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Friday, December 23, 2005

15 Search Predictions for 2006

John Battelle posted his predictions for next year, so here are some of mine:

  1. Google will finally go ahead and release a real web-wide video search. It will be integrated into Google Video and you will find both user-uploaded files, as well as videos found on the web. The video search will quickly make its way into the small selection of homepage links. Probability: 80%.
  2. Google gets rid of some of their old values and introduce graphic ads on their own site next to search results. This will make some purists and bloggers become angry at Google. Probability: 40%.
  3. Google will buy 2 more technology start-ups in 2006. They will also buy one older company and release the company’s flagship product for free, thereby getting rid of some of the competition in that area. Probability: 90%.
  4. Google will not release as may new services as in 2005, because they realized they must go through a consolidation phase to make their existing services scale and localize better. Google Analytics will open its doors again and starts to work faster. Google Calendar will be released, with tight integration into Gmail (and a similar look). Probability: 40%.
  5. Google will have a major index update in February which will be heavily discussed by the search engine industry. Several sites will be kicked out of the index, and several businesses along with it. Probability: 70%.
  6. Yahoo releases their new email client to the public in the first few months of 2006. Many Gmail users, but by far not all, will switch to it because of its desktop look and feel. Probability: 60%.
  7. Google replaces their translator with new in-house technology which will be far superior to existing translation tools. They also manage to pull off on-the-fly translation of web pages in their index so that you are enabled to search in any language you want to. Probability: 50%.
  8. Google aims to stay ahead of the competition by dramatically increasing the update frequency for new content. For most pages – anything above PageRank 5 – the content enters Google and can be searched for within hours. Probability: 20%.
  9. Google releases a web based version of Google Talk which lets users chat in their browser. Probability: 40%.
  10. Google is involved in a major privacy scandal with the US government revolving around some of their services. They lose quite a few users due to it. Probability: 20%.
  11. Google releases an IRC (chat) search, but the service is closed after a week without Google giving us an explicit reason for this. Probability: 30%.
  12. Internet Explorer 7 is released with new in-built search functions, many of which are making use of the MSN search. In general, IE7 underwhelms the public, but it turns out to be much faster than Firefox, with less bugs (but also less support of HTML and CSS standards). At the same time, Microsoft’s Windows is losing more of its importance as pretty much all applications moved to the web. Probability: 60%.
  13. Google introduces new “onebox” search results on top of their search results. This includes a “What bloggers say” box for some search queries. Probability: 60%.
  14. Both Yahoo and MSN remove clutter from their homepages to put more focus on search. Probability: 20%.
  15. More and more people will complain that Google is becoming too much of a web monopoly. This results in some legal action, but not next year. Probability: 50%.

Also see: 10 web trends that should die in 2006.


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