What is the Future of Search Marketing Looking Like?

If you really want to know how the search landscape will look in 10 years’ time, there’s really only one person you need to ask. That being, Sundar Pichai – CEO of Google and Alphabet.

And that’s exactly what happened during a recent talk on the future of AI, which will of course play a major role in the future of organic search. 

. Sundar admitted he hadn’t expected AI to progress quite as rapidly as it has over the past few years, but spoke confidently about Google’s place at the technology’s forefront:

“One of the main things I did as a CEO is to really pivot the company towards working on AI and I think that’ll serve us well for the next decade ahead,”

“For example now I look back and compute is the hot currency now. We built TPUs, we started really building them at scale in 2016 right, so we have definitely been thinking about this for a long time,!

We’ve always had a sense for the trajectory ahead and in many ways we’ve been preparing the company for that and so I think foundationally a lot of our R&D. A lot of it has gone into AI for a long time and so I feel incredibly well positioned for what’s coming,”

We’re still in the very early days I think people will be surprised at the level of progress we’re going to see and I feel like we’ve scratched the tip of the iceberg.”

On the subject of search, Sundar was quizzed as to how exactly he thinks the search landscape will look going forwards. To which, he gave the indication that it won’t look much different at all, only, the technology powering it will become more sophisticated:

“You know, when mobile came we knew Google search had to evolve a lot. We call it Featured Snippets, but for almost ten years now, you go to Google for many questions we kind of use AI to answer them right, we call it web answers internally,”

We’ve always answered questions where we can but we always felt when people come and look for information people in certain cases want answers but they also want the richness and the diversity of what’s out there in the world and it’s a good balance to be had and we’ve always, I think, struck that balance pretty well”

“To me all that is different is now the technology by which you can answer is progressing, so we will continue doing that. But this evolution has been underway in search for a long, long time.”

Which should come as at least some comfort to the growing numbers of SEO concerned with the potential for AI to change all aspects of online search beyond recognition.

Sundar went on to highlight the key differences between answering questions and guiding users in the direction of the right websites for their needs:

“I think we’ve always struck the balance, that’s what I’m saying. It’s not about giving an answer, there are certain times you give an answer, what’s the population of the United States, yes it’s an answerable question. There are times you want to surface the breadth of opinions out there on the web which is what search does and does it well.”

Hence, while we’re looking at a future where AI can certainly enhance search, there’s little likelihood of it replacing search outright.