Will search still be the driving force of digital media usage and revenues? Probably not.
Consider the driving forces of the internet over the past few decades:
1980s: Bulletin Board Services (BBS) and early internet service providers - generally message boards, text-based games, and a few other add-ons
1990s: AOL and the closed internet service provider communities, with Yahoo leading the directory-based browseable web
2000s: Google heralding the age of search, followed by Facebook popularizing the social web
2010s: Well, we're still in the 2000s mode. It hasn't fully played itself out yet, but search and social remain dominant, and mobility is rapidly changing how we engage with media, commerce, and each other.
So what will media be like in 2020? That's the premise of my latest post in Ad Age, Google's Fight to Kill Search by 2020:
There's a quiet war brewing among technology companies – one that, if successful, will shift billions of dollars of media spending while upending the fundamentals that underpin how marketers reach consumers today. It's the war on search, a war whose most interesting battle will be the one Google is waging against itself...
There are several intersecting trends that may contribute to a future where the need to search is minimized and preempted. All of the trends center on the availability of data, which will in turn be processed, analyzed, and applied in ways to anticipate consumers' needs before those needs are expressed. The biggest contributor of data is consumers' mobility, and the precise location beacons will contribute to the precision of the predictive analytics.
Read the full piece at Ad Age and let me know what you think.