What do you predict will be the big changes to search in the next few years?

What do you predict will be the big changes to search in the next few years? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

CUTTS: Here’s a question from Sean Weigold Ferguson in Orlando, Florida. Sean asks, “What do you predict will be the big changes to ‘search’ as we know it today over the next three years? What are some of today’s trends that you believe will shape the future of Google Search?” Wow, good question because we end up talking about that stuff a lot. So, there’s a lot of ways that I think search will change. So, for one, we are always looking for new types of data to search. Before Gmail came out, people didn’t really realize that e-mail was incredibly useful to search, especially the more e-mail that you have. We’ve had patent search, we’ve had book search, all of these are different types of data. You know, even being able to search over your calendars can be helpful. So, I would expect that we’ll continue to look for useful types of data to search. We’ll search over harder problems. So we’ll try to understand what’s really going on with the words and documents, what’s really going on with the words and queries. A lot of people think that–that if you type in A-B-C, all that Google does is crawl the web and return pages that match A, B, and C. And that’s not it. We do a lot of sophisticated stuff. Think about synonyms, morphology, all sorts of ways that we can kind of find out, “Oh, this is really related to them conceptually.” So, whether you want to call it semantics stuff, whether you want to call it statistical processing, we do a lot of stuff to try return relevant documents. We’ll continue to try to do that. We’ll continue to try tackle harder and harder problems, trying to extract good data from the web. So, Google squared, you know, this lab that sort of says, okay, you can type in, you know, a pretty geeky query, right, like, who were the actors in, you know, a particular type of Star Trek movie and get a lot of the different actors back and stuff like that. We’ll keep trying to find out what are the information that people want. I think another change will be people will be more comfortable storing their data in the cloud. So, Gmail is a perfect example where people used to have their e-mail on their hard drives, and now they feel more comfortable having it up with another company taking care of it. Amazon offers great cloud services, right? So, expect to have more and more data migrating from your local hard drive up to the cloud, which in many cases can make it a little easier and better to search and can give you more relevant search results. So, I think there’s going to be a lot of changes, certainly, everything from real time to different types of data, to the ability to type in more complex searches. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Search is nowhere near done, and every time we make search better, people ask us harder and harder questions. So the nice thing is knowing that we’ll pretty much always have more to do to make search better. Oh, and just by the way, mobile will be a big trend as well. And of you think about it, desktop computers might be–maybe a billion computers, mobile and those sorts of computers, you know, they’re really little computers in your hand, these cell phones, that’s like three or four billion. So, you know, the scale is pretty impressive, so that’s why if you can search easily from a mobile phone and it doesn’t have to be via a web browser, it might be via SMS, that can be another big way that a lot more people around the world can do search and can get useful information. So you’re going to see all kinds of new changes, but I think mobile is going to be a big part of it as well.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


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