Simsi - 6:58 pm on Nov 3, 2012 (gmt 0)
Interesting and scary at the same time not only personally but also where we as webmasters will fit in. Do we have to pay to be on the cards?
I think webmasters will fit and if they dont then it could also be good news.
If Google start to provide the info directly by effectively scraping the web and webmasters lose the traffic, those webmasters may choose to block Google. It could effectively allow other "search engines" to gain ground.
Neural networks are decades away from being able to provide 100% effective search solutions IMO, if ever. They might get to direct questions pretty quickly but there are a host of queries that don't require a single answer. Or that require opinion. Or are so obscure only one source has the correct answer so there is no comparative evaluation source.
If Google Now can't provide effective answers to 99% (or close to it) of search queries, it opens the door for it's competitors. And Google undoubtedly knows that. Which is why I think they will need webmaster support; but that doesn't mean we won't have to adapt.
There is also the question of who owns the data but that's a whole different debate.