Beyond search: Google's future decoded
January 1996. Two PhD students at Stanford University in California - Larry Page and Sergey Brin - started google.stanford.edu as a research project. While conventional search engines ranked results by counting how many times the search terms appeared on the page, the two devised a new algorithm that analyzed the relationships between websites.
It took them only few years to move from that garage to Googleplex, company's original and largest campus, and be the leading search engine on the Web. While most people recognize Google as a search engine, Google rakes in much of its revenues from selling advertising which integrates with search and other services it offers.
The recent developments at Google and product announcements have indicated Google's vision of offering services that touch the breadth of an Internet user anywhere in the world. Google has been increasingly adding more touchpoints with the users to serve advertisements. After starting with email (Gmail), it progressed to productivity software (Google Docs/Apps), and then hit the lucrative mobile space with not just a service but a complete platform (Android).
Not only is Google releasing more services frequently now, it is also working on integrating them to bind a user in a cohesive Google world. All Google accounts were transformed into Google+ accounts last year for a step in this direction.The minimalistic Google homepage receives quicker updates now to feature new services like Google Play and Google + at coveted spot on the top navigation bar.
The progressive updates continue as well. Better imagery for Google Maps, enhancing the Android platform for tablets and next generation devices, a refreshed digital store for music, books, movies, and Android apps with Google Play, and in the search engine's forever battle with spam on the Web.
As DropBox continues to lead the space and SkyDrive offers a luxurious 25GB for free with a delicious integration with the upcoming Windows 8, Google might just make the fabled Google Drive see light of the day.
Leading technology blog, GigaOm hints that Google might finally launch GDrive soon, and this might not be a rumor as has the case been several times in last 4-5 years.
Facebook realized that being social does not only mean throwing sheep at your friends. Facebook Comments in a way tells one what his friends are doing across the Web. And Google might be looking in that space to cut itself a slice of this pie.
According to a report by The Next Web, Google is set to launch a commenting system similar to Facebook's. It is anybody's guess that the service would integrate with Google+ and other Google products, and in fact lead to wider adoption of Google+. While Facebook Comments suffer from the disadvantage of not being indexed in search engines and thereby hitting the publishers, Google's system would obviously have this taken care of.
This might not come too soon at a browser near you, but in few years or a decade, Google intends to know what you would want before you'd know it.
"I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next," Schmidt said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that sparked criticism from privacy advocates.
In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek's editor Josh Tyrangiel, Marissa Mayer, Vice President at Google, indicated that over the next two decades Google will attempt to refine its ability to "predict and suggest" answers for its users, perhaps before they've even asked a question.
Strangers + Friends
While the current social trends focus on connecting you with your friends, family, and coworkers, Google in future would help connect people to strangers they don't know, but should meet, given their interests."On the social front, can we suggest someone that we think that you should know because you have so much in common that we think you'd like each other?" Mayer said.
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