This an interesting presentation by Amit Singhal, Google’s VP of Engineering, and others on his engineering team, regarding Google’s vision for the future of search. Some useful statistics are offered and important points made about the direction Google is heading.
A few statistics:
- Google has currently found over 30 trillion unique URLs on the web, versus 1 trillion in 2008.
- They crawl over 20 billion web pages on a typical day.
- They provide over 100 billion searches each month.
Google envisions the future search engine as a perfect, loyal assistant who is always there when needed. As the first part of the challenge to get there, all of the knowledge of humanity needs to be gathered. The web provides that and is currently the largest repository of human information.
The second part is understanding what this information means and how to create a universal search method for accessing the information. Part of the universal search may include speech recognition searches, which Google is already experimenting with. It appears likely that speech recognition may initially be used with search applications on mobile phones.
Why is this important?
The idea is to build web sites that are synergistic with where Google is going with search. To quote Wayne Gretzky, who some hockey fans refer to as the greatest hockey player ever, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” We do need to understand where Google is going if we are to anticipate the new SEO challenges Google will present in the future.
After watching the video, it is likely that the interaction with search will change to be more driven by voice recognition, images and videos. At this point, the thoughts presented are still theoretical, but do appear to be feasible. The real challenge is in understanding how these technologies can be used to a site owner’s advantage when that time comes.
The technological challenges are huge, especially when speech recognition is involved. Speech recognition has come a long way in the past five years, but still has a long way to go in order to make it feasible for use with different users with different voice pattern characteristics.
Near the beginning of the presentation, Amit likens the search of the future to the computer in the original Star Trek television series, where Captain Kirk could ask a question and receive a highly relevant vocal response. Given where we are today, that could be ten or more years away, but it will be interesting if it gets there.
Beam me up, Scotty!