Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Ads by Google

From its meager beginnings as a student search engine Become Better At Finding Stuff With Search Engines: Boolean Search Logic Explained Become Better At Finding Stuff With Search Engines: Boolean Search Logic Explained It only takes Google's thousands of servers half a second to query approximately 50 billion indexed pages, it takes you significantly longer to scan only the first page of search results. On top of that,... Read More project called BackRub at Stanford University, to the powerhouse search engine that is both a noun and a verb in one, Google’s path has been one of growth and constant adaptation with the times.

Examining the path of that history provides some interesting insights into what the world’s most popular search engine will probably look like in 10 years.

Why 10 years? Because 10 years encompasses nearly the entire lifetime of Google, from the moment of its first major algorithm update in 2003 called “Boston”. In 10 years, the search engine will probably look nothing like it does today, but it will serve a multitude of needs in everyday life well beyond those that exist on the family computer.

The History of Google Search

In 1995, when Larry Page and Sergey Brin first met and started collaborating on the search engine that would eventually become Google — then called BackRub — it’s doubtful they could have ever imagined the size and power of the company that would result from those efforts.

google-beta

By 1999, the small company outgrew its garage-beginnings, and established its first real office in Palo Alto with eight employees. 2002 is when things got really interesting, with the Google Search Appliance, a major overhaul of AdWords, Google Labs, Google News and the first set of Google APIs for developers.

Ads by Google

It isn’t surprising that the following year brought Google’s first algorithm update meant to thwart SEO folks who were — up to this point — quite successful at landing pages at the top of Google results through keyword stuffing and building huge backlink farming campaigns.

“Boston” curbed the backlink game a little bit, and so started the constant tug of war between those developing the Google algorithm for better results, and efforts of webmasters to land their websites and web pages as high in Google search results as possible.

google-beta2

The evolution of that algorithm — aside from attempting to thwart SEO gaming efforts — actually reveals a great deal about the future vision of Google Search planners, and where they have been steering the company up until this point. Here’s the breakdown of those major updates that offered that insight.

  • Brandy (2004) – Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), which is using a mathematical technique to identify relationships within concepts inside of a collection of text.
  • Personalized Search (2005) – This update used the user’s search history to affect search results.
  • Google Local (2005) – Local business data gets integrated into Google maps Get A Visual Taste Of History With Google Maps & Google Earth Get A Visual Taste Of History With Google Maps & Google Earth Google Maps and Google Earth have always been known for helping mobility-impaired wunderlusters virtually adventure all over the globe. However, despite any of your current obstacles, it's always possible – whether it be after time... Read More .
  • Universal Search (2007) – News, video and local results are integrated with regular search results.
  • Real-Time Search (2009) – Social content like Twitter get integrated into a real-time feed.
  • Caffeine (2010) – Improves indexing of sites, improving the freshness of search results.
  • User Search (2012) – Google+ and authorship integrated into search results.
  • Venice (2012) – Better local results for broad queries.
  • Knowledge Graph (2012) – Information and image relevant to your search term show up next to regular results.

These were all of the updates that were not meant to thwart black-hat SEO efforts, but were instead intended to evolve the algorithm Google Algorithm Fail: 3 Examples Of Really Bad Google Results Google Algorithm Fail: 3 Examples Of Really Bad Google Results At this point, there have been over 25 Panda updates, with the latest reportedly occurring on July 18th. Some great websites we all know and love have suffered traffic loss, but at the same time,... Read More to produce a new generation of information in a brand new way, whether that involved integrating information about the user doing the searching, or trying to use something like the Knowledge Graph to predict what the user really intends to look for.

Predictive Search Results

The science of the search algorithm has applications well outside of the Internet search page itself. When you combine the multitude of mobile devices and the Internet of Things movement, the use of the search algorithm to feed everything with the right data becomes even more critical. Google may be best placed to do it, especially considering it has already established one of the most popular mobile platforms on the planet — Android.

google-search3

Past efforts to incorporate user information and behavior into search results points to a future where artificial intelligence would be used to better predict what the user wants to know even before they ask it. Google Now Google Now Knows Where You Parked, Gets Offline Cards, And More Google Now Knows Where You Parked, Gets Offline Cards, And More The Android Google Search app has been updated, and tucked inside it are some pretty awesome tweaks to Google Now that add quite a bit of usefulness to Google's personal assistant. Read More is a good example of an early generation of this, and Google Glass is a clear example of an alternative delivery system for those search results. There is a growing movement toward augmented reality, and Google appears poised to take advantage of it.

