How Will Wearable Technology Affect Search?



Samsung recently introduced the Galaxy Gear, a “smartwatch” that runs on a version of the Android mobile operating system. Apple is expected to announce a smartwatch of its own in the near future. It got me wondering how wearable technology like these and Google Glass will change the way we conduct searches. Here are some thoughts. Searches will become less about typing and more about talking. People using voice-recognition technology use different search terms than they do when they’re at a keyboard. Voice searches tend to be longer, more conversational, and more specific. For example, if I was sitting at my computer, wondering who served the best deep-dish pizza in Chicago, I might type, “deep dish pizza chicago”. On the other hand, if I were driving around in Chicago, I might ask my phone, “what’s the best pizza place near here?” Takeaway: be sure your SEO and PPC efforts include long-tail search terms, geographic keywords, and verbal language. Searches will become less about words and more about images. One of Google’s less well known services is Goggles, a function of Google’s mobile app that allows you to use your phone’s camera to perform searches. Currently, the results are limited primarily to well-known landmarks. It’s a safe bet, though, that Google is working to grow its database of images and its image-recognition technology.  As it does, its ability to recognize ordinary objects will become tremendously powerful. Takeaway: be sure your site uses lots of images, especially if you sell tangible products. Also, be sure your images have title and description tags to help Google recognize them. The notion of searching will be fundamentally transformed. As our devices become smarter and more integrated into our persons, they will develop the ability to anticipate the kind of information we desire. Instead of waiting for us to ask for information, they may begin to offer it proactively. Imagine you’re at an airport. Your smartphone knows you have two hours before your flight boards, and your Google Glass display notices that you’re looking at the airport Chili’s. It could alert you to the fact that Chili’s is running a free appetizer special. Maybe after you reach your destination, you go to a bar. The GPS in your phone knows where you are, and your smartwatch knows how frequently you raise your hand to your mouth. At a certain point, your phone might suggest the phone numbers of some local cab companies. Takeaway: get ready for a new wave of behavior-based push marketing. Also, be careful which hand you hold your beer with.