Google recently launched a personalized news feed on the company’s flagship app, and it will soon discontinue the browser versions of google.com.
The update is a huge deal as it will be the most radical change to Google’s famously simple home page since 1996, or at least since the its big push behind Google+, which began in 2011. Since then it has been considered a failure. Google will also compete directly with the Facebook News Feed, which generally provides the same type of information like sports scores, viral videos, and news.
Take an example of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Uber as they have all recently introduced artificial intelligence into their core products, working to predict your requests before you even type them.
This is a major problem for Google, as it is still dependent on search traffic to earn its revenue. Even though Google has launched plenty of other products besides search, few of them make any money.
In the first quarter of 2017, Google still made 99.9% of its total revenue from search, display, and video advertising.
In about a decade, experts predict artificial intelligence is going to perform better than humans in many complicated tasks, and it’s easy to imagine how Google Search could become a casualty of this seemingly unstoppable trend.
The search bar might soon look like an old historical object from the past. Instead, we will likely be fed relatable information based on our location, the time, and our general usage habits. Search will always be available but its relevance will fade over time as artificial intelligence becomes stronger.
Google knows its search and advertising business can’t last forever, especially in its current form. Its parent company Alphabet desperately seeks a more diverse revenue stream, and ideally, someday, it could make money from all of its various products.
This doesn’t mean that Google Search will be wiped off the face of the planet but search as we know it will die. The new update to the Google app is a rather small, iterative update, but it will quickly spread to other products (if we’re to take Google’s word for it). It’s easy to overlook, but in my eyes, it marks the beginning of the slow demise of Google Search.
The question now for Google is, will the new “feed” be the beginning of something else?