Where Are Search Engines Taking Us?

To search is to Google, to Google is to search. It’s only taken 14 years for Google to become a verb as well as a brand.

Google Yahoo!Today’s search engine market has two  players: Google, and all the rest. The giant’s market share exceeds 90 percent worldwide, according to StatCounter. That leaves competitors like Microsoft’s Bing, Yahoo!, Yandex, Baidu and others struggling for a slice of the remaining 10 percent. Meanwhile Google, unencumbered by the need for market share, Google focuses on moving forward.

Onward March

Having followed the majority of tech news over the past four years, I have read a lot about the future of technology, including the future of search engines. In the past two years, website owners have seen Google make numerous changes to fight spam, link farms and low-quality links—good for some sites, bad for others. (Even Chrome got demoted when it broke Google’s rules.) If you follow Google’s Inside Search blog, you know what I’m talking about.

Google has started a process that may last forever: Constantly updating its search engine quality so that when users look for something, it returns the best result. Right now, the two algorithms that Google updates frequently are Panda and Penguin.

Near Future

Over time, of course, Search engines will become smarter and smarter. If you’ve used Apple or Android devices recently, you’re aware of services like Siri and Google Now. They’re just a hint of what we should see in the future.

This process has already started. Companies like Google, Apple and Facebook use cookies to track users’ online activities and figure out what they want. When you search for something online, for days afterward you’ll see sponsored results of what you’d been hunting for, “personalized” to your geographic location. (If you want to get rid of these tracking methods, you have options.)

Beyond

For my part, I’m expecting big things over the next 10 to 15 years, and not only from Google.

Image (1) brain.jpg for post 844Google says that the main goal of search is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.” With search engines now capable of responding to voice commands, we should eventually be able to interact with one just by just using our brains, either by placing a device on one’s head or having a smaller nano device inserted directly into the brain. In either case, that will allow search engines to wirelessly gather information from our minds and deliver the best results. I know this sounds very sci-fi right now, but think of where the Web was in in 1995. Back then, it was hard for most to imagine the search capabilities we have today.

There’s a big future for search engines, and they will surely be a part of technology’s next big thing. Having a tool that helps you whenever you want, at no cost, is the kind of thing that never loses value. However, there’s a drawback: Ppeople are already forgetting that valuable information is sometimes found inside books, magazines and other paper-based devices. We rely on search engines to find everything for us, though the drawbacks to that can sometimes be found in something more than lousy results.

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