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International Search Predictions For 2013 – Perhaps More Accurate Than The Mayans?

As I write this piece, the Mayan calendar is about to end bringing about the demise of everything. So, if you’re reading this, we survived and the predictions were wrong. Predicting the future is always tricky, but I’m going to have a go at predicting 2013 in the confidence that more of what I say here is likely to happen, than the Mayans were ever able to predict!

The graphic below illustrates who I’m predicting will be the winners and losers (you can check back with me in a year’s time to see how I did) and more of an explanation follows! Don’t forget, I’m always talking about the global view — which is why tools such as Pinterest or Instagram don’t make it onto my grid! I admit, though that might be my first miss!

Winners And Losers 2013 Source: Webcertain

Winners And Losers 2013 Source: Webcertain

Google Launches Google People

We’ve heard all about Google’s increasing emphasis on authors, but surprisingly, there isn’t a Google People or Google Author vertical search option, and my first key prediction is that we’ll see something appear along these lines before the end of 2013.

Google already has the information flooding into its indexes and could deliver a depth of search for people well beyond anyone else’s capability.

Otherwise, it has to be said that Google will, in my humble opinion, find it difficult to progress dramatically globally, growing its share further — partly because it already has such a strong leadership position.

Linkedin Joins The Ranks Of Global Search Engines

I predict LinkedIn will go the opposite way to Google and create a global search engine — however, a search engine without a crawler. Do you know anyone who doesn’t have a Linkedin profile? How many of the people listed connect to a webpage?

For me, the addition of a different style search box and a method of extracting information from the ‘structured’ format that users create when building their profiles, and presenting this in the more traditional, unstructured data style of 10 blue links would generate of lot of interest and traffic.

You’ll note that LinkedIn has also started giving users the opportunity to profile their connections by endorsing their skills. Imagine that you’re searching for a civil engineering consultancy, LinkedIn will be able to point you to the firm, the website, the capabilities and the key people to talk to. Now, that’s a powerful form of search — if you were on LinkedIn, you’d do it, wouldn’t you?

Yandex Moves Into Scandinavia

The team at Yandex have never given any clues as to which markets they may target next after their recent launch into Turkey. But my speculation is Scandinavia. Why? The Nordic countries are wealthy and previously have seen the success of smaller local search engines such as Kvasir in Norway or Eniro in Sweden, so there is a cultural acceptance of local search.

How would this evolve? Quietly at first with no hullabaloo — then a launch with all guns blazing. And don’t forget, Norway and Finland both border with Russia.

App Search & Web Search Merge Into One

If you consider that Apps and websites do a similar job, then they should be listed alongside each other. Who would do this? You could argue that Google already does — but it doesn’t do this universally. Perhaps a partnership is needed between, say Apple and a Web index, of which there are just a few available, who could really achieve this globally.

However, Apple’s global success means that they are in line to benefit from this event whether they are a partner or not — hence their upwards track in the graphic above.

Siri Loses Its Cult Status

Ironically, just after saying that Apple would benefit from the merging of website and app search, I also see Siri fading as its trendy cult status starts to diminish. In fact, it has to be said I’m not aware of it attracting any real search traction outside of the English-speaking world, and not even there, really.

Siri certainly isn’t a ‘verb’ yet in that people don’t say “I’ll just Siri it!” To be fair, I’m personally not a fan of voice search anyway and the way that texting and emails have replaced phone calls for many, makes me think the public isn’t that enamoured either.

Bing Loses Ground

I’m so sorry; I’d love to say Bing and the Bing-Yahoo Alliance would make inroads but, ignoring the US, the alliance has been a global disaster with more loss of share than gain — especially in Asia.

It seems to me that to reverse this situation, Bing needs to completely re-invent search meaning; they need to do something radically different to make any serious progress.

Twitter Remains At The Center Of Everything

Twitter is well placed ,right at the center of things — but is stuck there, not moving or innovating in search. Don’t forget, this is just my opinion, but I think Twitter could be so much more than it is by improving its search functions — but I doubt it will.

Facebook Struggles To Figure Out Growing Up

Like Twitter, Facebook is at the center of things but is struggling with its own identity and purpose. But, that doesn’t change it’s rather significant role in discovery, and its advertising services and revenue will continue to grow. But, it won’t go much further and will itself be working hard to retain and engage its customer base amongst growing competition.

Search could have been a goldmine for Facebook, but it’s management doesn’t seem to see the connection — even despite its relationship with Bing.

Baidu Makes Progress With Mobile & Holds Its Position In China

Baidu watchers have been concerned about a perceived weakness from the Chinese giant as far as picking up the mobile search opportunity is concerned, and there is a worry about the progress of new entrants such as Quihoo 360.

Baidu has been putting a lot of effort into improving its search success on mobiles, and I believe 2013 will see it stabilising its position. However, it’s focus on competing in China will not see it moving much globally, partly thanks to worrying about and defending its existing China search crown.

Rogue Entrant Surprises Us All!

There will be surprises and, as the little alien man in my graphic represents, there is likely to be a new entrant from left of field that surprises us all! That’s what makes global search so fascinating.

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