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Google Hummingbird in context: the future of information

Google Glass – just like Google Hummingbird another step in the age of intelligent context
Google Glass – just like Google Hummingbird another step in the age of intelligent context

Google’s Hummingbird is yet another step towards the future of information, content and data – as unusual.

Google recently introduced a new algorithm: Hummingbird. You probably know that. Google’s Hummingbird has been looked upon from all possible angles, mainly in the marketing space. Yet, even if it’s a huge algorithm change – under the hood – Hummingbird is merely a small step in what is yet to come in an increasingly real-time and contextual evolution of information and content.

The messages – if there are any to send at all – Google sends to marketers and businesses have always been simple and it’s not different now: 1) we organize content and information , 2) when organizing and displaying information we let new and ever more sophisticated technologies and the accuracy of search queries and user intent prevail, and 3) we don’t care about business goals in an organic search context. We’re moving towards systems of meanings with clusters of content and a topical approach whereby different content items are connected to offer more relevance to searchers.

As Mike Corak says when describing his keynote at the Content Marketing Conference: “Topics, not Keywords: How to Make Content Work for Brands with Google Hummingbird” provides valuable insight as search engines move away from keywords and into semantics to find the best answer for a users’ inquiry.

No one cares about the content you care about (unless they care)

Indeed, Google really doesn’t care about your business objectives. Nor do customer, prospects and everyone looking for content and information matching their needs at any given point in time. In this finding lies a key for all those worried marketers and to tackle the eternal problem we see recurring in the use of content: make sure your content and information is useful, accurate, and utterly task-oriented.

Much of the content that gets created every single day for customer purposes is still far too self-promotional. There is nothing wrong with creating content about products. As long as it’s used the right way. However – and this isn’t new either – many organizations still ignore the importance of a content (marketing) strategy and focus on what they want to communicate/create (alone) and/or what someone in the board room deems relevant instead of focusing on what people want them to offer, taking intent, purpose, meaning and the integration/semantics of it all into account first.

If there’s one thing Hummingbird shows, it’s that those days are going away. Maybe not now but very soon. It doesn’t imply that keywords, PageRank, search engine optimization, tagging, etc. don’t matter anymore. On the contrary. But you get the picture.

Time to go beyond just content: planning for intent, meaning and intelligence

With Hummingbird, announced at the occasion of Google’s 15th anniversary, the company doesn’t dramatically change the ways people search and find information just yet, even it might seem like that when looking at your ‘search strategy’ and at what’s under the Hummingbird hood. However, it again puts us further one the road towards more revolutionary changes, step by step, and you’ll soon discover where this road leads to.

To see that, let me repeat once more: Google doesn’t care about what you want to say as a business (that’s why it offers paid search). It cares about 1) making money and 2) fundamentally changing the way people find and work with information overtime. And this stretches far beyond search and Hummingbird. It involves the physical world and soon new devices (that one day will not even be devices anymore) too. And, like it or not, the role of new technologies will rapidly grow in this broader picture and even in a not too distant future outdo the potential and limits of the human brain.

That’s why marketers and business managers that want to plan for the mid-term future today, need to have a solid grasp of what is happening in information technology right now as evolutions will happen faster in some fundamental areas. There is a shift towards intelligent information management, driven by technological advances that are now growing exponentially as you’ll read in some follow-up posts.

The intelligent aspect is decreasingly becoming one of human intelligence and increasingly one of artificial intelligence at the service of human intent. That’s the context in which we have to see Google Hummingbird. Information, intent, intelligence, the unusual way. Intelligence as it shows in the infographic looking at the evolution of Google’s search below. A human/technological context that defines the future of content and information as your competitors might be implementing it today while you are planning the future of your business in a linear way.

Google Search Infographic – more intelligence
Google Search Infographic – more intelligence

It’s time to get informational basics right and start focusing on meaning and usefulness of information instead of on the blind belief that the value of content is defined by what you think is right. Soon you’ll have no choice and in a few years – if that long at all – you’ll be too late.

In a next blog post a peek into the future of some technologies and evolutions you should know about in the information, big data and content evolution context, of which Hummingbird – just like Google Glass and Google Now – is another exponent. In the meantime: look at meaning. Profoundly.

 

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