Posted January 5, 2009 12:23 pm by with 18 comments

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookBuffer this page

Marissa MayerIn 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.

Universal Search

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.

Social Integration

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.

  • She’s got to stay. Surely there is too much money in it for her to leave

  • The question being though how much ‘information’ about the user will the keep to personalise the search engines and weather this information would be used for other purposes as well such as ad targeting etc.

    Also will this information be sold on? and would the data be used to personally identify the end user?

    Donace’s last blog post..Spam Attack

  • Joe Hall

    @Donace – Those are awesome questions! When i think about those questions it makes me uneasy about continuing to use Google as much as i do. I am not sure how i feel about them constantly documenting my actions. I guess we will have to wait and see.

  • Thanks Joe;

    I actually wrote an article on this very predicament a while back ( ) if you add political pressure on these organisations; namely national security and the such this information could be in the hands of the government.

    Further if the government is one such as seen in the less ‘lenient’ areas it could possible mean major trouble. As we move more into the information era; with ID and technical fraud ripe and human rights abuses covered up quickly; its horrifying to just stop and look at all the security risk we trial oursleves through every day.

    Donace’s last blog post..Spam Attack

  • She prefers to stay as a geek after all…

    Who owns the data that friend connect collects? Google or the site owner?

    Saad Kamal’s last blog post..Google Timeline View in Action

  • I think Marissa will leave the company.

  • she is young to leave and besides there are lot of things in store for google

    thewutzupphilippines’s last blog post..Oprah and Ellen and Celine and Charice

  • With several posts on Marissa Mayer and Google lately, I wonder if anyone from Marketing Pilgrim is considering a hostile takeover… or at the least, a new job with the empire.

    Ari Herzog’s last blog post..How One Post Quintupled My Blog Visitors

  • Does this mean that Matt Cutts is about to leave Google then?

  • Pingback: Saad’s Hot Picks - Jan 6, 2008()

  • Whether she stays or not, the future that she talks about sure makes for interesting reading, even quite exciting. 2009 could well be the year of some serious innovation.

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..New Year Resolutions to Help You Save Money

  • Why did you post this? Now everyone is going to go on and on about “the death of SEO” again. 😛

    Great post!

  • Pingback: 2009 : meta social | Leonid()

  • The geo search engine is already here. My google is by default google knows I’m from Malaysia from IP. About the social networking, I don’t think it is a good place to refer for search results. Keyword is still the best way to get the results.

    Atniz’s last blog post..Message To Work At Home Bloggers

  • Frightening!! Am I the only one worried about how much of our “personal” information is becoming available to complete strangers? What is it that gives Google the right to know more and more about us? Our uninformed consent. I once again refer to laws that might need to be changed or updated to accomodate the evolving world of the Internet.

  • well project top gun, seems come and go, once they found an opportunity to explore and on a much greener pasture, say bye bye to the company

    John’s last blog post..Busby SEO Test the hard way

  • I really doubt that she will leave Google. At the end of everything, who would leave one of the best companies at her point, and at current world crisis. She is safe there and i really see no reason why she would leave.

  • I think those are great ideas, they are on the right track. I am eager to see whats new for 2009