What Would We Do Instead Of Google?
The days of Googling are nearly over. So what will we be doing instead?
I recently had the pleasure of attending the Bing Search Summit at Microsoft HQ London. Though the Bing Yahoo network lags behind Google 7 to 3 of total internet search queries the atmosphere was strangely upbeat and forward looking.
“We’re in an unusual position.” Admitted Aaron McGrath, Microsoft’s European SMB Advertising Lead. “But we love being the challenger.”
And that’s a good job, because they are a long, long way behind their main opponent and it’s going to take something pretty amazing for them to claw back some of that search market share.
So what are Bing doing to catch up?
“We’re having to think outside the search-box.” Quipped James Murray, Search Advertising Lead at Microsoft in reference to Bing’s new predictive approach to search. And this new approach is almost certain to be the future of search and do you know, Microsoft may just have the edge on Google with it at the moment.
But what is predictive search? Typically, as users of the internet, we enter a few words into the search box and then some results are spat out. If we are lucky, as we type, the search engine anticipates what we are looking for and suggests a few words for us – well it’s not that. This is more about how do we search for something if we don’t know that we need it? What if it’s an unknown unknown? “there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know.” – the eloquent Mr Rumsfeld.
The predictive search approach anticipates your needs, pulling in data from different sources to give you a truly personalised and meaningful result as well as making suggestions for results before you’ve even realised you needed them. One example used by Microsoft at the summit was an email; a simple email from one colleague to another asking if they like to come see a band. Displayed next to the email was the anticipated info that they may need to help make that decision. Who the band are and the genre of music they play. The venue location & what it is like. Transport info to help get to and from the gig. Well you get the idea, and all this without a search query in sight.
So if you think about it for a moment, if this works, it’s going to be amazing. It will be a seamless stream of information across devices, where you need it, when you need it - helping you make decisions quickly with no internet search hiatus. This is the future of search, and whoever gets it right, Bing, Google or a newcomer we don’t yet know, well they will be the new champs. In the future, regardless of the winner, we’ll look back fondly and tell our grand-children about the time we used to have to Google it if we needed an answer. And they’ll feel sorry for us!