Google Search has evolved quite a bit from a single search bar and now contains a ton of modules to give users what they want as quickly as they can. This manifests itself in sections optimized for different verticals: sports, travel, shopping, weather, Wikipedia, and really anything that can be somewhat structured.
I discovered a new module yesterday when doing a search for an online thesaurus. Rather than just have a link to thesaurus.com, Google showed a search field that is hooked up directly to the thesaraus.com search. I don’t know if this was done solely by Google or required some collaboration but it’s another way Google is delivering more immediate answers and further capturing user attention.
It’s interesting to see where this leads. Google has gotten modules for the obvious verticals but clearly there are a ton left. In the extreme case a user can get every answer via the search results page but then there’s very little incentive for content creators to actually produce the information. At the same time, Google will continue to improve their data science and machine learning models and will be able to tackle more and more generic questions. This is akin to the differences between narrow and general AIs. Right now our these are designed around specific use cases but as technology and AI matures we’ll see more general results that will be able to surface the desired results immediately.