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Google search

Google turns 20, so what’s next?

The world’s most popular search engine is celebrating a birthday this week, but you’ll need to buy your own cake.

When you want to find something on the internet, we all know to Google it, but twenty years ago, that wasn’t the case. In the early days of the internet, there were more search engines, and more places to turn to, but the prevalence of Google has changed that.

Does anyone remember AltaVista? Lycos? Excite? Ask Jeeves? Infoseek? Yahoo?

Barely a pinch of these are still operating, and that’s partly because of how much Google has changed our landscape, originally developing an algorithm for the quick sorting of webpages, which at the time was around 25 million pages.

In 20 years, the web has grown to hundreds of billions, and search engines have had to wise up to scan and deliver content indexes accordingly, and one way the company plans to keep doing this is AI.

Included as part of its 20th birthday blog, Google is reportedly building the next generation of search to change how we think about search, with artificial intelligence sitting at the heart.

AI will be used to construct micro stories about select searches, while featured videos will play in mobile search when you go looking, and since Google owns YouTube, likely from there.

Google’s image search technology in Google Images will be connected with Google Lens to use AI to scan things inside the image and tell you about them, and it could mean that you’ll know what clothing item a celebrity is wearing and where to buy it simply because Google will tell you.

Searches will be added to personal collections, helping you to find and organise important searches, so you’re not re-searching again and again, while topics and subtopics related from one search to another will be sourced, as well.

And if you can believe it, artificial intelligence underpins much of this.

Google’s massive setup of interconnected computers trained to think like a brain — the neural networks we’re beginning to use, even if we don’t realise it — are helping to make it happen.

And that’s just on the search side of things, because with Google existing in your web browser with Chrome, your smartphone with Pixel and Android, your smarthome with Assistant and Home, your mail, your chat, your desktop, laptop, and so much more, Google is only going to get bigger.

Sit back, and serve yourself a slice of digital cake, because we expect we’ll be celebrating more Google birthdays in the years to come.

Digital cake isn’t real cake, by the way. If you want cake, go out and buy yourself a cake. Google “cake” and find the nearest cake-seller or bakery, and get yourself some cake (that Google won’t pay for).

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