After Twenty years, Google won’t just provide you with what you are searching for but it could know what you desire before you know it yourself. That’s according to Marissa Mayer, Google’s 20th hire and the company’s vice president of maps and location services.
She further said that over the next twenty years, Google will try to rectify its capability to “predict and suggest” answers for its users, perhaps even before they have asked a question from the search engine.
“I think that there’s a world that we can move into where can we do a different kind of search that’s more futuristically oriented for a person,” Mayer said during an event at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, where Bloomberg Businessweek’s editor Josh Tyrangiel interviewed the Google executive. “Can we predict what restaurants you’ll like when you’re in a new city? It may not be that you search for pizza, but we know you tend to like pizza places, or you tend to like more casual, loungey bars, so we can suggest things.”
Mayer noted that Google could finally assist people to connect to the strangers(having common interests) they don’t know.
“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. “Can we take search and start to move it into other domains because the same core competencies apply in terms of helping people find places that they’ll like, more than those they would otherwise have found through a rote ‘I asked you for this, give me that’?”
Google’s experiments with self-driving cars could predict what kind of search it will offer in next two decades.
“A lot of people ask us what driver-less cars have to do with Google, and the truth is, when you’re driving a car, you are getting 400 different inputs,” Mayer said. “Figuring out the right input and integrating that into the appropriate driving behavior is just a search problem and just a way of integrating an answer.You will see us moving into things like that,” Mayer added cryptically.”
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt earlier hinted about Google’s plans to develop products that could predict users’ requirements based on their past searches.
“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.
Asked whether Google carries out a “spooky sniff test” on its services and products to evaluate whether they are creepy or beneficial, Marissa Mayer replied that Google attempts to evaluate whether the benefits of a feature accurately offsets the privacy that users must give up in order to take full benefit of the tool.
“All along the way Googlers have been really good at calling each other out, not necessarily on the spooky factor, but asking, ‘Does this make sense? Given the amount of privacy or information a user has to give us in order for us to provide this service, is the service beneficial enough?’” Mayer said.
Mayer concisely reflected on the methods Google has changed since Google’s co-founder Larry Page replaced Eric Schmidt as CEO in 2011, noting that Page’s focus on streamlining Google’s products has made the their thousands of employees focused on how — and if — a tool sufficiently fulfills users’ requirements.
“Larry is very focused on product and on users, and I think that you can feel that,” Mayer said. “Having a CEO in a more product-oriented role ultimately makes everyone think about what they’re building and whether it is beautiful, it’s excellent, and it’s a seamless user experience.”