VP of Marketing
How do you see search evolving in the coming years?
We’re in the middle of what I call the “API revolution.” [Companies are] building [API’s] so the Internet plumbing is more properly connected.
Siri, [an iPhone app that I wrote about in a recent Search Insider column,] starts with basic search queries but can go the last mile—that is, it can negotiate pricing and complete purchases. And API’s are key to that.
Apps are supplanting search engines and [destination] websites. Siri does search, gives you options and completes the actions.
Phase 1 was the link economy. It was one point of reference to another.
Phase 2 is the API economy. It tears down the last vestiges of walled gardens. You don’t have to come to my destination site; my destination site will come to you. Features, functionality, product, and services can all come to you. We’ve become accustomed to going where the action is. Now the action comes to us.
Search engines [have historically mapped] intent through queries and matched advertisers. Imagine if they could complete the actions for me.
[My company,] Yield Software, for instance, relies on API’s from Google, Yahoo, and Bing to let end-users manage their online marketing through a single interface.
How does the API revolution change the game for marketers?
Of course, you’ll continue building a destination site but why insist on making people come to you?
If you’re American Airlines, rather than paying big fees to travel agents, you can pay small fees to Siri.
There is increasing utility in apps. They will know your preferences, and desires, and patterns. They rely on APIs to make transactions. They are extensions to utility like not only finding and booking a flight, dinner reservations or movie tickets – all from a single interface – but notifying others of your itinerary. They’re truly like personal assistants.
Small and medium-sized businesses still haven’t figured out the link economy, much less the API economy. How we democratize [the API economy] so that any new business can instantly plug into it and make information available to Siri-like APIs is the next big calling. It needs to be as easy as buying ads on Google.
Could the role of Google be enabling the API economy through a free, easy-to-use platform for creating and plugging in APIs like it’s done for feeds with Feedburner, blogs with Blogger, analytics with Google Analytics, etc?
Sure, maybe they could create “API-burner”—that is, something like FeedBurner. Many Google services, like YouTube, still rely on the link economy, though. Maybe Doubleclick has a role in this. I’m not completely sure.
A company called Daylife is making it possible for publishers to “API-ize” their content streams via a simple service they’ve created. Perhaps Google could be at the forefront of creating new infrastructure for everyone who has the Analytics tracking code on their sites that would make it simple and easy for existing and new apps, like Siri, to instantly plug into, for instance, e-commerce sites and be able to both search inventory and complete purchases. They could be like those services that sit between credit card companies and retailers, making connections and transactions possible, and charging a penny any time a transaction it enabled is completed. At any rate, Google is in a unique position to significantly advance the state of the art.