Recently, I wrote a post outlining the psychological dissatisfaction of having too many social options on mobile event apps created for specific film and music festivals. Not long after, I learned that Google Search is making some changes to make its mobile and web-apps more standalone sources in the event search market.
In an effort to consolidate what Google says are frequent searches—“improv in Chicago,” “concerts in ATX,”—it is going to begin pulling this event data from popular event registration and ticketing sources such as Eventbrite and Ticketmaster. The events will appear in Google searches but link back to the original source. The idea is that users will consider Google a trusted event search tool and be less likely to download and utilize outside event applications.
Current Google searches do not pull in specific event data (screenshot as of June 02, 2017.
This makes sense. Up until now, searching for “events near me,” or “NYC events this weekend” would result in broad lists of links and articles that could potentially be outdated, or unrelated advertisements. Google’s intention seems to be to simplify the event search process by organizing answers in a cohesive timeline of concerts, lectures, art exhibits and more.
One has to wonder if event applications and tools will suffer from such overhaul. Google is already the top search engine; will its modernization of the event search process snag profits from where they originally appeared?
Supposedly, no. Google has not announced any plans or expectations of commission on the tickets that are sold in response to these results. The changes appear to be encouragement for users to go through Google for events first. Once users find an event that is of interest, they are immediately rerouted to the platform that is facilitating the event’s advertising and ticket sales.
The only real change here seems to be how results are formatted. Google seems to be trying harder not only to give users the most results, but also the most relevant search results. It has picked up on machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to be a search engine that maintains pace with its users’ expectations.
Google has been using RankBrain for a little more than two years in efforts to make search smarter. RankBrain is a deep learning tool that helps process Google search queries. It helps computers understand the context with which users are asking questions or conducting searches.
The founder and CTO of Searchetrics, Marcus Tober, explained in a 2015 study of Google Ranking Factors that, “Google revealed last year that it is turning to sophisticated AI and machine-learning techniques, such as its RankBrain system, to help it better understand the real intention behind the words that searchers enter in the search box and make its results more relevant.”
Essentially, Google is trying to be less like the static search engine that spouts out robotic results and more like the hip friend who knows where the next dubstep dance party will be taking place.
What do you think? Will Google be changing the way you keep in touch with current events and happenings?