Several exciting announcements from the Google Search Event today December 7th, 2009 – a series of updates and concepts presented on the present and future of Google and online search in general.
Japanese language voice search is now active.
Google Goggles, in the Google Labs, is part of an initiative that Google calls a nascent technology that aims to apply search to the most complex of the human senses – sight. It will allow the user to take a photo of anything and use that as the search criteria. Billions of images exist in an index but Google opted not to incorporate facial recognition to safeguard user privacy despite the fact that they do have the technology fully working. “Unsupervised learning” are algorithms that will actually go “out” and work on image recognition on its own, parsing comparative data to determine what an image is. Imagine, for example taking a photo of the Empire State Building – a photo that you have taken, not a generic published photo, and like Shazam does with music, Goggles will parse and return search results about the Empire State Building.
Google MyLocation, Mobile Maps, Near Me Now builds on the fact that wherever a user is, so is their cell phone. By always knowing where the cell phone owner is located it can shave off seconds from search result replies. Near Me Now is an awesome Android app: imagine, for example you arrive at an outdoor event early and aren’t sure what to do in order to kill ten minutes. Using Google mobile geo-location search feature, you can get realtime search results about not only what coffee shops but the most popular or best liked are within a walking distance. The tech will use radio, cell and satellite to get latitude and longitude as quickly as possible.
Forever gone are the days up updating indexes once a month or week or day or even minute. “Relevance is the foundation of this product – relevance, relevance, relevance.” Looking at the Google results page is unlike anything you have seen before – scrolling updating data as it happens on the web.” says Amit Singhal (master of Google’s ranking algorithm) giddily who also underlined that in twenty years of working on search engines this is one of the most exciting announcements of which he has ever been a part. Now it makes sense that Google sucked Twitter into its search engine result. I hope this finally underscores for the doubters my evangelizing about Twitter.
This will literally change everything. If we believed that Google Wave, the realtime collaborative tool, was groundbreaking, then true, realtime search will deeply affect how everything we exchange will unfold from this point forward.
The realtime search results can be accessed by clicking “Latest” as opposed to Past Hour, Past 24 hours and so on. The user will be shown the updates as they hit Google’s servers themselves in realtime. “It shows you exactly what you need as it happens, including tweets.” Dozens of new technologies to build realtime search like query fluctuation models, realtime content generation fluctuation model that has to recognize that an event took place and spiked. Within seconds Google realtime is analyzing, filtering for relevance and posting billions of documents created daily, on the fly.
“The importance of relevance has gone through the roof – and everything has become relevant and at the pace at which it is growing, relevance has become the critical factor in building products like this.”
Like when Google announced Gmail with unlimited storage and Yahoo watched in horror, I can only imagine what Bing must feel like right now. Google realtime search is already available in Google mobile.
Working from there, Google Trends is graduating from GLabs to Google proper. The concept of trending that grew up on twitter is now going to figure as a key search method. Combining realtime web with trending is a little mind-blowing. Check it out at http://www.google.com/trends
What this will potentially do for the stock market is frightening.
How about the idea put forth at the talk about realtime inventory reporting – ie. how many copies of a new book are still in stock, or signed special edition copies of that guitar? Turn Google (or perhaps Froogle) into a realtime QVC!
Facebook pages – the public profiles for specific entities, and MySpace pages designated as public will also be appearing in Google realtime search (as will identi.ca, Friendfeed and others) – this means that everyone is essentially a live content creator whose output is being cataloged. Users will be able to decide what is or is not broadcast via their privacy controls. Again, the implications are staggering.
As far as pagerank, Mr. Singhal acknowledges the importance of pagerank and reassures the journalists that it is still a factor in realtime search but that additionally dozens of technologies were created not replacing it. Pagerank is what gives weight to the reliability of a source.