Sometimes when I walk through book stores I read the titles on spines and imagine what the story is about. I’ll develop characters and elaborate plots which could make quite convincing stories. Except, usually my story is nothing like the story in the book.
I mention this because I watched Microsoft’s Bing video today. Supposedly, Bing will be the next evolution in organizing and presenting search results. Microsoft says Bing is not a search engine, it’s a decision engine. Watch the video here.
Except for the video, I do not know what Bing will be like, not really. I have not read the press releases or descriptions. I am not following the live press event as I write this. Instead, I’m going to tell you the story I saw on the book spine or, in this case, the vision of search that the Bing video evoked within me.
Up until now Internet search has remained in two separate compartments, organic and paid. The supposition is that you cannot maintain credibility and trustworthiness when you mix free and sponsored content.
But what if that paid content comes from experts at impeccable sources? What if that content is reviewed by other experts? To twist the model even more, what if the search engine pays a trusted expert to create content, then the search engine folds that content into its search results?
I think it will happen. I believe that in the near future search engines will mix
- Organic content
- Sponsored content
- Commissioned content
- In-house content
How will search engines overcome our prejudices against mixing the streams, against combining non-paid and paid search results? By presenting results people want. The average person doesn’t care where their information comes from. They want a search engine that works. They want to be able to buy that hard to find gift or book the cheapest flight or know what might be causing their symptoms. The average person does not care where their information comes from as long as it’s good information.
If the search engine of the future operates smoothly; provides correct, valuable and usable information; and looks good doing it, people will not argue about combining non-paid and paid content. They will hail it as a great leap forward. They may even turn the search engine’s name into a verb.