Author Topic: Google Blog on the future of search  (Read 539 times)


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Google Blog on the future of search
« on: September 26, 2018, 08:21:44 PM »
The Google blog issued a few posts on Sept 24 and a few since with major and minor observations on the future of search, several of which have come up here already (esp in the context of the "Done with Chrome" thread and "queryless" searching).

Overarching conceptual post

This next chapter is driven by three fundamental shifts in how we think about Search:

The shift from answers to journeys: To help you resume tasks where you left off and learn new interests and hobbies, we’re bringing new features to Search that help you with ongoing information needs.

The shift from queries to providing a queryless way to get to information: We can surface relevant information related to your interests, even when you don’t have a specific query in mind.

And the shift from text to a more visual way of finding information: We’re bringing more visual content to Search and completely redesigning Google Images to help you find information more easily.

Then all the posts about what that actually means. And in the main post, the key observation

But we’ve now reached the point where neural networks can help us take a major leap forward from understanding words to understanding concepts. Neural embeddings, an approach developed in the field of neural networks, allow us to transform words to fuzzier representations of the underlying concepts, and then match the concepts in the query with the concepts in the document.

Then there are the parts of this vision, almost all of which involve Google knowing much, much more about your than they do already.

Queryless Google... AKA Discover

For example, when you’re planning your next trip, Discover might show an article with the best places to eat or sights to see. Suddenly, a travel article published three months ago is timely for you. This can also be useful as you’re taking up a new hobby or going deeper on a long-time interest. Using the Topic Layer in the Knowledge Graph, Discover can predict your level of expertise on a topic and help you further develop those interests.

I'll skip the Gorg comments, since we all know that part. I would say on the positive side, that one of the problems with search is the concept of "best result" is dependent on the expertise level of the searcher. So in the long term, we've always known (and frequently discussed) that knowing the level of expertise is a precondition to returning useful results. In the long run, this will make search more useful to people and make anonymity much, much harder.

This is, I think, the underlying motivation behind the forced sign-in issue that has everyone pissed off lately (or at least all those cranky people who care about privacy and the power of mega corporations).

Journeys rather than searches

today we’re sharing new features that help you resume tasks where you left off, keep track of ideas and content that you found useful, and get relevant suggestions of things to explore next

'nuff said.

More visual results

Bad news for all the people chiming in on the "short videos instead of writing things out" thread:

Using computer vision, we’re now able to deeply understand the content of a video and help you quickly find the most useful information in a new experience called featured videos.

If not for worries about a world in which Google knows more about me than my wife, I would be thrilled by this. It's starting to feel like real science fiction Star Trek sh##. And very scary.

It also has implications for image SEO and, by implication, image SEO is more important for SEO at large
Over the last year, we’ve overhauled the Google Images algorithm to rank results that have both great images and great content on the page. For starters, the authority of a web page is now a more important signal in the ranking....
Also, it wasn’t long ago that if you visited an image’s web page, it might be hard to find the specific image you were looking for when you got there. We now prioritize sites where the image is central to the page, and higher up on the page...
Starting this week, we’ll also show more context around images, including captions that show you the title of the webpage where each image is published.
- ibid.

Image SEO is getting serious now.

Image-based search

We've long had "find similar" image-based search, but Google Lens is pushing way beyond this with "identify what this is".
In the coming weeks, we’ll bring Lens to Google Images to help you explore and learn more about visual content you find during your searches.... Lens’ AI technology analyzes images and detects objects of interest within them. If you select one of these objects, Lens will show you relevant images, many of which link to product pages so you can continue your search or buy the item you’re interested in

Minor things like

 - getting you to use Google Maps for planning - imagine the data cache that provides as I collaborate with friends on choosing a restaurant.