A search revolution is on its way

Google street view, voice-enabled and personalised search – the latest Search Marketing Expo had many eye openers. CHRIS THOMAS

Chris Thomas

By Chris Thomas

Right now I’m attending the Search Marketing Expo (SMX Sydney). It’s been a terrific event for a nerd like me, with many useful and interesting sessions. It started with (get ready, here comes one of the longest job titles in the world) Google’s vice president, search products and user experience, Marisa Mayer, kicking off yesterday morning with her keynote speech about Google’s vision for the future of search.

She highlighted that Google Street View is rolling out across Australia and should be ready for release later in 2008. So don’t you go and do anything silly in public when the Google branded car with a roof-mounted camera goes trundling past (example below).

Google street view

Mobile search also got a mention, which has become quite widely used in the US now due to the launch of Apple’s iPhone in 2007. Mayer said Google obviously looks at trends in search activity and last (US) summer there was a noticeable rise in mobile search activity compared to previous years. As people went on holidays they used Google Maps on their phones, and searched for all sorts of things while on the move.

As part of their mobile search focus, Google’s also working on voice-enabled search. So rather than clumsily typing your query into a small mobile phone keypad while you’re driving the car at 110kmh with three screaming kids, you will be able to calmly speak your query into your phone and Google will dutifully return your results.

She also talked about personalised search and the challenges Google faces getting it right. They’ve kind of started this already by looking at your “browsing history” and influencing the results slightly based on your previous visits to websites. They’re not spying on you. Really.

Finally Mayer talked about social search where, perhaps, one day all your fake friends on Facebook could, like, influence your Google results as their browsing history should, like, you know, be the same as yours because, like, we’re all friends who like the same things in, like, our network.

From an “Online Sales” perspective (because remember, that’s what this blog is all about), I really enjoyed the session on landing pages and testing. In the coming weeks I’ll get into some tactics to improve your conversion rates.

Danny Sullivan, a man who has been writing about search since 1997, finished the day perfectly with a light-hearted keynote about the past, present and future of search. If you’re into this business you really had to be there…


By the way, I will be holding a Webinar with SmartCompany next Wednesday 16 April on boosting web traffic to your site. It’s free, but you need to register to “attend”.



Chris Thomas heads Reseo a search engine optimisation company which specialises in setting up and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns, Affiliate Programs and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.

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