In an interview with the BBC, Amit Singhal, Google’s head of search, explained it this way:

“To a computer, understanding means when you ask it something, it can tell you a lot more about that thing. For example it will be able to tell you for Taj Mahal that it’s a monument, where it is, what you should know about it if you are interested in it, and not just a bunch of links.”

In other words, in the near future, by knowing where you are located, your past web searches, purchases and travels, Google will be able to evaluate what you probably want to know and provide you with the information even before you open your mouth to ask. That day might be displayed on the HUD display of a pair of sunglasses, a wristwatch, or maybe even special electronic contact lenses.

Personalized Information

Past efforts on the part of Google to constantly improve local search results imply that the future vision of the search team is to give you highly personalized data based on your location and your current activity.

gps-location

This kind of update, with local business results, began as early as 2005, and continued to evolve in the search algorithm up through today.  In 10 years, this personalization of delivered information will become even more relevant in our daily life. The concept of “autocomplete” as you type in search results takes on a whole new meaning when Google could potentially “autocomplete” your intended search for data without the need to even type in a single letter. This vision was explained by Amit Singhal in the same BBC interview:

“Now you can imagine there are some contextual cues where you don’t even have type the first letter to fill out what most people in similar contexts do.”

In other words, if most people like you in a similar situation almost always search for a particular piece of data, then Google can predict that you’ll probably search for the same. Imagine riding down the Interstate wearing a pair of Google Glasses, and as you and your family start getting hungry, Google automatically displays the location of the top 4 take-out restaurants in the area. Such predictions are possible when Google is collecting statistical data on millions of queries from millions of locations across the globe.

So for example, if someone is standing in front of Buckingham Palace and most people who stand there query “Trafalgar Square”, then potentially that would be a suggestion that could happen without even going to the box.”

Of course, while it’s a tremendous convenience to receive exactly the data that you need exactly when you need it, it’s also a little disconcerting to know that Google could potentially have so much information about the behaviors of people in the near future — far more than it already has today. In the wrong hands, that kind of information could be dangerous…but that may be the price required for such progress.

Google Search in the Future

That’s not all the future holds for Google Search. Result data can be used in a multitude of ways, in the many new devices entering into the market.

The bottom line is that search results will no longer remain isolated to a text field on your computer or mobile screen. In the next 10 years, data from the Internet will feed the many devices and services that help you throughout your daily life.

Are you looking forward to what the future of search will bring, or are you hoping for a new company to take over and do something entirely different? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Image Credits: man with digital glasses Via Shutterstock, George Dolgikh / Shutterstock.com, Hasloo Group Production Studio / Shutterstock, Lithiumphoto / Shutterstock

  1. Saikat B
    August 23, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    The very near future will show us some amazing possibilities through Knowledge Graph alone. It has already changed the way we look at different knowledge entities. The answers from search are not always clear as we want them to be, but Google will get there eventually. If anyone's interested, a good book is -- The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture.

    Worth a read.

  2. Rob M
    August 22, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Looking forward to more intuitive searches, namely similar music searches. I've yet to be impressed with Pandora or LastFm and their ability to figure out "similar sounding" music.

