In a recent interview with TechRadar. Google’s Vice President of Search Products & User Experience, Marissa Mayer hints at the future of search. Mayer continues what seems to be a repetitive message in the search industry, “We think it’s really important to move beyond just keywords and allow people to ask questions…” This statement comes after we have seen other Googlers say very similar things.
“Beyond just keywords” means increased deployment of universal search, personalization, and social integration.
In a blog post Mayer wrote back in September, she highlights the significant growth of universal search; “We’ve barely scratched the surface with universal search.” Now, she elaborates more with, “We’re also looking at how to weave new media into it and how we can bring books, videos and news right into the search experience.”
“What can we understand about the user and how can we tailor the results to them?” Mayer asks. This seems to be the driving question behind the effort to further develop personalized search. Mayer writes in her post, “One answer is clear: search engines of the future will be better in part because they will understand more about you, the individual user.” Geo-targeting is another aspect of personalization that we have already known existed. When Mayer suggested, “maybe the search engine of the future will know where you’re located.” We have already seen examples of this, but perhaps this signals an increased presence in the future.
For me the most interesting part of this interview comes when Mayer says,
We really need to harness people’s friends better to understand which news to direct them to, which local events to direct them to… these are all things that we think are intriguing.
This comes shortly after Google releases their Friend Connect. With this service webmasters can add social elements to their site by including a social widget that tracks visitors based on user’s Google ID. Users can also select others as their “friends.” What does this mean for search? If Google can successfully track a user’s friends online, they can get a better understanding of what types of information the user is interested in, thus more data for search personalization.
Will Mayer stay at Google?
At the end of the interview it appears that Mayer tries to quell recent assertions that she might leave Google. “I really love my job because I get to work on new problems and have new challenges each day. I’m currently working on our Geo products, Google Book Search and Google Health. They’re all things I’m excited to be part of.”
So it looks like despite all of the changes happening in the world of search one that we shouldn’t expect is the departure of Marissa Mayer.