Google: 15 Years Old, and Catching Up To Mobile.
On September 26th, Google turned 15 years old. They celebrated by highlighting the release of the Hummingbird algorithm and display adaptations for mobile. The most important of those mobile changes is a new interface that SVP of search Amit Singhal describes as “cleaner and simpler, optimized for touch, with results clustered on cards so you can focus on the answer’s you’re looking for.” Now, we waited a bit, because we’re not looking to step on Google’s special day, but we have to say it – SavvyCard got there first. We’ve been focusing our efforts on mobile design since 2009, and we figured out very early on that it’s all about cards.
In some ways, it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that the most influential, powerful company in the world still isn’t old enough to drive a car. But of course, in internet years, 15 is practically ancient. When Larry Page and Sergey Brin set up shop in their garage in 1998, only about 3.6% of the world population was online, most people in the U.S. were still browsing at dialup speeds, and the New York Times webpage had a grand total of one photo on its frontpage.
And of course, there was no such thing as a smartphone.
It’s accepted by now that, at the ripe old age of 37, Microsoft is at risk of being marginalized. Google isn’t there yet – the company has adapted to the changing internet, and has, obviously, driven a lot of those changes itself. But mobile is one space where they’ve arguably been playing catch-up. Obviously, so has any company not named “Apple,” but Google didn’t really start optimizing their search functionality for mobile until this year. Just like Twitter with its new card layout, they’ve started arranging information in easily-digestible, discrete blocks that can be reflowed to fit mobile screens.
That’s also the core idea behind SavvyCard – that by creating a discrete package out of a variety of information, we’re providing a user experience without some of the wooliness that’s standard for desktop. Of course, in a lot of ways this streamlining works just as well for the desktop experience as mobile – most of us could live without invasive ads and bloated content intended mainly as search engine bait. A SavvyCard gets you exactly what you need to know about a person, product, or place, and makes it easy to access and interact with (this centralization also has synergy with Google’s growing emphasis on Authorship, which we’ll try to get to in a later post). That ease of use will also mean that card-based, mobile-friendly content will begin to rank higher in search results as people flock to it over non-optimized content.
Of course, SavvyCard is trying to do something a bit different from Google, since we’re not a search company – instead, we’re focused on leveraging mobile for strengthening direct personal connections. As we roll out tailored functions for various fields and specialties, your SavvyCard will become the destination for information in your area of expertise, and the strength of your personal connection will trump all the advertising dollars and search engine optimization in the world. We’ve started with Realtors, creating specialized SavvyCards that include search functions and listings on each Realtors’ personal card, intended to keep clients from heading to more generalized sites like Zillow and Trullio.
This nexus of personal connection and functionality also makes SavvyCard ripe for development with the new voice functionality Google is implementing. With smartphones, but even moreso with things like Google Glass, we’re living in a world where keyboards are shrinking and going away. With an infrastructure based on clear functions like “Call” and “Share,” SavvyCard is primed for voice function. Imagine if, instead of handing over a business card, instead of even pushing a few buttons to send someone your SavvyCard, you could simply make a request to your smartphone – “SavvyCard, share David Etheredge’s Card With Larry Page” – and you’ve connected two people who would benefit from knowing each other.
If only it had been that easy a couple of years ago.