Amit Singhal, Google’s head of search, posted about his 14-year work anniversary on Google+ today and also shared what he feels are the 10 biggest Google search milestones since 2004.
In 2004, 4 years after Singhal started working for Google, the company introduced their IPO. They’ve made a range of big bets since then, Singhal says, but the heart of Google is still search.
Singhal also shares that there were a whopping 890 improvements to Google Search last year alone, and the company intends to keep moving forward and making things better. “In 2024, the Google of 2014 will seem ancient, and the Google of 2004 prehistoric.”
In a reflection of the progress that has been made to Google search since 2004, Singhal listed these as the 10 biggest milestones:
1. Autocomplete: A way for Google to predict the most likely useful words and phrases as you type, and load search results instantly.
2. Translations: Google Translate was barely a beta product ten years ago. Today people use it in 80 languages to do over a billion translations a day.
3. Directions and traffic: Maps made it possible to ask, “How far is it to Santa Cruz?” and open walking, biking, public transit, or driving directions and find the fastest route.
4. Universal search: Universal search blends different types of results so you get the most relevant info, no matter the format.
5. Mobile and new screens: Google adapted Search to all types of mobile devices, which included redesigning their mobile products to facilitate faster typing for quicker results.
6. Voice search: Now you can now ask questions by voice in the Google Search app instead of typing your query. “We’ve invested years of research into speech recognition and natural language understanding, and voice search works in 38 languages today.”
7. Actions: With the Google Search app you can quickly text, email or call someone without digging and typing. Just say: “Ok Google, send an email to Jason: do you guys want to go to the beach with us for a picnic this Saturday?” You can even set sophisticated reminders like “Remind me to pick up coffee filters next time I’m at Target,” and Google will buzz your phone when you get to any Target.
8. The Knowledge Graph: Google built the Knowledge Graph to show how things are connected—ask “How tall do you have to be to ride the Cyclone?” or “Who’s in the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy?”, and then click to explore across the web.
9. Info just for you: If you’ve got a flight reservation saved in your Gmail, you can ask the Google Search app, “What gate does my flight leave from?” and get the answer directly.
10. Answers before you have to ask: If you have the Google Search app on your phone, you’ll get automatic help with everyday tasks. Google can automatically show you your plane, bus, and train reservations right when you need them.