Google CEO Eric Schmidt said at TechCrunch Disrupt that the search engine's next step is "autonomous search," bringing information to users instead of making them seek it.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the
symbiotic relationship between humans and computers is driving the search
engine to work on autonomous search, where users receive search suggestions on
their mobile phone without having to type any queries.
Schmidt, speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt in San
Francisco Sept. 28, said that while the Google Instant
predictive search technology helps shave an
average of 2 seconds off users' queries, the next step is "autonomous
This means Google will conduct searches for users without them having to
manually conduct searches. As an example, Schmidt said he could be walking down
the streets of San Francisco and
receive information about the places around him on his mobile phone without
having to click any buttons.
"Think of it as a serendipity engine," Schmidt said. "Think
of it as a new way of thinking about traditional text search where you don't even
have to type."
Schmidt said the technology sector is moving toward building an
"augmented version of humanity," to get computers to help people do
things that they're not good at while also helping computers do things that
they're not good at.
In other words, the door swings both ways for humans and computers. Today,
Google provides search suggestions to the computer.
In the near feature, Schmidt said, Google's search engine will interpret a
query such as "What's the weather like?" to mean that a searcher
wants to know whether or not he needs to wear a raincoat or water the plants.
"With improvements in algorithms, more information, with your
permission and so forth, we can get closer to answer the question that you
really asked," Schmidt revealed.
With such personal search on the way, Google will have to be very careful
about how it positions and preserves consumer privacy. This sort of semantic
search is one of many Google baby steps toward the artificial intelligence
system Google so desperately wants to realize.
To get there, Google has two primary vehicles: the mobile Web-smartphones in
particular-and cloud computing.