It was interesting to hear Amit Singhal, Senior VP and Google Fellow, speak about the future of search today at Dubai Knowledge Village, and how search has moved from data to information to knowledge to wisdom. What was particularly interesting was something that he touched on concerning travel.
Google already knows a lot about us and our search habits, and it is able to tailor and fine-tune results based on location, history, preferences, etc. A thought occurred to me. Wouldn’t it be good to have an intelligent assistant from Google that not only answers my queries, but goes one step further and actually suggests relevant results based on my habits and activities?
For example, I do a fair bit of traveling. Let’s say I am traveling to London next week, and I have a TripIt calendar synced to my Google calendar. “Google Concierge” would now know my itinerary, based on which it could look up the following:
- The weather, and ideally what to pack. In this case a raincoat and a brolly for sure.
- Through my Google Music collection, it knows I am partial towards indie artists and bands. During my stay, it could suggest a few gigs that are close to my hotel (whose location was detected from my TripIt sync) and in walking distance, and then optionally alert me to buy tickets online.
- Based on my Google Wallet purchases, it knows that around 3pm I like to get my caffeine fix, so mid-afternoon it alerts me to a Starbucks in the vicinity.
- Let’s say that there is a way for it to connect to my RunKeeper health graph. It could inform me of routes around my location based on my running history.
- Finally, it could connect to my social networks (let’s just assume in the future they do talk to each other and inform me if any of my friends are in town, even potentially look up what we have in common and suggest some activities.
This is just scratching the surface. There are so many scenarios and possibilities, which would take us from asking questions to receiving suggestions. This would all happen invisibly in the background without the need to reach out for a mobile and look up numerous sites or use one of the millions of apps to get the information we need, truly making the tech invisible and in the process helping us to focus on the trip rather than the planning.
As humans we have to progress and this is just part of our evolution. Will it make us predictable, maybe? But I am sure Google can enable an “I’m Feeling Lucky” option to fix that!
UPDATE: Although I wrote this last week, I didn’t post this fast enough and some of these features have crept into Android Jelly Bean as announce in the Google IO!