While the world-wide-web is becoming more mature in its contents and so are its users and search engines. Finding information on the web today is unthinkable without search engines. The vast amount of content and availability of Data-lakes from IoT devices is making it increasingly difficult for users to get the right information. Search engines have relied on insights to users’ preferences, habits and interests to deliver the best results. However, this poses a threat to user privacy and places a great responsibility to search engines to use user information responsibly. An awkward situation for search engines to be in, as search engines rely financially on targeted advertising and try to make search results and experience better. It is becoming a very grey area where search engines provide information but cannot be held liable for its accuracy or validity. Interestingly search engines have yet to tackle content validity and accuracy from news channels.
One-stop-shop search engine
Against this backdrop, it will be interesting to see how search engines will develop further in becoming a platform because SERPs are developing into two directions. On the one hand, free search results stuffed with advertising and low-quality results and on the other hand search results paid by users with premium usability containing paid content. Such IPA (Intelligent Personal Assistants) exist as Siri, Alexa and Google’s SERP are moving into a one-stop-shop premium search service. The benefits to users for paid search are that content can be provided in a uniform manner making it more digestible, personalized and perceived as better quality. The benefit for search engines is a lock-in with its user base and greater control over what users can see and experience. Content owners might not need to develop Websites anymore and but rather provide content that can be syndicated on search engine platforms. This would also allow content publishers to focus on content for text to voice, text for reading, images and videos to meet the needs of Intelligent Personal Assistants.
Image recognition seems to be very advanced at this stage. Thanks to Image recognition, Google allows you to search for similar images. While images are analysed for its key components or visual similarities and not its content, search results are very basic. However, once the content of an image is categorized, semantic search and AI will be able to understand the context of an image in which it is placed and provide better results. This can be useful to social networks, where images are searched for and shared. Thus to make the best use of video and imagery, metadata, alt and accompany text will be possibly important for search engines to categorize the content. Creating own image content is being rewarded and also validated by users. Creating textual content will remain important, but an image and video content will become more important as search engines will become better at categorizing, understanding and ranking its content.
Video and audio search
A logical next step might be Video search, where content will be analysed and ranked. It can be therefore interesting to look into creating very short video content to rank higher in results. Thus, in future, it could be more important to develop a brand-related content style strategy than a visual design strategy. Just as current search engines can distinguish user search intent, in future AI could be used to predict user intent and request for information from content providers and IoT devices. Based on readings from Frauenhofer, AI is being used to create marketing content as claimed by Persado Inc. Although Persado Inc. is only creating text-based content, AI will in future be able to consolidate pieces of information from various sources and in a various format that are relevant to a user’s intent.
Conclusion and summary
In Summary, we can conclude that the use of Text to Voice content as well as Video content will become more important as it is easier and faster to digest. Search engines algorithms will improve to enable semantic search and this IPAs will be more prominent in delivering content to users. Google might drive its strategy further by making SERPs evolve into content providing pages. For this Google could look into providing online-tools to better deliver content for their Platform and provide better user experience and closer lock-in with customers. From a content provider perspective, it would be great to be able to upload content in a raw format that is then refined to google users. A tendency in this direction is already visible when creating advertising content via Google responsive ads and carousels. Users simply upload images and provide content pieces while google ads create various versions and promote those that deliver best results. As much as we have seen in the past, the development of the world-wide-web is closely linked with a maturity of web users, so in the end, we will be driving the development by our own decisions especially our unconscious ones.
Frauenhofer-Allianz Big Data (Hg.) (2017). Zukunftsmarkt Künstliche Intelligenz. Potenziale und An- wendungen. Sankt Augustin, Leipzig: Frauenhofer, S. 5-42.