A short while ago Ask.com released a new upgrade to their search engine that brings the emphasis, not just on text-based results, but on a net cast wide. Ask is one of the first search engines to integrate their results from Web, images, videos, news and more to create a more complete, comprehensive result set.
The premise is simple, if you’re searching, for example, for Abraham Lincoln (too simple, I know), they are going off the idea that while you may be searching for biographies of his life, you may be interested to see the archived photos of him, the varying news articles, reports, and vodcasts that incorporate information on his life. This gives a more complete picture of the topics surrounding your keyword.
So the question remains, does this signify a new era in search technologies?
In my opinion, it does and I’ll tell you why. The internet is becoming more complex with new media and new ways of presenting that media. For search engines like Google, they’ve been buying up companies and adding on technologies that help to index and incorporate that information, but until now the integration of those services has been limited.
Google, for example, would mainly just show text links to search results with the highest ranked content in the form of text. Often times you might find an image or a link to look at the image search in case that’s what you were looking for. Nowadays, Google is not only incorporating images into their search results, but also maps, business locations, images, and video. The seismic shift from the old way of returning serch results to the future is being heralded as Universal Search. In the future, expect Google and others to begin to shift their focus from what the norm is to a more comprehensive and integrated platform that returns more than the usual high-ranking results.
What does this mean for all of us marketers who have spent so much time getting used to the norm? It means that allong with Google and Ask, we, too, need to shift our focus from a traditional search marketing aim to begin to provide more uniue and creative content from images, to news, from blog posts to podcasts and video. Web 2.0 is calling and as marketers we need to shift to embrace that call. The future is no longer about traditional text-links and content, but now about the whole picture.
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