Google will look much different in 2033 – where conversation is the interface rather than the search we know today. That’s according to Mustafa Suleyman, cofounder of DeepMind, in an interview on the No Priors Podcast.
Why we care. ChatGPT, the new Bing and Google’s new Search Generative Experience are all huge signals of a major shift in search. Clearly, nothing will change immediately. But these changes could potentially upend the way Google – as the dominant search engine – has shaped the web in the coming years.
The search dialogue. Google is “an appallingly painful” conversation right now, where the answer comes in the form of 10 blue links (though he didn’t mention all the search features and ads that also act as “answers” on today’s SERPs).
Google learns from the results people click on, how long they spend on sites and whether they come back to the search box to refine their search or click on other results. He added:
- “The problem is [Google’s] using 1980s Yellow Pages to have that conversation. And actually now we can do that conversation in fluent natural language.”
Google rewards engagement, not answers. Google has shaped content production in a way that favors optimizing for ads and rewards content creators for keeping people on pages longer, Suleyman said.
- “You go on a webpage and all the text has been broken out into sub bullets and subheaders separated by ads. You spend five to seven or 10 seconds just scrolling through the page to find the snippet of the answer that you actually wanted. But most of the time you’re just looking for a quick snippet. … that looks like high-quality content to Google and it’s ‘engaging’.”
From ‘speaking Google’ to ‘speaking to computers.’ Suleyman believes we’re nearing a point where searchers will no longer have to think “How do I change my query and write this?”
- “We’ve learned to speak Google. It’s a crazy environment. We’ve learned to Google, right? That’s just a weird lexicon that we’ve co-developed with Google over 20 years. No, now that has to stop. That’s over. That moment is done and we can now talk to computers in fluent natural language, and that is the new interface.”
Bottom line. Suleyman believes Google should be “pretty worried” that the Google search we know today won’t be the same in 10 years.
- “It’s not going to happen overnight. There’s going to be a transition. But these kind of succinct, dynamic, personalized, interactive moments are clearly the future in my opinion.”
Google CEO on Search in 10 years. In a recent interview, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was asked whether we are nearing the end of link-based search and 10 blue links. Pichai said search will be “more ambiently available to users in radically different ways” compared to today, adding:
- “I think the experience will evolve substantively over the next decade. We have to meet users in terms of what they are looking for.”
Watch the interview. The video is embedded below. Or, if you prefer, you can read the transcript.