Speculating About The Visual Future Of Search Results

Danny has written extensively about the past and potential future of search. And this past year we saw the introduction of “blended” or “universal” search. Among other developments, search results became much more “multi-media” and visual. In particular, video became part of organic and, most recently, paid search results. Accordingly, I believe that the future of search will be considerably more visual than it is today.

Mapping sites such as Microsoft Live Search Maps and Google Earth, with their layers of information, including images, text, community content, and video, offer much visually richer interfaces tied to location. However, though compelling, the size and limitations of these applications prevents them from becoming true mainstream search engines — at least for now. It’s also not always appropriate to render information on a map. (Though increasingly it’s happening to news as an alternative presentation of content.)

Video search engines like Truveo and Blinkx or shopping comparison engines (e.g., Like.com) are highly visual by definition.

However, there are a range of interesting and relatively new general purpose “visual search engines” that are seeking to offer something different than text-based results. There have always been “visual” presentations of search results (and preview features such as Ask’s binoculars or, more recently, Snap’s plug-in) as an alternative to “10 blue links.” However, these newer sites are on to something that may eventually take hold.







None of these sites in particular may succeed and they all have quirks and awkwardness. Arguably inspired by some of Apple’s desktop and iTunes content presentations, however, they point the way to potential new directions consistent with the increasingly visual content of search results.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Search Engines: Other Search Engines


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.

Comments are closed.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide