connectivity, the decentralization of information. We have witnessed the dawn of the communications revolution. So what is in store for us in the future?

Over recent years we have seen the emergence of Google as the global heavyweight champion of search. The name Google has become synonomous with the word ‘internet’ and has certainly come along way from its early incarnation as a small time ‘garage’ search company.

To acknowledge Google’s 10 year milestone, Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Products and User Experience at Google, has written an interesting post on the future of search. Something we will undoubtably be seeing more of is accessability, mobility and simplicity.

Multi Media Search

We already have internet ready mobile phones, blackberry’s etc, but we will be seeing more internet ready mobile devices with a voice or picture interface capability. Instead of entering keyword based search queries, we could enter a picture, photograph, snippet of a song or spoken phrase.

Google is already well on the way to achieving these things with the release of universal search in May last year. The first stage of universal search has focussed on video, news, maps/local and books. Future applications will make it even easier to obtain relevant information from Google’s varied content areas, including changes in the way results are displayed and more interactive refinements.

Personalized Search

What if search engines understood individual user needs better? Could deliver results based on your precise location? Took into account results of your previous searches? Knew what infomation you already have? Occupation? Who your friends are? Main areas of interest? Could translate any result found into your language of choice? Google is already investing in technologies of this kind and some are available in an early format, check out their cross-language information retrieval tool, for example.

Assuming user data privacy issues are constantly re-dressed in light of personalized search applications, the future of search will become even more personal, accessable and relevant. As Marissa says the ideal search engine of the future could,

“Tailor answers to you based on your preferences, your existing knowledge, and the best available information; it could ask for clarification and present the answers in whatever media or setting worked best.”

Given the developments in search we have seen over the last 10 years – one thing is for sure, the future of search is looking bright indeed!

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