Future of the Web, Humanity, & Advertising


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I recently had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Qi Lu, President of Microsoft’s Online Services Division and got to hear his views on what the future holds for the web and search. The presentation was really interesting and actually put me in awe of how much possibility there is. Here are some of the innovations that the web has had and will see in the future:

  • Keywords ‘ search engines primarily ran on these in the beginning to gather search results
  • Geo-targeting ‘ implemented to help the user find more location relevant search results
  • Apps ‘ helped bring the web’s information to user’s on-the-go
  • Social ‘ developed to connect you with your friends. Implementing this into search engines is the next step for Microsoft and by teaming up with Facebook, this gives them a huge advantage
  • Task Completion ‘ another soon to be new frontier in the world of search engines. For example, right now searching ‘dinner for two, movie after’? will not generate relevant results for what you want. But in a smarter web with task completion, you will yield results for restaurants and movies nearby, both with reviews or ratings from people you know, location information, as well as maybe an ad for cabs to take you from the restaurant to the movies, all in one search

With all of these innovations, one person mentioned the printing press and how the invention of it indirectly┬ásparked the Enlightenment. So with a smarter web that is even more accessible to everyone, what does this mean for humanity? Lu’s take on it is that an increased interconnectivity of the world is going to bring people much closer together and that the idea of community will be radically transformed, as well as what constitutes a civil behavior.

Also with a more streamlined and smarter web, one wonders how advertising will change and if it will even still be relevant to us anymore. Lu believes advertising is here to stay and with good reason. If there was no advertising then there would be no information to search for. Advertising is what informs us of new information regarding certain products or services that we would otherwise not know about. However, the portal in which that information is delivered is and will constantly change. This is why startups like Groupon have reached an unprecedented amount of success in today’s market. Now more than ever, Lu believes startups have a huge opportunity to help shape the web’s future.

Web innovation is all about making the most out of everything the web has to offer. Streamlining it into your day-to-day life is what successful innovation is made of. Innovators eventually want to reach a point where the web can read your mind and your intent so well that it will be able to generate relevant results, as well as ads. It seems that a psychic internet may be a long way away but only because there is still much left to be discovered.

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