In the next few posts I’ll try to summarize my experience at SMX West 2016, as an Expo+ pass holder. The Expo+ pass was free with preregistration, but gave me access to a ton of value. Throughout the 2 days I was there, I had access to many informative presentations, primarily put on by exhibitors. Google, Bing and Twitter were also there to give talks on their advertising solutions. It was great to talk to the various exhibitors, and get a feel for the direction that search marketing is taking.
The conference opened with the Keynote “The Future of Search” presented by Behshad Behzadi, Principal Engineer, Google Zurich. According to Mr. Behzadi, the future of search is centered around mobile voice search, with conversational, natural language queries. These queries are longer, and contain more longtail keywords.
As search becomes more integrated into people’s lives through mobile, Google’s goal is to develop the ultimate personal assistant. To achieve this, contextual interpretation of voice queries is extremely important, and integration of Google search with the various apps the people use on their devices it is now a focus.
Behshad presented a number of demos to show how Google can use previous queries, even across apps, to find context for the search. For example he did search for “San Francisco Giants.” His next search was simply “show me pictures of Johnny,” and the Google results correctly showed pictures of the only San Francisco Giant named “Johnny.” Because the second search was performed on the results page of a previous search, Google could use that data to give context to the incomplete query “show me pictures of Johnny.” Not all of the demos went off that well though, which shouldn’t be a surprise is you’ve done much voice search. Despite the assertion that the future is now in terms of artificial intelligence, I think the future is still a few years away. The talk did capture the focus of SMX West 2016, which was very mobile, cross device focused.