Google’s CEO on what search will look like in 10 years

Google's CEO Sundar Pichai Interview

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, sat down for a discussion on AI that inevitably focused on the future of search. He explained his search and the role of websites, insisting that the only thing that is different is the technology.

These are the early days

The interviewer asked if Sundar was taken aback by how quickly AI has advanced recently. The CEO of Google made it clear that Google was really at the forefront of AI and that they have been building the infrastructure for it since 2016. He also reminded the interviewer that the world is at the beginning of the era of AI and that there is much more. arriving

Sundar replied:

“… one of the main things I did as CEO is to really pivot the company around working on AI and I think that will serve us well for the next decade.

For example, I look back now and calculus is the hot currency now. We built TPUs, we started really building them at scale in 2016, so we’ve definitely been thinking about this for a long time.

…we’ve always had an idea of ​​the trajectory ahead and in many ways we’ve been preparing the company for that and so I think fundamentally a lot of our R&D…a lot of has been in AI for a long time and so I feel incredibly well positioned for what’s to come.

It’s still early days, I think people are going to be surprised at the level of progress we’re going to see and I feel like we’ve only scratched the tip of the iceberg.”

The only thing different is the technology

Sundar was also asked about the future of research and what it would look like. There is a lot of anxiety from publishers and search marketers that AI will replace search entirely and that websites will go into decline, destroying the SEO industry with it.

So it may come as a relief that Google’s CEO anticipates a future in which people and websites continue to play as big a role in search as they do today.

He begins by stating that artificial intelligence has been a part of search for many years, and that the web ecosystem still plays a role in making search useful. It also underlines the point that the ten blue links haven’t been a thing for 15 years (people also ask, videos, top news, carousels), that Google has been giving direct answers (highlights, etc.) for a long time.

This is the question being asked:

How will things evolve? How will people access information in 10 years?

Sundar replies that the only thing different is the technology:

“Look, I think it’s one of the common myths that Google has been ten blue links for a long time. You know, when mobile arrived we knew that Google search had to evolve a lot. We call them highlights, but for almost ten years now, you go to Google to ask a lot of questions, we use artificial intelligence to answer them correctly, we call them web answers internally.

So we’ve always answered questions where we could, but we’ve always felt that when people come looking for information, people in certain cases want answers, but they also want the richness and diversity of what’s out there in the world and that’s a good balance to have and always, I think, we’ve struck that balance pretty well.

To me all that’s different is that now the technology you can respond with is progressing, so we’ll continue to do that. But this evolution has been underway in research for a long time.”

People trust search

Sundar noted that search has always evolved, and while it’s different today than it was fifteen years ago, it’s still about getting information out of the web.

It continued:

“Search used to be text and 10 blue links maybe 15 years ago, but you know, whether it’s images, whether it’s videos, whether it’s to find answers to your questions, those are all changes you know… to my point above, people shrug and … we’ve done all of this in Google search for a long time and people like it, people engage with it, people trust it.

So for me, I see it as a more natural continuation, obviously with LLM and IA. I think you have a more powerful tool to do that and so what we’re putting into search, you know with Search Generative Experience and so we’re going to continue to evolve in that direction as well.”

Search engines and the web go together

He was then asked about the issue of political and cultural biases in search engines, mentioning that Google’s output has been accused of reflecting the liberal biases of its employees. They asked him, how do you think what answer to give to the questions?

Sundar’s response again referred to the value of human-created information found on websites as the best source of answers. He said that even with Search Generative Experience, they still want to drive users to websites.

This is how he explained it:

“Let’s talk about search for a second here, you’re asking a very important question. I think you’re aware of the work we’ve done over many years to make sure that, from a search standpoint, we’re trying to reflect what’s out there on the web. And we want to give reliable and high-quality information. We had to navigate all of this for a long time.

I think we’ve always struck a balance, that’s what I’m saying, it’s not about giving an answer, there are certain times you give an answer, what’s the population of the United States, yes, it’s an answerable question. There are times when you want to surface the breadth of opinion out there on the web, which is what search does and does well.

Just because you say we summarize it at the top doesn’t mean we deviate from those principles. The summary can still tell you the range of opinions out there, and we do that all the time today.”

SGE is not a chatbot experience

This next part is very important because it emphasizes the word “search” in the phrase, Search Generative Experience to contrast it with talking to a chatbot.

There are many articles predicting the decline of search traffic due to SGE, but there are many reasons why this is not the case and Sundar explains this by differentiating the search experience from the chatbot experience. This is very important because it is a point that is missed by knee-jerk reactions that SGE will replace websites. According to Sundar, this is not the case because search and chatbots are two different things.

Your answer:

“And so I think that’s different than when you’re on a chatbot and I think that’s the most active area of ​​research where sometimes it has its voice, so how do you get those moments and you know again for for us, I think it’s an area where we’re going to be deeply committed to doing well.

How do you do it in a way that represents the wide range of views that people have around the world and I think there are many aspects, the problems with AI models are not just at Google, you see in other models”.

AI enhances search (not replaces it)

Towards the end of the discussion, Sundar describes AI as a technology that enhances current technologies (rather than something that replaces them). This is also an important point to consider when thinking about how AI will affect search and SEO.

His explanation of how AI improves but doesn’t necessarily replace it:

“…of course, as a company, you want to make sure that you’re capitalizing on those innovations and creating successful products, successful companies, but I think we’ve shown a long time ago that we can do that. What I’m excited about with AI is that it’s the same underlying technology, for the first time in our history, we have leveraged technology that can improve search, it can improve YouTube, it can improve Waymo, and we put it all as a cloud in our customers out and so I feel good about that.”

Related: Will AI replace SEO specialists?

Takeaway food

There was a lot of important information in this interview that provides the most complete picture of what the state of search will look like in the future.

Some of the important points:

AI is not new. He has been part of Google for many years. Google has provided answers and summaries for years. Websites are important to search SGE is not a chat experience, it’s a search experience. Search and chatbots are two different things. AI enhances search (not replaces it)

Watch the interview at 17 minutes:

Featured image by Shutterstock/photosince

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About the Author: Ted Simmons

I follow and report the current news trends on Google news.

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