Marissa Mayer discussed some of the new product that Google announced over the last year, including the recent integration of real-time news streams into the default search pages, Google Music Search and Google Wave. Talking about the future of search, Mayer expects that people will soon do searches by talking to their phones, or through services like the newly announced Google Goggles.In an interview with TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington at LeWeb today, Google's
Going Beyond Text
While Mayer expects the search market to continue to grow, she also thinks that a lot of additional growth can come from introducing new ways of searching the web. Translation and personalization are also a major issue for Google.
Asked about SearchWiki - which Arrington considers a failure - Mayer said that Google wants to morph the user experience a bit, but didn't go into any details.
Regarding the Google Goggles and Google's current dependency on text to power its search, Mayer noted that the application looks at more than just location data and image recognition algorithms. Speech recognition, however, is still easier to do for Google than image recognition.
Talking about mobile searches, Mayer said that the number of mobile searches doubled last year. Mobile searches make up slightly more than 5% of all of the search queries that Google processes.
Chrome and the ChromeOS
With regards to Chrome, Mayer noted that Google wants to focus on the user experience with features like the new tab page. She described the ChromeOS as an anti-operating system. In total, Google sees "tens of millions of Chrome users," though characteristically, Mayer did not go into any details.
Google and the News Media
Google wants to increase users' engagement with news. According to Mayer, if we were to reinvent the news today, it would look very different from what we know today. She cited Google Living Stories as an experiment that tries to reinvent the news for the 21st century.
Currently, readers tend to come to articles from Google and only read one article. To increase engagement, Mayer wants to create more personalized services. In addition, she also thinks that newspapers can do a better job at keeping users on their sites. Why, for example, do most sites not offer links to related articles?
The Future of News
Mayer's vision of the future of news is a personalized stream of news that is portable. The personalization would take into account stories that your friends read, location and a knowledge of the topics a user is interested in. Asked about Rupert Murdoch, Mayer noted that Google partnered with MySpace to aggregate real-time status updates from MySpace users. She hopes that Murdoch will not pull all of his content out of Google.
Surprisingly, Mayer didn't completely deny that Google would be willing to pay publishers for their content.
Mayer said that she was happy with Google Music as a start, especially because it includes song lyrics. Mayer sidestepped any discussion about the future of Google's Music search feature.
Google and Social Networks
Asked about Google Social Search, Mayer noted that search can help social networks by helping users to find experts in their circle of friends. Mayer noted that users are more likely to trust their friends when it comes to certain queries (snow conditions, for example). The perfect search engine would also be able to crawl private updates that a user is credentialed to see.
Mayer also noted that Google might be able to help to create an authority ranking system for real-time updates from services like Twitter and Facebook.
Arrington asked Mayer if users need to be trained better to understand Wave or if Google plans to tweak the experience. Permanent URLs are one of the features that Google plans to add. The fact that Google Wave doesn't have critical mass yet is also hindering the experience. Some teams at Google are currently using Wave for their internal communication. Mayer did not make any announcement regarding the future of Wave.