Can we guess the future of search
Chances are you might have used one of the voice assistants with smartphones for search and you may have noticed it’s convenient. You might be thinking, AI-powered voice assistants are going to take over the search, that’s what it looks like. Let’s drill down further.
A search is primarily two things, an input and an output. A question and the possible answers. Input is fine. what happens if we change the medium of the output?
It’s not the input that changes anything, it is the output that disrupts the world.
The future of search is a voice or visual input. The text input will remain but however, it may die down slowly. We start searching for queries with voice or visual as an input for a search engine, the output initially may still be the web, your mobile screen, a wall in your home or office or maybe your TV or your computer or it could be a voice as well.
It doesn’t matter what the web output looks like, the point is what is that you are supposed to do with the output? Will you read and go ahead with the web text/image output as you do now or again it will be back with voice input as your preferred input for choices. That changes everything.
If your subsequent input/output is voice then the game changes and AI takes over and companies will show you/tell you what they want to show or tell. The options on the voice output are going to go limited to 1 or 2 or maybe 5 max.
For example, if Alexa is your search engine, you will ask hey Alexa what’s the best bakery nearby. You may choose to go with may be the first option or the third to order a cake. It may happen it may close down the next 20 bakeries in town because they will never appear on the search.
The point I am making is will your SEO work when voice takes over. Will you rely more on the search that your voice assistant gives or you will change the device? You will finally have options as a search engine and Google may no longer be your only choice.
The question we should be asking is not what’s the future of search, the question is what changes when search changes?
The answer maybe is everything. We know how a searchable web world works. What happens if it is no longer the same. There are few answers which I can think of
- The search will turn proactive over a period of time. May let you know about directions before you lose your way, apply for a job, keep a check on your BP and remind you of medicine or check up.
- Google may no longer be the king. You will have Samsung, Apple, Amazon and others as well.
- The search will better and will be with exact or very few results. It will be heavily localised, will be like a conversation & extremely personalised.
- User ratings will be the new SEO. The better your ratings, the better your business will be.
- Advertising over search will be dead, it will be e-commerce which will drive business. ( The reason Amazon got whole foods for $13 billion.)
- Changes the world of finance including remittances, ticketing, banking, payments, loans etc. by making it much easier to transact, save or send money.
There are a lot of industries which might change and grow like Media & Entertainment, E-commerce, Education, Healthcare, local business, hospitality etc. We will have to think and be ready for what’s coming in near future. Though, I am not sure but looks like it will be better for everyone.
The author is a business consultant and available at email@example.com