21 April 2016

Is mobile search the next big thing?

Exciting and unpredictable times lay ahead for world of Mobile Search, yea that’s right! Mobile search by itself a big deal and not just a part of traditional search.
What makes me think this?

  1. Google’s own data which shows 50% + searches in 2015 on Google were made from Mobile device.
  2. For many people around the world, their 1st internet experience itself is on a mobile device, which makes them much more comfortable using it. Plus smart phones are (in most of the cases) cheaper than a laptop or PC.
  3. Tech biggies relying big time on Voice search and chatbots. So what exactly are these tech biggies doing?

Facebook:

First and foremost thing to remember is that when I say Facebook, it’s not just FB. FB family has grown very smartly and occupies nearly 60% share on smartphone’s frequently used apps. It consists of FB app, Messenger, Whatsapp & Instagram. Now that’s big deal, real big deal. FB had to do something with messenger app, hence it forced people to download it. Now the time has come it reveals it’s plans for messenger app.

Last week at Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference it announced the Messenger app open to developers for making Chatbot. Simply put chatbot is Artificial Intelligence enabled bot/software which analyses data in your chat and comes out with answers. Now chatbot by itself is not very new concept. Many apps like Lark and Penny are using chatbot system in their  apps. In fact their whole app is based on this. Lark is a personal health trainer bot and Penny is into financial saving. The apps chat exactly like humans do and answers come after analysing data which is given by the user.

Looks so easy and common on face of it, but this system when put with FB’s messenger or Whatsapp can really change the world of e-Commerce and Digital Advertising. Imagine brands chatting with their prospective customers or giving service to their existing customers on FB’s messenger app. Apart from local business listings FB hasn’t really done any big thing with it’s business pages. Chatbots could be the next big thing wherein brands can connect the customers who already like their page and connect via messenger app (but using a bot).

Let’s say an online clothing store gets many queries about the product, size, etc.. before any one actually buys. This bot can really be helpful and I see this happening as early as next year.

This also means there would be bots which would pull data from search engines. It would be very interesting to see if FB would allow developers to pull data from Google or it would rely on it’s own search engine and bing combined!

Google: 

Google is already gearing up and making it’s search mobile friendly. We have seen this happening since end of 2014 and continuous upgrades are seen since than. Introducing AMPs is seen as it’s biggest move till date. AMPs are Accelerated Mobile Pages, they are pages designed specially for Mobile ecosystem keeping in mind that however fast the cellular data may be, it can become slow when the loading rich media files.

According to David Besbris, Vice President, and engineer – Google Search:

The project relies on AMP HTML, a new open framework built entirely out of existing web technologies, which allows websites to build light-weight web pages. 

What’s next on Google’s plate?

As far as mobile search is concerned, Google is quite concerned with how things are shaping up & for the first time ever Google’s traditional search does look to be challenged by unconventional technologies like chatbot and voice search. Undoubtedly Google has been working hard with voice search and Google now. But real change will come when Google’s mobile search results would start showing results from apps. This can be possible when Google starts indexing apps, this can be real game changer and may be a little cause of confusion with Apple Ecosystem users.

Apple:

Apple’s siri & spotlight search combined are already a formidable force along with Safari (which charges Google to be it’s default search engine). This shows the dominance of Apple in smart phone market, and it’s not just dominance in terms of numbers but also in terms of spending ability, Apple device owners are traditionally seen as cash cow for many companies.

Coming back to siri & spotlight, they do perform some great tasks by themselves. Spotlight search can do basic calculations and conversion. This essentially uses chatbot technology without speaking much about it. However the spotlight still does not dive into data of all the apps (installed) on the handset. Imagine if this happens,  it could give a very big jolt to traditional search.

It depends on Apple & Google how it will shape up. Who has the convincing power with App developers or this would also be the same old territory game wherein Spotlight would be used by Apple & Google search by Android to pull up App data.

However it may shape up, few things are certain. The mobile search landscape is getting bigger and will grow faster than you think, the 3 companies stated above would be at forefront of this revolution.

Which industries/sectors would be the first ones to adopt mobile search and chatbot tech ?

It’s tough call but probably out of Fashion E-Commerce, Health & Personal Finance.

At FiDigital you can be rest assured about the changing times, we will keep you ahead the curve every time. Till next time, take care!

This post was brought to you by FiDigital, Melbourne’s own Digital Marketing Company. Helping SMEs in their Digital growth and guaranteeing success as well as transparency.

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