One of Google's most senior search experts has outlined the future of search, believing that 'searching without searching' will begin to organise our lives.
Speaking to TechRadar, Google Fellow Amit Singhal outlined how he believes search can progress – although he is keen to underline the pressing need for offering people transparency and control of the information and their own privacy.
Singhal explains that the components are all there to begin to offer us the right information at the right place and time, without the need to search for it.
Article continues below
Searching without searching
"One thing that I am very excited about is the possibility of searching without searching," said Singhal, giving an example of what he means.
"What we have today is these wonderful components; my calendar is on the cloud, my calendar knows that after I am done here today I will have dinner with my family, my calendar also knows my to do list.
"One of the things on my to do list is to buy a cricket bat because my old one is going dry.
"So my calendar knows when I have free time, my [GPS-enabled] phone knows where I am, my to do list has a list of things I need to accomplish and time is expensive.
"On top of that Google local knows the map of this place and it knows where all the sports shops are - so why cant this thing tell me 'you have 45 minutes free in your agenda, there's a sports shop 300 metres away go and buy a cricket bat'.
"And by the way 'get out turn right walk 200 metres turn right 100 metres and it's there'.
"This is based on things that are already there."
Singhal gives another example where search should be able to provide even more relevant information based on calendar, events and to do lists.
"There is no reason why search cannot go to that step where it knows that, back in May my wife's birthday was coming up, I wanted to buy an iPad and being the busy man that I am I walked up to the Apple store on the day of her birthday before we were due to go out for dinner.
"I said 'can I buy an iPad' and he looked at me and almost laughed, 'Sir, you can order one and get it in three weeks'.
"So why can't this thing tell me that an event is coming up based on the calendar, and why can't it tell me what I can afford and base what I might want on my search history.
"Why can't it tell me that my friend [Google's] Matt Cutts has reviewed the iPad, and know that he is my friend because of my social networks, and why can't it say it needs to be ordered three weeks in advance?
"Why can't it stop me from having to sleep on the couch."