Google is taking a page from software as a service when it comes to offering up what it thinks Web searches want or need before they even think of it.
As part of the Internet search giant’s 20th anniversary late last month it announced a newsfeed type listing that will appear below the search bar on Google’s mobile homepage. There users will find videos and stories that Google’s algorithms think web surfers should see. The idea is to turn users on to items and content that they may not have been thinking about but would be appealing to them. In a blog post at the time Google said it’s Google feed, which it launched in 2017 to find relevant content even when a person isn’t searching, now has more than 800 million people using it each month. The latest feature is building on that success. “Providing greater access to information is fundamental to what we do,” Google’s head of search, Ben Gomes, said in a recent blog post. “There are always more ways we can help people access the information they need.”
Offering up content without actually searching for it thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning is far ahead of what Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page envisioned when they created the Internet search engine. Back then website rankings were based on how many other websites linked to them. Now the world is much more customized and personalized requiring tech companies to serve up content and information that matters to individuals. Software plays a huge role in this as does data analysis. As companies like Google collect reams of data on their customers, being able to identify patterns in the data to provide relevant products and services is growing in importance.
Outside of Google all sorts of SaaS firms are helping companies harness everything from their data to machine learning. They are building platforms to update software, cloud computing infrastructure to support storage and computing processing and platforms to help enterprises land top talent among other things.
For Google, there may be more of a motivation then becoming a SaaS for the countless Web surfers it counts as customers. With the Internet giant facing competition from the likes of Amazon for advertising dollars, it has to breathe new life into its core search business. After all, the majority of the revenue from that unit comes from ads. If it can serve up more relevant content before the user even knows it needs it, that may be a powerful proposition for marketers around the globe.