The recent IBM Watson Jeopardy game show is one of the iconic moments in IBM’s history. At least the event has showcased and evangelized that way. No doubt, truly it’s amazing game show and provides an insight the way problems can be solved in real time by computers and definitely a technology of future. I am not sure whether there will be any dot in Gartner’s hype cycle.
As per IBM press, the technology can be adapted in real life use cases like in health care, transports, utility, weather forecast, natural calamities. This technology is definitely is one of the important catalyst to offer the big blue’s smart planet vision. IBM is already spending billions of dollar in business analytics and lined up an impressive stack of Analytics software to solve any kind of customer analytics problem. The Watson project is one such commitment from IBM to add on.
On the contrary, Google has dominated over the web and its roots are from search. The Watson’s technology is also based on semantic and meaning based search may be they use different algorithms. There are many companies tried to solve meaning based search and this technology already exists before. For example Wolframalpha, Powerset use semantic based search.
In principle the index based search and meaning/context based semantic search are very different. You also need to think of processing time. Typical search engine's response time is very very less( fraction of seconds ). So it would not be really important for Google as it might not perceive much of business values by adding the semantic based search. Well who knows in future Google might build it with the general search. To make it happen Google needs to invest, but I do not think it is very difficult for Google to achieve this.
I think so far Google core strength is in consumer side and also in the web. If you watch their technology and products built, they are purely built on search and analytics where it entirely leverages their mammoth of data discovery and indices which are used for Google search.
Projects like Google Trend, Google public data explorer are based on search and aggregating data and build analytics on top that which is a real importance to customer. Most of the Google products are in line with consumer analytics. As government and citizen seek more transparency, lots of public data will be available in the web and they will be more unstructured. In addition to that the social networks will provide the impetus to consumer analytics. Already lot of vendors capitalizing on the social data for analyzing different consumer trends. The customer experience and sentimental analysis is one of such kind of implementation.
In current context the business trends not only evaluated based on organizational data but also the analysis of web and social data is equally important. What I mean is for an enterprise to take effective decisions, it should analyze the enterprise data and social data in order to get a 360 degree view. This is what precisely “Consumer Analytics”. For this to happen we need to synthesize the social net and I think Google has first mover advantage in this space.