Google has publicized its plans this week for ramping up its search personalization level in order to help its users find what they need faster using simple robust commands. According to Google, users will no longer have to scroll through emails to find information such as flight schedules or recently purchased items, etc. Users will just type or speak a conversational question such as “Is my flight on time?” or “Show me my purchases” and related information from across the Google services such as Gmail or Google Calendar will be retrieved immediately.
The search giant has been testing different features of the service for the past year, and has announced in an official blog post that Google Search will start answering such conversational queries for most people in the United States who use the Google search app on Android or iOS powered smartphones or tablets or a personal computers running Chrome browser.
Future of Google’s Personalized Search Results
This expansion is all part of Google’s effort to develop and broaden useful services that can be operated through conversational and spoken commands, not too different from what used to be seen on science fiction shows such as the computer on Star Trek or in the Iron Man movie. While Google may be a step ahead than most of its competitors, technology analyst Whit Andrews states that other technology companies such as Apple and Microsoft, are working hard on creating similar services to avoid giving Apple any head start in any new arena.
Andrews has stated that this move makes it “not only necessary but strategic” for Google to expand its capabilities if it wants to keep dominating the search business. “Siri is the scariest thing Google has seen since Facebook,” he said, talking about Apple’s digital assistant.
Google’s new feature is designed to work by accessing other Google services for relevant data, such as Calendar items and photos from Google+ accounts. It can also retrieve airline information from a confirmation email stored in Gmail and then give updated flight statuses from the internet.
Since privacy is a growing concern these days thanks to NSA, Google has stated that users can only get their personal information from their own account, and only when they are signed in. On the other hand, users will also have an opt-out option in case they have any privacy concerns.
Currently the service is working with five categories of information (flight information, hotel and restaurant reservations, online purchases, calendar events, and photos) but Google spokesperson Roya Soleimani has stated “We’re focusing on daily tasks that make your life a little bit easier,” clearly implying that more categories are on the way.
Google already has a similar feature on mobile devices with its Google Now service, which analyzes requirements and tries to display relevant information without being asked. Google also has been improving the conversational power of its speech technology that has been available to Chrome users since May.
Google product manager Roy Livne said that the service has evolved enough to field variations on a question such as, “What are my plans for tomorrow?” and show a list of events from a person’s calendar as well as email confirmations from hotels, restaurants or airlines.
What are your thoughts on Google’s expansion of its personalized search? Do you think personalized search can directly rival Apple’s Siri? Let us know in the comments section below!