Some thoughts on the future of search (beyond typing into the box)

Me: “just think of what Siri will be like when you are grown up!”

Ellie (age 11): “it should be pretty cool. you will like it if you are still alive”

Every Friday morning I take the kids to breakfast before school. With my travel schedule it’s a nice way to bring the week to an end.

The above was a memorable line from todays chat. 

I’ve been thinking about the future of search a lot lately. Google has dominated for a long time with search. It’s been one of the killer apps of the web and there is a reason why Google makes so much money with search. It just works. And this money machine allows them to take big bets on cars, glasses and other stuff happening at Google X.  It’s terribly exciting. 

Particularly revealing was this thought from Larry Page, Google’s cofoudner and CEO about his desire to take moon shots.

You know, we always have these debates: We have all this money, we have all these people, why aren’t we doing more stuff? You may say that Apple only does a very, very small number of things, and that’s working pretty well for them. But I find that unsatisfying. 

Its clear that the mighty Google believes the future of search will evolve and radically so. Thus, the moon shots. 

This week Facebook launched their own moon shot — Graph Search. My friend John Battelle is pretty bullish on it and wrote some interesting observations recently. I haven’t tried it yet so I’m going to reserve judgement for the time being. But it’s still a search engine that gives you results after typing into a little text box. 

These days I’m much more excited about searches that takes place without typing into a little box with a keyboard. Things like Google Now and Siri are super interersting to me.

Few other examples of search beyond the text box:  

Foursquare Explore is a new type of search engine and gives you personalized results based on location and social data everytime you open the app. No typing required. One tap later and you get tons of personalized stuff. 

Twitter Discover is also a new type of search engine. One tap and I see tweets I normally wouldn’t see but are interesting.

The folks at Expect Labs showed off MindMeld recently. It’s a video conf app but automatically provides relevant internet content based on the contents of the call. Completely different angle on search.

Ultimately the biggest driver on the future of search is undoubtedly due to mobile.

It makes typing in a text box seem old school.