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Search Engines: From Your Mind to the Internet and Back

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on September 23rd, 2010 by Team Pi

Focus, if you will, on these numbers:-

5,00,00,00,000 (50 BILLION)….is the number of web pages in the world

50,000…. Searches are done every second

62%….is the increase in the quantity of data on the internet since 2009

So, what are we trying to say here? It’s simple. Every day, more and more people are using the humble search engine to wade through the galaxy of information that is the internet and trying to drag out relevant information. To keep up with the increasing mounds of information, search itself is changing in ways that we couldn’t imagine before. The much-publicized Google Instant is just the beginning. Search engines are on track to becoming ‘mind readers’ anticipating your queries and delivering what you want – all in the blink of an eye. As Microsoft’s SVP of Online Services Division Satya Nadella says –

The goal is to keep the engine refreshed faster than people look for information and do a better job of understanding what is asked. We want to build a better mind reader”

More Results

So what exactly is going to change? Well obviously an area the bigger search engines are focusing on is more results, specifically more relevant results. 15 years ago, search engines updated their content about once every three months. Now it’s measured in seconds. Technology like Google’s Caffeine scans and updates search results constantly. So a post can appear just a few seconds after it has been posted online.

Better Results

However, lot’s of results does no good unless they are relevant. In fact, they do more harm because the person searching has to trawl through mounds of unnecessary information. So, relevant results are what matter, and companies like Microsoft and Google are spending a lot of money and time to give people exactly what they want. It’s mind reading of a digital kind. To do that, search engines are delving into your search and browsing history to get an idea of your habits, and then delivering results accordingly. Theoretically, if you visit a lot of healthy eating websites, a search for ‘apple’ will throw up information about the fruit. However, if your history indicates you are a bit of a geek, the same search will give you links related to the maker of the iPad and the iPhone.

Of course, the next big challenge is to bring the same functionality and ease of use to mobile search. In India itself, there are 650 million mobile phones compared to only 50 million people with access to a computer. And many, if not most mobile phones come with the ability to surf online. Coupled with increasing mobile internet speeds, it is only natural that the mobile will become the preferred internet surfing device. Voice search is an option many companies are considering as a way of overcoming the problem of small keyboards or keypads. For search, it’s an exciting new frontier, with innovations around every corner.

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