How will search move to discovery for the empowered customer?

In the recent past, i had written saying that we will move in the near future from "search" engines to "do" engines. Looks like Eric Schimdt recently has been talking about serendipity engines as the future. 

Forrester writes about this.

As you look into the future, the distinction between “search” and “discovery” gets muddy.  While it sounds like science fiction to suggest that technology can help search for things you don’t even yet know you want, the opportunities to improve human discovery are very real.  Combining a person’s context—where they are, who they’re with—with their past opinions and actions and the opinions and actions of others can create tremendous value and relevance.

Imagine you’re someone who has positively rated Mexican restaurants in the past.  As you drive through town around lunchtime, your device alerts you to a well-rated Mexican restaurant that is nearby and likely to suit your tastes.  This information may not be welcome at 8 a.m. or 2 p.m., nor would it be welcome to someone who hasn’t expressed an affinity for Mexican food.  It is the combination of social media, individual preferences and context that creates the opportunity for proactive discovery rather than reactive search.

This isn’t about opening your Yelp application on your smartphone and seeing the same search results as everyone else; it’s about having hardware and software that intuits and presents the things you really care about.  There are already examples of simple "Serendipity Engines" available, such as Netflix's rating system—the more movies you rate, the better the recommendations you'll receive.

What is exciting about this future is the continued progress toward empowering consumers. 

How will this evolve over the next few years will be interesting to track. Service & solution providers will need to build and integrate their development around these trends.


How do you estimate economic impact of your business - Google shows a way!

Most often, I have been left wondering, what impact does my company make with businesses  that I deal with, the value difference some of the activities/programs that my clients' customers see of what we do for them and how to measure it effectively, showcase the value created to our employees who spend a significant part of the day of their lives( across the year!) with getting our clients' businesses customer ready!

Google has found an interesting way of  measuring the economic impact of their business across America. They have kind of looked at the what economic growth they have added to all the states in the US!  A whopping US $ 54 billion according to them!

Some interesting facts that I took out of the study:

  • According to Google's own words - "Aside from being a well-known search engine, Google is also a successful advertising company.". Interesting to know that advertising business can drive economic value to the tune of several billion dollars when it is measured & accountable. 
  • Google's business is based on 3 core offerings - Google Search & Ad Words, Ad Sense & Google Grants. When you are able to  build and measure the ability to connect customers to business, you create value. When you share a part of the revenue you make with a business, you create immense value to that business.
  • Google Grants has supported over US $ 600 million in advertising for non-profit organizations worldwide. When businesses move from  participating in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to driving Customer Social Responsbility( CuSR), there is immense value that can be created.

  • How do we define economic value is key to a business - Google estimates that for every $1 Ad Word spend, businesses earn $ 2 of revenue. Also, businesses receive 5  clicks on their search results for every $1 ad click. Interesting. In our business, if we were helping business cross-sell & up-sell or retain customers, it is a great way to quantify the value we bring to the table.Imagine you are in a Insurance business, the economic value added to the family of the deceased can be measured over time and the impact it creates on millions of households.Or if you were a MF company, the economic impact of making dreams of daughter's education, retirement, daughter's marriage expenses & consumption that happens around these events can create great economic impact in the economy.

Here's the report for you to read

I wonder though, why only the US!  Google, I believe has to be more global. The web and Google Ad Sense are pretty much well penetrated across countries today. May be this is a start but I would have liked Google to measure this across geographies.


Accountable Mass Media

Well, don't these words - Accountable & Mass media present an irony of sorts to you? 

Yes, surely this has been the way things have been happening for last 3-4 decades. Mass marketing has never been accountable. It's never been addressable 'one household at a time' too. Either, it was not possible or it was too expensive to do it. Technology is surely breaking down these myths and introducing possibilities like never before. Take a look at how this happening or expected to unfold in the near future:

"Since May, Google has been selling ads on the 125 national satellite channels distributed by EchoStar Communications DISH Network. Cable networks routinely provide distributors with a few minutes each hour for local commercials; Google is responsible for a portion of EchoStar’s local time and creates an online auction market for it.

Google then analyzes the data from set-top boxes to determine exactly which ads were watched or skipped, with a second-by-second breakdown. With Nielsen’s help, Google will begin to take that information and overlay sampling-based ratings, adding a rich demographic layer to the raw numbers that EchoStar provides."

The reports from Google can pinpoint the moment when viewers most commonly changed the channel, potentially helping marketers shape the creative work on their commercials. For instance, if viewers are turning the channel after seven seconds, the agency might revisit the opening of the ad.

“We see a future in which, when you sit down in front of your television set, you will see ads that are more relevant for you,” said Mr. Steib of Google. “When we make advertisements more relevant to viewers, inventory becomes more valuable and the return on investment is much higher for advertisers.”