It’s always fascinating to find out what the world’s most cutting edge techno-whizzes think of the products they create, and which of their own apps they rate above all others.
Recently, head of Search at Google, Amit Singhal, shared a post in which he talked about his favorite 10 top milestones in Google Search in the last decade.
1. Autocomplete: This enables Google to predict and complete the word or phrase as you are type, and to instantly load the most probable search results to resolve your query.
2. Translations: A decade ago Google Translate was still being tested and hadn’t even reached the market place. In 2014 it is used to make more than a billion translations each day in 80 different languages.
3. Traffic and directions: Google Maps has revolutionized the way we get to places, allowing us to find the fastest, most direct routes to walk, bike, drive, or take the bus to get to where we want to go, and to provide a fast and accurate answer to the question “How far is it to ???”.
4. Universal search: By blending different search results, universal search provides us with the most relevant information, no matter what format you use.
5. Mobile phones and different screens: Google has adapted Search so that it works effectively from all types of mobile devices. They even redesigned their mobile products so that it would be easier to type faster and so get results returned more quickly!
6. Voice search: Voice search is revolutionizing the way we make searches. After years of research and development you no longer have to type your queries: instead, just ask your question aloud using Google Search and if you use one of the 38 languages that Google’s natural language and speech recognition app can understand, you’ll get back written answers to your questions within seconds.
7. Actions: Google’s latest Search app lets you quickly e-mail, text or call someone without the need to look for numbers, addresses or even to type. You only have to say: “Ok Google, send an e-mail to Steve: do you want to come to the party with me on Friday?” and the message is on its way! This app even lets you set up sophisticated memory joggers, such as “Remind me to buy cat food when I next go to Walmart,” and the Google Search app will have your smartphone buzz when you next go into any Walmart outlet!
8. The Knowledge Graph: Specifically built to show the interconnectedness of things, you can ask the Knowledge Graph any question and it will explore the entire web to generate your answer —even to complex question such as: “How tall is Barack Obama’s wife?” or “Who were the actors in The Equalizer?” Then click on “enter” and your answer will appear in just seconds.
9. Personalised Gmail information search: Google Search can even answer questions about your schedule and planned activities. For example, if you have details about a forthcoming cruise saved in your Gmail account, you have only to say, “What time does my ship sail?” and the answer will appear on your screen.
10. Google Search on your Smartphone: With this app. Installed on your mobile device you have all the answers to everyday questions instantly at your fingertips! Ask Google about bus, plane, train and other timetabled information and you’ll get a response right away.
Singhal has worked for Google for 14 years and was there in 2004 when the company went public.
Despite all the many developments since then, Singhal believes that the heart of Google lies in its search sophistication which the company continues to develop at a rapid and relentless pace.
In the last 12 months alone, a staggering 890 improvements were made to Google Search criteria and there are many more upgrades and advances in the making, all to be revealed in due course.
As Singhal commented in his post, Google is not a company to rest on its laurels and he knows that in another 10 years the advances that leave us exclaiming today will seem like prehistoric fossils!
(Perhaps one aspect he might like to consider working on is Google Search’s ability to recognize different accents: right now, the Google Search app works best if you adapt an American accent and gets somewhat confused with English spoken any other way.)