For almost a decade, professionally I have thought mostly about search. How can it improve…. make it easier and easier to find the things we need. I feel like have come to know Google like a person that I feel I have a personal relationship with.
Because we staff our Brisbane companies in the Philippines I spend a good deal of my time there. I get to experience first hand life without search… Filipinos just don’t use it. It is uncommon for any country to not use search. The surrounding nations throughout Australasia use search engines like Google. Our company performs website optimisation so your business can feature prominently in the search engine results page.
I remember before Google was geographical. One would enter something like ’hardware shop’ while you are in Brisbane, and get results including perhaps Darwin or Sydney. There was a rush of ‘Local’ company startups who aim would be to rank on Google for anything with a clue about the location such as a city name. For a while searching for say ‘computer tech Brisbane’ companies like ‘True Local’ or ‘Reach Local’ page-listings would feature highly in the Search Engine Results page. The Local companies would sift the traffic off Google… now I doubted Google would do absolutely nothing about that.
Then came the amazing digital globe Google Earth. Brilliant and free… guaranteed to go viral. This is where Google beat my imagination to bits…. I knew the Local Search problem would be addressed I never expected it to be at this extent. Everybody loved it instantly and wished we had that at school while were young. It was installed onto most computers worldwide in a matter of weeks. First invented as EarthViewer 3D by Keyhole Incorporated which was a CIA company (Central Intelligence Agency) funded company and acquired by Google in 2004. Earth is a virtual digital copy of our planet earth. You can upload photos and descriptions of destinations and it feels very much like virtual travel to use.
“..I continue to ponder what the mighty Search Engine might come up with next …. to bring the real world and its virtual digital reproduction even closer together.”
Soon after, the overlay Google Maps was released. So we can view the Earth as a Map, or as photographs, or even in a hybrid mode. Then Google Pins were added, the catalyst that will prove to draw technology resistant business to use Google and the Internet. I believe Google uses the telephone network and/or The old failing Yellow Pages to identify various business locations. Google placed the Pins over the map with the added very tempting opportunity to ‘claim your pin’ for free. Claims were made by way of either accepting a phone call in which a digital pin code is read to you, or by sending a Postcard through the old postal service containing the Pin Number. Once claimed, businesses can upload their logo and photographs, information about their products and services and trading hours etc.
It would be hard to imagine from here how Google could make search much better. Why take photos from the sky only, why not have photos from the street level too? Introducing Google Street View. The 3D camera cars were born and set out taking rolling photos of every street in the world. Now we can search the globe from above.. and then drop down into the street for a virtual look around. But why stop there…. you can also ‘fly into Spherical Panorama’ and jump into a virtual 360 degree space. There are also art museums you can enter into and zoom in on paintings in more detail that you can achieve with the aged eye.
The addition of Google + (Plus) was better late than never… and a long way behind other reviewing platforms such as TripAdvisor. However with Google + being generic you can review everything from a Laundromat to a mower shop.
Dare I say it Search is perfect. It is seamless, easy and complete. I continue to ponder what the mighty Search Engine might come up with next …. to bring the real world and its virtual digital reproduction even closer together.
I visit Manila and I see Google only now setting up sophisticated offices and their Google Street Cars beginning to map the streets. To find anything you have to ask someone who asks someone who is ‘in the know’. The Pins have been dropped on the map in 2015… they are up for claiming. We are about to see it happen just as it did in Australia with a huge migration of traffic off the roads and onto the internet to find the things people need. Life without search is painful and unproductive.. We welcome Google to the Philippine Islands.