Updated: Oct 18, 2019
This was a quote made by Google's CEO Sundar Pichai back in 2016, in a letter towards Google's shareholders. Actually, he used the word "vanish". That's quite an amazing statement made by the CEO of the most used and dominant online search engine in our Western world.
3 years later - anno 2019 - we have to admit that this quote actually makes sense. No worries, the internet will not disappear ... the internet change: it will become invisible as all new devices will be inter-connected IoT devices, by default connected to the www and powered by the invisible power of AI. The internet is already becoming omni-present as virtual assistants like Alexa, Google Home, Siri are booming and are being enrolled within cars, phones, rings, speakers, earbuds, eyewear ... they're like everywhere. As their skills are becoming more and more advanced and accurate, their usage and adoption is becoming more and more convenient. Even their price is a no-brainer ... you can have your personal Alexa or Google for less than 30 euro's ... same day delivery and as soon as it's connected to your wifi and internet: works like a charm.
Observe the changing world and people around you ... your kids
When I observe my kids (7 and 10) and their daily habits, I can only admit that the new Alpha-generation is using and accessing the internet in a completely different way as I do today. My generation - the famous GEN X - is still relying on an actual device to open-up a web browser and think about the best description or words to be used to get the best search results. That's my offline behavior in my online world.
Now, my kids … they're running across the house and just shout out every question or command as it pops-up in their head by using their own "natural" language. They don't go searching for a device to think about how to search something by using a web browser ...
For them that so 2000 and late, there is no online vs offline world in their head. Everything is connected and the internet is like a natural extension within their current offline world. Actually, they're treating Alexa, Siri, Google Home as it is their home pet … it's there every moment of the day, always listening and always eager to get their attention. By the way: It never sleeps, it always listens, it's never sick, it never complains ... it can sing songs, tell jokes, do games, ... and even can turn on the lights, call their best friends, help them to do some complicated math or grammar stuff as they do their homework or just play their favorite Spotify playlist. My kids do this without touching a single button, they just do this by using the power of their voice.
So, I did an experiment ... old world vs new world behavior
I asked by 11 years old daughter to search something on the internet by using "my" favorite browser ... just to convince her that my way of online surfing was better than hers.
After staring at me for about 10 seconds with the look in her eyes like "really, do you want me to look for the letters on your keyboard ... I don't even like to type". So, after my kind "mmm-hhh" confirmation, she just one-finger typed the "I'll- just-ask-the-whole-sentence-question" in the search bar and pushed the enter button. She did this without considering or thinking about the best approach or keywords like we do when we search for content in the internet. And you know what, she got a better and more accurate result than me. I was flabbergasted about how the internet instantly understood her natural language ... while I was still thinking and struggling on how to fire my best ever search query on the WWW. This was a real eye opener for me: I'm becoming old with by old fashioned way of thinking and skills in the online world. That online world is changing, it understand us humans better and better every time we access it. Compare it with you asking someone for help in another language that you actually don't speak ... That's how our generation talks to the internet today.
My Take-away for you ....
Well, I must confirm that Sundar Pichai was right … the internet will vanish in a way that it will become invisible to us … as it will be omni-present and available in every device on any location. My kids already have a complete different online behavior as I have when searching on the internet. And this is not a trend, it's a development: a new phase in the existence of the www. Take into account that this is only generation 1 of these kind of devices and that the skills and A.I. are developing by the speed of light ... these kind of omni-present services will change our daily lives, behavior and expectations and soon will be our new normal as my kids are influencing my online behavior by showing off their new world skills.
So, if you or your company wants to be ready for the next generation customers with their own behavior and expectations: Time is now to make a plan and execute that plan to make your business future proof today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow