Project Magi: Google’s Wisest Decision in 25 Years… One that Will Change Search Forever

Google’s Project Magi

Korean consumer giant Samsung is considering dumping Google as their default search engine across all devices in favour of the historically plucky search engine underdog, one that holds just 6.33% of the US search engine market share – Microsoft’s Bing. *

This story first gained traction at the start of April. Users would be forgiven for assuming that this was all some elaborate April Fool’s joke. Why would a business worth $335 billion, whose resources make up 20% of Korea’s GDP, suddenly choose to cut ties with a search engine that boasts 88.99% of the US market share and a whopping 93.37% worldwide? *

As astounding as this sounds, there’s more. According to a CNBC article published in September 2022, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, pays billions to telecom giants like Samsung and Apple to position itself as the No. 1 search engine in the world.

So, if Samsung is willing to consider severing its partnership with Google, forgoing what, in 2017, was a payment amounting to $3.5 billion, there has to be a really good reason. And there is.

Bing has stolen a march on Google in the tech race by integrating A.I. into its search functionality.

Artificial Intelligence Is the Future

The Samsung story rocked Google to its very core. It forced the search engine giant to go all in on A.I. It’s seen as the future. Keen industry observers will point to several projects currently in development within the hallowed halls of Google offices worldwide as evidence of this.

There are approximately 160 engineers working on Project Magi. A programme that focuses on adding new features to Google’s search engine. Insiders consider the project to be a stepping stone to a whole new search engine experience.

Then there’s Google Bard, an open AI language model conversational chatbot, that uses machine learning to crawl the internet and provide answers to queries and prompts presented by the user. Bard is quite hush, hush. Still very much in the developmental phase, with engineers and copywriters working round the clock to ensure the accuracy and proficiency of Bard’s answers.

If this platform sounds suspiciously familiar, it’s because the AI language model is. ChatGPT, the world’s first accurate conversational chatbot was launched on November 30th, 2022. It has since become a phenomenon, reaching 100 million users in two months. For reference, the supremely popular video sharing app, Tik Tok took nine and half months to reach the same milestone. It took Instagram almost two and a half years. *

Google is looking to follow in the footsteps of ChatGPT, blazing a trail and transforming our online experience.

What We Know About Project Magi Thus Far

Google will bolt AI functionality onto its existing search engine. This we know for sure. This will provide users with a highly personalised experience, one that fully anticipates their needs.

Think about how you interact with Alexa. Only a much smarter version of Alexa. One that learns on the fly as questions are asked, giving you a more honed, tailored, context-rich answer to any queries you have.

It’s the next logical step in the search functionality. Users want the most relevant answers, those that are adapted, tailored to their question. Something like the following:

Question: ‘Are You Sentient?’

Answer: ‘No I am not sentient. I am an artificial intelligence language model designed to process and respond to text input based on patterns and statistical analysis of language. While I can generate human-like responses and carry out a wide range of tasks, I do not possess consciousness or self-awareness.’

Seems good, right. Detailed. Filled with context that anticipates the user’s purpose for asking the question.

Now consider the typical search query response. You type the same question into Google. Hit search and be faced with pages and pages of search results links. Users still have to scroll through the pages to find the answer they want.

Sounds impressive, right? But wait. There’s more.

The Next Stage of Search Engine Evolution

As impressive as Project Magi is, it’s just the beginning. Google has even bigger plans, which start with a brand-new search engine. Project Magi is the beta test. Google has already put together a crack team of designers, engineers, and executives in charge of building a new search engine. An AI-driven experience. One that’s accessible in our homes, offices, on all devices, anywhere in the world.

However, there’s one big caveat. Don’t expect this search and AI integration to be rolled out anytime soon. Google doesn’t have a timeline for its release. We’ll just have to wait for the day when we open our browser only to be presented with Google answering a question we didn’t know we wanted to ask!

Think about the value of context in our everyday communication. Context can change meaning and response in an instant. It clarifies any message. It provides vital insight into the intent and direction any communication will head.

This is something that search engines, chatbots, and indeed any interactive online experience has sorely lacked. Until now.

Make Purchases on Google

As of 2023, there are approximately 2.64 billion people * who shop online across the globe. This represents 33% of the global population. As of January 2023, there were 5.16 billion global internet users, or 64.4% of the total global population. *  That means that approximately 50% of the global internet users shop online.

Why is this important? Well, according to rumours, in May 2023, Google will evolve online shopping by allowing people to browse and buy directly from its search engine. Whether you’re looking to buy a new outfit for a special occasion or book a flight to an exotic land, Google’s AI will crawl and find just what you’re looking for based on a range of parameters.

In an attempt to keep pace with Amazon, Google has already beefed up its shopping experience by adding nine new features in late 2022. These include:

Personalised Shopping Results – Google is using AI and machine learning tools to provide tailored shopping results based on users’ previous purchases and shopping habits. Users can set their own preferences or disable the feature. An update to personalised shopping is expected later in 2023.

3D Shopping – following the debut of 3D image-based shopping for home goods in 2022, Google search now displays fully automated, 360-degree views of trainers when browsing. As Google’s machine learning advances, Google will expand this tool to include a wealth of other products.

Buying Guides – to help people make better decisions, streamlining options, Google is currently testing ‘Buying Guides,’ a new mobile search results feature that presents users with a choice of dropdown menus featuring essential information to learn more about the product. Once live, this may see brands flooding to make sure their essential information is populated to bolster credibility, offer a better customer experience, whilst perfectly matching a user’s query with search results.

What Should Marketers Expect?

Well, first things first, Google may be evolving its search functionality, pivoting ever more to AI and conversational, context-rich search results, but it’s still a business. One that needs to generate income. Is responsible to its shareholders. Income means ads.

However, expect the ways that ads work to be different as the months and years unfold.

But how will ads change? Currently, businesses pay using a CPC (cost per click) model. This is calculated by dividing the cost of a paid advertising campaign by the number of clicks. Popular keywords are obviously more expensive. Words like, insurance, loans, and mortgage can cost between $40-$55 per click!

This model has historically been successful for Google; however, the tide is turning, and Google is steering more towards CPA (cost per acquisition) or the aggregate cost of acquiring one paid customer, or the money spent to earn money.

A CPA model focuses the spotlight on prospect and customer experience. No business can be successful without promoting a stellar customer experience at all stages of the journey. From SEO to design, navigation to branding, a CPA model means businesses will need to up their game.

One last thing, just as Project Magi demands an evolution in search experience, so too will product and service optimisation. Businesses that have historically ranked well may find themselves slipping from page one or two to six or seven.

If your business experiences this, or you want to prevent it, you need to do one thing: contact Jungle.


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