  3. Googler One
    August 22, 2014 at 6:00 am

    Use Encrypted Google Search via Omnibar in Chrome Browser :

    You can modify your Omnibar in Chrome to always search using https://encrypted.google.com, so that your searching can't be easily filtered

    Open chrome://settings/searchEngines#search
    Add a new search engine --> "Encrypted Google Search"
    Keyword --> "encrypted.google.com"
    URL --> "https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=%s"
    Click Done
    Hover over the "Encrypted Google Search" entry and click Make Default in the URL column

  4. Googler
    August 22, 2014 at 5:53 am

    Use Encrypted Google via Omnibar in Chrome Browser

    You can modify your Omnibar in Chrome to always search using

    https://encrypted.google.com, so that your searching can't be easily filtered

    Open chrome://settings/searchEngines#search
    Add a new search engine --> "Encrypted Google"
    Keyword --> "encrypted.google.com"
    URL --> "https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=%s"
    Click Done
    Hover over the "Encrypted Google" entry and click Make Default in the URL column

  5. dragonmouth
    August 21, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Sorry, Ryan, but are wrong. :-)
    You have not gone far enough. You have not taken into consideration the inventions that will happen in the next 10 years. Maybe in the next 10 years we will acquire some alien technology? You are extrapolating from today's knowledge. It is quite possible that you have postulated an "advanced future spacecraft using tape drives and analog dials"

    • Ryan D
      August 22, 2014 at 2:02 am

      This is true - maybe I'm not forward-thinking enough after all. :-)

    • Dragonmouth69
      August 25, 2014 at 8:31 pm

      dragon dragon dragon mouth. how do you do?
      I just wanna say couple of things to you...
      1st: great job thinking ahead of whats going to be in the future, but try not to sound like you actually know the future.
      2nd: what the hell is spacecraft using tape drives and analog dials? just no...
      3rd: great word choice "alien technology"

    • Dragonmouth sucks
      August 25, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      ^^^
      hahahahaha lol. so true.
      hailarious about the "Alien Technology". hahahahahahahahahaha. like this is year 2014. who says alien technology haha

  6. Riley
    August 21, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    This reads too much like a planted public relations piece…

    • Ryan D
      August 21, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      Ha! Thanks Riley, but it's not. Just insights offered from a guy who has spent the better part of a decade studying everything there is to know about Google Search.

    • Ryan Dic
      August 25, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      I agree with riley

    • Ryan Dube
      August 25, 2014 at 9:14 pm

      Well in that case, could you tell Google to pay me for it? If I'm going to get falsely accused if something, I might as well get paid.

  7. Peter F
    August 21, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    I'm already impressed with Google Now with how it can grab interesting articles and information I need/want with just a flick of the screen.

    10 years from now ... even 5 years from now I'm sure there will be great innovations in search terms and how we interact with our computers, be it phone, tablet, laptops and desktops. Bring on the future!

    • Giorgos
      August 30, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Here are a few things I'd like to see from Google today:

      - Accept failure. If I'm searching for relatively unpopular terms as opposed to similar and much more popular ones (one example being DHCPv6 vs DHCP) and there are no results, be bold enough to admit that. Do not go ahead ignoring my query and showing me all kinds of irrelevant results because you think you know better. DO NOT feel free to ignore my double quotes, I used them for a reason.

      - No auto-generated crap. Detect, among others, those pages that claim to offer help with computer problems, but are really nothing more than a generic template text combined with a certain term to make them appear relevant. I'm referring to those "Get help with BlaBla problem. BlaBla problem is caused by corrupt files etc. Download BlaBla problem repair tool..." pages that are only there to lure people into downloading trial software. Either hide them by default or rank them a low as possible.

      - No auto-translated crap. Until machine translation comes even close to human translation, give me an option to hide those sites that tack an online translator onto their pages and then pretend they're multilingual. I am not interested in seeing the resulting linguistic trainwrecks.

    • George
      September 4, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      Yeah that is really impressive. Just think in 5 to 10 years you won't even have a brain that works you'll just be fed stuff some algorithm determines you like.

      Somehow I don't think being fed ideas that some algorithm decides is best for me, is really best for me. You might as well sit in front of the TV.

      Thanks but no thanks.

    • Peter F
      September 4, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      I'm very sorry that the fact I find a small part of what Google offers useful. That is what this article is about and the last paragraph asks for readers thoughts. I really don't think there is any need for you have a go and make a lame back handed comment about me "not having a brain".

      We obviously like different things and find different things more/less useful.

      I am sorry I am not exactly like you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *