The Contextual Discovery Channel

By DOM Team| 2 Min Read | December 8, 2010

“Google results without the search!” shrieks TechCrunch.

I’m not clicking on this. I’ll offer you what is meant by it from elsewhere. Marissa Mayer from Google has been talking to Michael Arrington of TechCrunch about Contextual Discovery:

Contextual discovery, Mayer explained, encompasses “local Search, Maps, Earth, Latitude, and all the local products.” By “taking a users location as a piece of context for finding what they want without them actually searching for anything,” Mayer added.

TechCrunch describes this as “Google results without the search.” Yes, Google is offering up results, possibly search results, without your actual intent searching for keywords. A lot like how AdSense shows ads based on the contextual relevancy of the page, Google can use other signals to show relevant ads and search results to a user based on location specific data.

So, you’re walking through your local mall with your Android device and, as you happen to glance at a spangly new top in Aeropostale, your phone vibrates and pings you with some offer or other.

If only you’d switched off Gaydar!

You see, Google is basically talking about being able to push offers to you via your mobile device.

Forget the ability to find something without searching. You’ll just get pushed coupons while you’re window shopping.

There’s no doubt it works. Mall food courts have been doing this for years. Next time you go to one watch how the food outlets with employees offering rubberized chicken on a toothpick fare so much better than those that don’t.

But, at least these people are looking searching for something to eat.

And that’s the key. There still has to be some kind of searching going on.

Otherwise, Google turns into some guy handing out flyers for a cheap car wash.

Does standing in front of a shop window for thirty seconds or more indicate you’re interested and spark an alert? Can the phone’s GPS workout you’ve spent most of the afternoon looking at electronics stores and send you offers once you’ve visited three or more?

It’s actually results coupons/offers without having to type stuff into a browser.

Which could be rather useful, no?

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