A Senior Google Executive outlined his view of the future of search.
First, Google will never let you forget your wife’s birthday again.
“There is no reason why search cannot go to that step where it knows that, back in May my wife’s birthday was coming up, I wanted to buy an iPad and being the busy man that I am I walked up to the Apple store on the day of her birthday before we were due to go out for dinner.
“I said ‘can I buy an iPad’ and he looked at me and almost laughed, ‘Sir, you can order one and get it in three weeks’.
“So why can’t this thing tell me that an event is coming up based on the calendar, and why can’t it tell me what I can afford and base what I might want on my search history.
“Why can’t it tell me that my friend [Google’s] Matt Cutts has reviewed the iPad, and know that he is my friend because of my social networks, and why can’t it say it needs to be ordered three weeks in advance?
“Why can’t it stop me from having to sleep on the couch.”
With Google, no forgetful husband will ever have to sleep on the couch again. Huzzah! Just don’t forget Google’s birthday!
Google also helps to tell you what you need to buy, and where you can buy it:
“What we have today is these wonderful components; my calendar is on the cloud, my calendar knows that after I am done here today I will have dinner with my family, my calendar also knows my to do list.
“One of the things on my to do list is to buy a cricket bat because my old one is going dry.
“So my calendar knows when I have free time, my [GPS-enabled] phone knows where I am, my to do list has a list of things I need to accomplish and time is expensive.
“On top of that Google local knows the map of this place and it knows where all the sports shops are – so why cant this thing tell me ‘you have 45 minutes free in your agenda, there’s a sports shop 300 metres away go and buy a cricket bat’.
“And by the way ‘get out turn right walk 200 metres turn right 100 metres and it’s there’.
This is nothing new. I discussed this 2 years ago in Omniveillance:
In an interview conducted by the Financial Times, Google CEO Eric Schmidt admitted the company’s future goal is to organize people’s daily lives.139 Specifically, Schmidt augured that one day “users [will] . . . be able to ask the question such as ‘What shall I do tomorrow?’ and ‘What job shall I take?’ ” and Google would be able to answer those questions.140 Udi Manber, Google’s Vice President of Engineering in charge of Google Search, reaffirmed this sentiment, and posited that Google has “to understand as much as we can user intent and give [users] the answer they need.”141 Mr. Schmidt acknowledged that the primary obstacle to this goal is not the technology, but the lack of information Google possesses about people.142 Talking to journalists in London, Mr. Schmidt stated, “We cannot even answer the most basic questions because we don’t know enough about you. That is the most important aspect of Google’s expansion.”143