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Tim Mayer is the former head of search product and business at Yahoo.

The Future of Search

  • Traditional Search – You enter a query and get back a result.
  • Predictive Search – Search engines are able to connect your check-in history, personal profiles, and that of your friends to make recommendations for other plausible actions and transactions.

5 Key Trends That Will Influence Search

  1. Growth of mobile queries. By 2012, mobile queries will make up 1 in 5 searches. The largest categories of mobile search right now are informational, local, and product lookup.
  2. Growth in apps, not browsers. The majority of the time people spend on the phone, browser accounts for 50% of face time. Just a couple of years ago, browsers were taking 70-80% of the face time. We’re seeing a strong migration to apps.
  3. Input is difficult. We’re going to have to find more ways to integrate our personal data “inputs” from the past to impact current searches.
  4. More context. With the increase in local, more results will be returned in the context of location.
  5. “Verticalizing” SERPs. People are starting to go directly to brand sites, i.e. Amazon, etc. to search, and less to search engines. Look to search engines to start integrating more of these results.

Opportunities for service providers

App discovery is the key to customer satisfaction in the smart phone era. Right now, it’s difficult for people to identify which apps are really the best and most effective for accomplishing their goals.

There’s a huge opportunity for technology to bridge the gap between apps and search boxes. In the future, we may see aggregators that determine which is truly the best search tool to use when you perform a search, be it app or HTML site, and automatically use those to return results, depending on the query and context.

Opportunities for publishers

Mobile advertising demand is not increasing at a very fast rate, so prices are still fairly slow. There’s an opportunity for

First mover app in a new category on new platform. Epicurious became the default recipe app for the iPad. There are other opportunities to capitalize on existing trends in new platforms.