Google's press day brought out the cyrptic visionary in CEO Eric Schmidt, conceptualizing the future of search and the human/Web interface. From Elinor Mills' write up from the event today:
In the end, the users will dictate the direction of search and Internet services, he said.
"I would propose the first rule of the Internet, most humbly: People have a lot to say," he said, pointing to the popularity of user-created wikis. There will be a "transition from learned information to learning information, and curiosity will be how you establish your expertise."
In five years, Google will have built "the product I've always wanted to build--we call it 'serendipity,'" he said, adding that it will "tell me what I should be typing."
Also coming in the future: simultaneous translation in the major languages and the ability to take a picture on a mobile phone and use OCR (optical character recognition) to find out what it's a picture of, he added.
"We have literally just begun on the potential of this unification," he said.
"Curiosity will be how you establish your expertise," transitioning from "learned information" to "learning information" and "telling me what I should be typing." Google's "Serendipity" sounds like it needs a bit more product definition. At least you could understand Bill Gates when he described his vision for Information at your fingertips in 1994 or Apple's Knowledge Navigator circa 1987. And, who wants to just type in queries--you should tell Google what you want, although it seems that Schmidt thinks that Google will tell you what you should type, whatever that means.
One of Google's mottos is:
How about adding Innovation, More Clarity to the mix...
Google did intro a few cool new services. Google Trends, which tracks user search behavior, such as how many queries, for any term and links to news stories. Google Co-op is built around community. Here is the official description:
...users can contribute their knowledge and expertise to improve Google search for everyone. Organizations, businesses, or individuals can label web pages relevant to their areas of expertise or create specialized links to which users can subscribe.
Once a user has subscribed to a provider's content, all of that provider's labels and subscribed links are added to the user's search results for relevant queries. These contributions serve as meta information that helps Google's search algorithms connect users to the most relevant information for their specific query. Users interested in contributing can get started at www.google.com/coop.
For example, a doctor can label web pages related to arthritis, and users who subscribe to that doctor's information will receive options at the top of the results for more specific information such as "treatment," "symptoms," or "for health professionals" when they enter a relevant query.
As a first step, Google has worked with partners to annotate web pages related to health and city guides and to offer dozens of subscribed links to specialized content such as restaurant and movie information. Going forward, the broader online community will begin building out new topic areas and subscribed links to help improve the way people find and discover information online.
Users can subscribe to content and providers at www.google.com/coop/directory. Google Co-op is available today on all English language Google domains including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
Google Desktop 4 Beta brings Google Gadgets into the desktop and links with personalized home pages, and also has tigher integration with other Google services. In deference to enterprises, network administrators can now disable Search Across Computers at the network level by blocking access to specific URLs.
Finally, Google Notebook lets users to clip text, images, and links from the pages and save them in a notebook file online.
Philipp Lenssen has good coverge of the press day...
More Google coverage: