FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A Search Engine Scenario

Financial Times has made a projection of how the search engine industry could evolve over the next few years, as well as new services they could offer:

May 2008. Google launches G-Life, a substitute for the fallible human memory. By searching your e-mail, instant messages and telephone calls, and with the help of voice recorders set up around the home, you can now recall everything you said or wrote.

November 2008. Yahoo!'s new MobileBuddy, a voice-activated search engine, gives you real answers wherever you are. No more long lists of websites to pick through: just ask it what you want to know. MobileBuddy will also vibrate if the groceries you are about to buy are available more cheaply elsewhere.

October 2009. Regulators uncover e-mails that hint at the scope of Microsoft's search engine ambitions. According to its critics, by building its search engine into Windows, Office and other software, Microsoft is on the way to controlling access to the world wide web.

January 2010. 10 years after America Online bought Time Warner, Google acquires Walt Disney. The mania for internet distribution again has the upper hand over entertainment "content".

In short, search engines could become more powerful, flexible, and integrated with other systems that we use in our daily lives. The downside is that this gives the search engine industry -- dominated by a small group of companies -- enormous power and influence over a wide variety of transactions.