The world of search is moving quickly, with promises of big advances in 2010. From augmented reality to personalized results, here are ten trends and changes you can expect to see in search in the next year.
1. Augmented reality gets real
With the growing numbers of smartphones out there, the ability to take a picture with your phone’s camera and get information about what you see is on the horizon. Several apps are already available for the iPhone, letting you search for information on topics like co-working spaces and restaurants based on the street views around you. Google has its own application available for the Android called Google Goggles which allows you to search for just about anything by snapping a picture of it.
2. More emphasis on real time
When you search for keywords that are part of current news, you’ll be able to see tweets and other updates from the last few minutes in your search results. Google and Bing have both started to add this technology to their search, although Bing requires you to check a special page (Bing.com/twitter) to see results. You can expect this technology to be refined in the next year, so that you see relevant information — but not so much that you can’t find out about what happened more than few minutes ago.
3. Personalized searches for everyone
If you’re logged into your Google account while you’re running searches, you can receive customized search results based on what you’ve searched for and clicked on in the past. Through the use of anonymous cookies, Google will be offering personalized search results for individuals who are not logged in.
4. Integrating different kinds of results
When you’re searching for a location, you could probably use a map. Based on that logic, Google embeds a map in your search results when you type in a location and Bing sorts out results that include maps into a separate group. In the coming year, other kinds of results will be embedded, as well. Google’s already starting to add songs that you can play in search results for musicians and that’s just the beginning.
5. Pulled content
Rupert Murdoch has been threatening to remove News Corp. content from Google (which includes sites like the Wall St. Journal’s as well as MySpace). It looks likely that he’ll do exactly that, given the reported talks he’s had with Microsoft. However, in the long run, whether that decision loses News Corp. a significant amount of traffic remains to be seen.
6. Bing’s growth
There were many predictions that Bing would fizzle, but it continues to gain market share — it was up to approximately 10 percent in October. Microsoft and Yahoo are also still working on putting together a search deal that would essentially leave Bing powering Yahoo’s search results. Bing looks to take a solid position as a competitor to Google.
7. Chrome OS on a Google netbook
Following on the heels of Google’s mobile platform and web browser, Google has already announced plans for its own operating system. The next logical step may be hardware to put it on. A netbook subsidized by Google, which runs on Google Chrome OS, may be the result.
8. Growing privacy concerns
As more social networking sites make information available to search engines, questions of privacy will become even more important. While sites like Facebook offer users the options of making at least some of their information private, just what detials are private and how to protect them in the long term is going to become even more important in the next year.
9. SEO changes
Traditional SEO techniques are on their way out — where you could once improve your search results by focusing on keyword density and other numbers, it’s moving towards a question of quality content and the discussions linking to your site on social networks.
10. Search where you are
While we’ll probably see only the beginnings of this in the next year or so, search is set to become more social and better integrated. Rather than searching for keywords on separate sites, you’ll be able to search for information based on context. If you’re on eBay and you’ve been looking at specific items, you’ll be able to immediately get user reviews, Craigslist results and other relevant information for those items.