Why There is Still a Very Large Opportunity for Further Improvements in Online Search

During Google’s Q4 2013 webcast, Nikesh Aurora, Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer answered a question with a remark about how people search on the web ” . . . over time, when people look on the web, they look for more and more precise answers, and which was the genesis of why we believe that entity level search begins to make more and more sense, whether it’s in travel, it’s in hotels, or in product listings. People are looking for more specific answers and as you get mobile you want even more bite sized answers so that people can get the information as quickly as they want.” (quoted from a webcast of Google’s Q4 earnings conference call).

If it’s safe to assume the Google Search Engine is, by far, the most popular method web visitors use to find information, then we can say the range of opportunities for early stage ISVs to better satisfy the needs of consumers of online search services have never been better. A simple scan of Mr. Aurora’s comments produces a couple of very important conclusions:

  1. Google completely sees the search experience from an ecommerce perspective. Earlier in the call, Mr. Aurora referred to the average search consumer as an “end user” who, at some point in her/his search experience, will buy something.
  2. Incorporating abstract terms into a presentation of how search is changing, in other words, referring to a heightened level of consumer interest in “more specific answers”, and, further, a keen need, for mobile users, for “bite sized answers” caters to a very simplistic view of, truly, a very complex process.

Online Search is All About ecommerce
Probably this is very much an erroneous assumption. A combination of Google’s dominance in this market, together with Google’s one dimensional approach to catering to online shopping needs for consumers generally looking for tangible products (the stuff PLAs are all about), has, perhaps, rendered the online search experience into something “all about ecommerce”, but, long term, in my opinion the direction will change.

Online Search is Gaining Precision
Serving up truly precise answers to millions of entirely unique, dissimilar search consumers is a very complex and intricate process. As privacy concerns build I can’t help but consider the task of accumulating the requisite amount of personal information about billions of search consumers as something of an insurmountable obstacle.

Early stage ISVs may want to jump into the market, the upside seems very great, from here.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved

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