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What Will Search Look Like 5 Years From Now?

October 16, 2010 by Aaron Goldman

That’s what MediaPost’s Laurie Sullivan asked me in prepping her column, “Search Reaches Turning Point With Social Integration.”

This was my response.

In 5 years, search will be an incredibly personal experience.

When we want information, entertainment, or commerce, we’ll use apps that know our preferences and return not just the results we want but the actions we want to take.

To deliver on this promise, the search engines of the future will tap APIs from virtually every content publisher, brand manufacturer, and retailer to deliver immediately actionable opportunities.

And, to make the experience more relevant, “likes” will be weighted more heavily than “links” in the search engine algorithms. And location will be automatically factored in.

This thread is covered extensively in Chapter 21: Future-Proofing and Siri is profiled as the “search-and-act” engine or “app-sisstant” of the future.

As for Google’s role in this brave new world… as discussed in the book, the Big G can either become a search-and-act engine itself and/or the underlying platform upon which these engines are built. Think API-burner.

It’s interesting to see Bing taking steps towards this new expression of relevancy though its recent deal with Facebook to incorporate “likes” into its search algorithm. I explored the potential for a search engine that pivoted on the social graph in a blog post from 2008 titled, “The Perfect Search Engine.”

And, more recently, I looked at “Link vs. Like and the Future of Web Ranking.”

It’s hard to say whether 5 years is the right window for all this heady stuff to come to fruition but if we look at how far search has come in the past 5, I wouldn’t bet against it/us.


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