3 ways Google is changing the way we search

As far as search goes, Google is the business. Since it began in 1998 it has become the be all and end all of searching. Suddenly all of our problems can be answered by the simple click of a button, “where is a good place to eat tonight?”, “what was the name of that movie starring what’s his face?” and “what is this weird rash growing on me?”. Google has become our number one resource, our “go to guy” when we don’t have the answers – if Google hasn’t got the answer, it isn’t worth knowing. The term ‘Google it” has become a staple in our everyday vocabulary – heck, the term even made it to the dictionary.

Yes, we’re blogging about Google again. You may have read our post on Google Glass, but the truth is, they just keep ‘em coming.
We’ve been geeking up recently on some of the latest stuff from Google, thinking about how it might impact the digital pool, and it’s fair to say the biggest splash is being made in terms of how we search for things and are discovered online.

Google have been busy developing a number of tools that look set to change our approach to search, making things a whole lot simpler, faster, and more accurate. It all sounds pretty sweet. So from the bunch, we’ve picked out three that could really take off in late 2013/2014, as trial increases, and more and more get behind what is a dynamic time in the digital world.

Phonetic spelling of 'Picadilly Circus' to convey Google Voice Search function

Google Voice Search…

First of all, what is it? “Gew-guhl Vohyss Surch” is an app which allows you search across the web by simply communicating verbally with your phone, tablet, or as of recently, on your desktop.

You can see GVS in action here…

Google Voice Search has been around since 2008, but hasn’t really got all the publicity it deserves; this is partly due to being outshone by Apple’s ‘Siri’ voice control app since 2011. However, GVS has a few jumps on Siri: one, you can use it on your desktop or laptop; two, it has an astounding 85% voice recognition accuracy – not too shabby at all.

There are plenty of clips on YouTube pitting GVS and Siri against eachother, but here’s one we watched… And it’s pretty clear which comes out on top.

Local Search…

Chances are if you’re searching in Google, you type a mix keywords related to whatever you’re looking for, and your location because hey, a North Pole Steakhouse isn’t really of any use to you. But now, Google can actually recognise your location based on your I.P. address or if you’re logged in to a Google account, and bring up a list of nearby, relevant results to your search query. Convenient? Indeed. 97% of customers search for local businesses online so Google is doing their bit to make things a bit easier.

From a business standpoint, Google is also making it easier to be found online through ‘Google Places’; where businesses can create a page with the bare necessities (phone, address, description etc) and let customers rate them, write reviews and post photos, all of which are seen by Google as quality content that helps to get them up the search rankings.

Using our friends at The Cheese Society as an example, you can see how Google Places shows up during a search…

Example of how a Google Places listing appears in search engine results pages on Google

The Cheese Society were the first result when searching for ‘Cheese Lincoln’, and their 30/30 rating, plus 9 customer reviews has helped them to achieve this.

Google Now…

You may have heard ‘Google Now’ mentioned in the above video; Google Now relies on search to gather information relevant to your specific hobbies, interests, and lifestyle – and voice search is looking to be a big part of that. But here’s the impressive part, why does it do this? So that it can give you the information you need before you even have to search for it.

Google Now is kind of like your buddy; it knows what you like, what you want to know and when, so it eliminates the need to search for certain things such as the weather, traffic, your favourite sports team (although as a Newcastle United fan I may opt out of this…).

While Google Now is fairly recent, having launched late 2012 and the iOS version only coming out in April, it certainly looks set to take the world of search by storm, and we’ll be watching this space closely; when Google themselves come out and say they’re trying to recreate the technology from Star Trek, you know exciting times are ahead.

Josh Ryan Gill

About Josh Ryan Gill

Josh is the voice of our social media channels and marketing communications, applying his depth of marketing knowledge to the digital environment and working closely with clients to connect with their target audience. Google+