The book In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives features a hypothetical question posed by Google’s founders: what would you do with infinite computing power?
Flash forward ten years after the book was published in 2011, where a team of physicists from Harvard-MIT Center for Ultracold Atoms have just developed a quantum computing simulator with 256 qubits, the largest programmable simulator ever created.
To put that size in perspective, the number of quantum states that are possible with 256 qubits exceeds the number of atoms in the solar system.
It was only just in 2017 that the previous largest simulator achieved 51 qubits. In just four years, we’ve seen exponential growth as part of a global race that will continue with the investment of private sector companies like Google and Amazon, institutions like Harvard and MIT, and government.
In other words, infinite computing power is here and near. How will quantum computing shake up the practice of SEO, or search engine optimization?
Here’s five examples of how quantum technology may impact SEO through infinite computing power.
Inferred Links Will Replace Links
For the last twenty-five years, computing power has limited Google to rely on links for ranking as a hypertextual search engine. This was largely due to the fact that link analysis was much less of a computing task than text analysis, and much more reliable.
Moving forward, brand and inferred links will move to prominence over links. It just matches the real world better.
For example, search engines will be able to find answers to questions like, “How many people are talking about a brand or business online? Who is talking about it? Where are they talking about it?”
Answers to questions like these should (and will) be more important to determine “prominence” into ranking than how many DR:90 websites link to a domain through a link graph.
Quantum computing opens the door for search engines to compute every word on the internet. That’s a more powerful index than links, and may be near impossible to game.
Search Predictions From Data Sets
Amazon is equally invested in the growth of quantum computing as Google. Infinite computing power increases Amazon’s power to put search predictions on a dial, where product recommendations can be given to people who didn’t even know they needed a certain product.
This is especially important and true with privacy concerns and advertising regulations. As regulators lay down laws about tracking consumers, quantum computing will take data sets, multiply them by infinite computing power, and side step the privacy issues to just make tracking more private.
The result? Quantum computing will be able to deliver better insights about customer predictions through data trends on billions of consumer purchases and searches from similar personas. Search predictions will outpace consumer desires, heavily influencing consumer spending and a cultivating culture of consumerism forever.
Natural Language Processing
NLP, or natural language processing, has big implications alongside an exponential increase in computing power. Currently, search engine crawlers analyze textual contents of a web page, index that content, and pair it with search intent.
The process of matching content to search intent through natural language processing will only get faster, stronger, and more personalized.
Crawlers can index faster based on better understanding of content. Search engines can serve results better based on the language similarities of a searcher and content. And in the end, search intent gets satisfied better than ever before.
The implications for SEO is that the era of black hat SEO is coming to an end. The days of gaming the system are gone, and will be gone, forever.
More data, more data, more data
Mikhail Lukin has led both Harvard-MIT teams who have built record size quantum simulators, most recently and in 2017. Four years ago, he shared this quote at the announcement of a 51-qubit quantum simulator:
“An intriguing direction of quantum computers involves solving complex optimization problems. It turns out one can encode some very complicated problems by programming atom locations and interactions between them. In such systems, some proposed quantum algorithms could potentially outperform classical machines. It’s not yet clear whether they will or not, because we just can’t test them classically. But we are on the verge of entering the regime where we can test them on the fully quantum machines containing over 100 controlled qubits.”
There’s a few things to take away from this quote in 2017. The first is that Lukin’s team now has 256 qubit quantum simulators to test on, and they should know if proposed quantum algorithms outperform classical machines. The second is that you can solve complicated problems by programming atom locations and interactions between them.
In other words, some of the most complex problems in search will be solved by programming data points and analyzing their interactions. The more data, the more data points, and potentially the easier it may be to solve the problems in search that engines face today.
Everything will be “personalized”
Given the computing power, there’s no reason why search result pages shouldn’t be unique to a searcher. As discussed in the advancements above, if inferred links replace links, searchers should see the brands that are most relevant to them. If search predictions are based on billions of data points from similar personas, search results will be “real-life” and not just “real-time.” Natural language processing will match searchers up with results that best match their natural language.
Computing power limited Google for the last 25 years. Now, the future of infinite computing power changes everything for SEO, where search engines become a more personalized place for searchers and the efforts of SEOs will be able to be detected with minimal effort.
And of course, quantum technologies have implications for the tech world as well. Early research on quantum-safe cryptography should follow similar, exponential advancements as quantum computing has experienced. Innovation around future-proof data protection with quantum-safe security is foundational to SAP’s future success.
The business power of quantum tech is being unleashed. As Lukin said in 2017, “Scientifically, this is really exciting.”