A video interview with Google engineer and author, Ray Kurzweil, conducted by SingularityHub, has outlined some key goals that the search giant has for the future of its primary service.
SEO experts are always trying to second-guess what changes Google might instigate and there are various proposals about the shape that its algorithms might take in 2013, but it is also useful to look forwards even further and consider how search engines might behave in decades to come.
During the interview, Kurzweil spoke about Google’s natural language project and predicted that at some point down the line, all search queries will be answered independent of any actual interaction from the user.
In essence, this will require that the engine is able to predict what content you will be looking for at any one time and thus adapt and respond to your needs appropriately. This is something that Kurzweil’s employer is already dipping its toes in with Google Now, which pulls up relevant information based on a user’s location, the time of day and their prior preferences.
He said that eventually this project will no longer be independent from Google’s search engine, but will become fully integrated as part of a broader suite of conjoined features. This, at least, is the theory, although Kurzweil was keen to indicate that at the moment, he can only speak speculatively.
Of course for Google to achieve its pre-emptive search capabilities, it will be necessary for it to get an even closer look at the lives and habits of its users. It cannot read minds without getting plenty of background data on individuals, which means it will need to get its hooks into more areas of our day to day existences.
This is all in the interest of providing a better level of service, according to Kurzweil, although it will doubtlessly lead to Google offering ads tailored entirely to each customer, which is going to be a necessary feature that helps provide financial support for this project, just as it has done for many past initiatives.
It seems likely that mobile will drive Google’s progress in getting closer to its users, because the growth of Android and the ever-increasing mobile search market, means that people are more comfortable with channelling much more of their digital experiences through a portable device over which this particular search giant has control.
It will be interesting to see what role SEO will have to play in this future which will presumably be devoid of SERPs as we currently understand them.
At the back end there will still have to be algorithms doing the work to rank pages and other web properties, in order to present them to users in a coherent and relevant manner. This will presumably mean that optimisation and search exploitation, remain in focus.
Kurzweil has only been working for Google over the past few months, but already his influence on the direction of search seems to be developing.