Google's focus in 2009 – Search

In saying that Google’s focus in 2009 will be search, I appear to be going out on a limb.  It is tough to find anyone else who pins it down so precisely.

Many seem to be following the traditional advice on forecasting.  If you are making forecasts, make a lot of them.  For example if you check The Big List of 2009 Marketing Predictions then you can find almost any forecast you might wish to make about Google.

ZDnet cuts it down to 15 and I must admit TalkBack 10 of 15 would seem to have merit.  That states: Google’s 2009 focus: cost control and revenue.  Prudent management forces that, but it still does not suggest what Google’s focus might be in the sense of giving some direction.

You might think the latest BBC video on Google’s focus in 2009 might give the answer. It poses the question: Google dominates the world of web search but will it get lucky in finding new ideas?

Their technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones went to Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters to find out. They even interview Matt Cutts who seems to suggest Google will continue to allow a lack of focus in its research activities.

Perhaps the most telling item in the video comes from a search startup in Mountain View, Kosmix.  Venky Harinarayan and his business partner Anand Rajaraman co-founded Kosmix in 2005

In the Kosmix blog, they state the following about the future of search.

Current technology can come close to answering (simple) questions but it gets harder as the questions get more complex. An ideal information extraction system would not only be able to answer all these questions but will be able to tailor the answers to your needs.

According to ReadWriteWeb, that may be exactly what Google is beginning to offer.  They ask, Did Google Just Expose Semantic Data in Search Results?

In what appears to us to be a new addition to many Google search results pages, queries about birth dates, family connections and other information are now being responded to with explicitly semantic structured information. Who is Bill Clinton’s wife? What’s the capital city of Oregon? What is Britney Spears’ mother’s name? The answers to these and other factual questions are now displayed above natural search results in Google and the information is structured in the traditional subject-predicate-object format, or "triples," of semantic web parlance.

That is why I come down firmly on the view that the simple answer on Google’s focus is as always search.  In lean times they may even focus more strongly on search while not forgetting the bottom line.

16 thoughts on “Google's focus in 2009 – Search”

  1. You are exactly right. Google constantly reinforces this message. They have consistently talked about investing 80+% of their resources in search (or maybe they say search plus adsense). but in any event Google’s management does not get distracted by the number of other things going on, they know to focus most of their resources where most of their income is coming from (directly or indirectly).

  2. Good article!
    Although what I think people forget is, when your business is and was made by search and then advertising, you do need to stick with your core businesses, as your main objectives for a year which is going to be dominated by saving money firstly and then making money – which is Google’s strength of course!
    One thing I would point out also is they actually have or had a buying culture pre 2009, so purchasing companies rather than try and develop their own versions (this has been their stand point the previous 3 years or so)
    What will be interesting IMHO is what partnership will they form. I still think personally they may try and wrap up the facebook search deal as Microsoft clearly is not performing and partner up with more social sites to provide search and advertising facilities/platforms.

  3. I agree with Danny D. Search is what made Google famous, and they have been able to maintain their dominance in this area. Of course every successfull business wants to broaden their reach and expand their market, but they should be very careful not to let the search part of their business go by the wayside. Other companies like Yahoo have been trying to compete with them on this for several years now, and all it takes is one lucky break to knock Google off the top of the list.

  4. Google or Big G as I call them have done much to improve their search but with more and more competition they should pay even more attention.

  5. Nice article. As a basic search site, google should keep working on its search parts. New techniques will be prompted to pick up the right search contents.

  6. As Google is getting bigger, their operation is also being spread wider. Let’s just hope they won’t be neglecting any of the small details so that there would be no large mistakes to regret later. I’ve been using the Google Chrome and I like the separate tabs feature so that when I got a crash, only the tab in use will be affected. Thanks, Google!

  7. Google is always advancing faster because of the way the owners see things and think about new ideas and innovation. They encourage their employees to brainstorm as well instead of just take instructions.

    Google’s web spam team also has a lot on their plate for 2009 and are asking webmasters to send in their thoughts about what Google should do to fix spam.

  8. Agree re: search being the #1 priority. Sometimes it’s easy to forget, but search really is the backbone of everything else Google does. Sure, they have something like an 80% market share for search right now, but any ground they lose automatically translates into lost opportunities to serve up their PPC ads, etc.

    Google can’t walk away from search at this point and I don’t think they will. I, like you, think they might double down on search this year.

  9. Very nice post, i love the post like this. Very informative and straightforward. If the google is focusing on the search this year, well, it is a good news. We all know that google made it to the top because of their search. I would like to see the google refining the relevancy issue on searches. People are getting tired on the nonsense articles that sells nonsense products and scams. They should focus on the relevancy, this time.

  10. Google continues to be the biggest and the best. They simply know what they are doing, hire the best employees, and continue to take over the internet search world!

  11. My guess is google now has classified search terms according to category, say eg. “Snow removal” into business and “Elvis” for Entertainment. There may be a combination of Entertaintment and business like “Buy Elvis Love me tender” etc. But G will display the results based on the category of the keywords.

    The result for an entertainment KW search will give you lot of multimedia content like video, podcast and social media..

    As for business you may see Local listings, Maps, Phone numbers, reviews etc

    Lets wait and see ..

  12. I agree that search will continue to be a major focus for big G in the new year. Especially making improvements in local search and mobile search. But I think they will still be on the look out to snap up smaller companies that offer value and the potential for growth. This has been a tactic of theirs for some time.

  13. Some friends say that Google is no.1 in Search already so next coming years it would focus on other models that earn money much more, Adwords and Adsense for example.
    Its about global Google and I have no clues for its strategies but as a local Vietnamese, I think Google Vietnam should do focus more on Search. Its robots need to understand more about Vietnamese language and semantics.
    @Blog Owner: I like the way you present the idea. I learn something. 🙂

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