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Where do you see Google in 5 years?

Where do you see Google in 5 years? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

CUTTS: Today, we have a really fun question from Feb Sontain in London. Feb asks, “Where do you see Google in 5 years? If there was one thing you would or could dispense, destroy, enhance, create, change on the internet, what would it be and why?” Ah, such a good question. Okay, Feb, where do you see Google in 5 years? Well, let’s talk a little bit about the philosophy of Google. I think of Google as an advocate for our users. So, I hope that in 5 years, people, including me, can still see Google as an advocate for our users. That we’re making the right long-term decisions that make users happy so that we get their loyalty, so that they come back to Google. I think that I would love to see Google continue to be the open choice. There are some parts of our search system that we can’t open-source like the Web spam part of it and a few other small pieces like that. But I would love to get to be as open as we could be. Google tends to let users leave with their data. So, if you can take your Gmail or your calendar, or your docs, or your readers’ subscriptions, and leave anytime you want, then, people have to compete on a level of playing ground. They have to compete on a basis of merit not on lock-in. So, I hope that Google continues to embrace that, that we keep that theme as we look forward 5 years. But maybe, we’re talking about gadgets. In 5 years, I really would like to see lasers projecting directly on my retina. It kind of annoys me that you have to have these displays which suck up your battery and if we could just get the brain implant, so that we wouldn’t have to type all the time, and then the retina scanning laser, then, the batteries would last a long time. So, you know, a 5-year goal, that should be doable, right? The other thing is, I think, a lot more of our data will be in the Cloud. So, this will be closer to your personal computer, you know. If you could have this, along with your retina scanning laser then you could just go about your whole day and have access to everything you need instead of lugging a laptop around. I think, where else I see Google in 5 years is that we’ll still have to pay a lot of attention to security. And that brings me to the second part of the question, which is, “If there was one thing you could or would dispense, destroy, enhance, create, change on the Internet, what would it be and why?” And my answer is that if I could, I would get rid of all the crackers who put malicious malware on people’s website results. Some people call them hackers, I think, it’s more correct to call them crackers. But either way, they’re jerks. The way the things are going is this, as far as I can tell, it used to be that people would take advantage of individual personal computering machines, so, you know, Windows XP, Windows 95, Windows 98, maybe an Apple Computer or a Linux Computer. I think, the trend is that as Windows 7 and Vista and more secure operating systems roll out, individual client computers on the internet will be more, well-protected. So what happens? I think Web servers on the Web are going to be exploited a lot more. The hackers are going to stop putting viruses and malware on individual people’s machines and they’re going to start attacking Web servers across the entire World Wide Web. We’ve already seen this happen with large scale attacks on, for example, WordPress running on Network Solutions or GoDaddy. And even if you’re a very, very good Web host, even the tiniest little bit of a chink in your armor means somebody can slip through and possibly infect a large number of your customers. The fact is not that many people pay attention to the security of their Web server right now. And that can create an entire vector for attacks against people including serving malware to people that visit your website, or mounting attacks directly from an infected Web server. So for whatever reason, I think, the trend is going to be a little bit more towards the evil SEO black hat hacker mentality where people just try to hack their way up to the top of the search results. And along the way, infect people with malware and keyloggers and all that sort of stuff. I think they’ll get better on client PCs, I think they’ll get worst on Web servers until people start to take Web security seriously on the Web. And that’s going to take a few years. So if I could do anything and change anything about the internet, I’d fast-forward that process to where we had a really secure infrastructure for the Web and people found it a lot harder to hack into other people’s websites.

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


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