Sogou is a company that is best known for its software that helps people use a standard QWERTY keyboard to type Chinese characters. They recently integrated search results into their typing software interface and a Tech in Asia blogger writes that, "I think this move has the potential to change the way Chinese users search, and maybe even the way they interact with their computers on a more fundamental level."
He says further that:
"Sogou’s current implementation of input method search is limited to specific kinds of searches, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. In fact, it doesn’t have to stay search-oriented at all. Imagine simply typing the name of a brand’s product and then purchase that product directly from the desktop in the input method GUI. Or typing the name of a friend from inside any program to bring up a video chat with them, or even share your screen with them. The possibilities are virtually endless, and in moving into input method search, Sogou may have taken us one step closer to a world where users interact much more quickly with the web by not using a browser at all."
Removing the need for a browser is one of the things apps do. Still, he is right that Sogou's method makes the process of interacting with one's device even easier. For one thing, you don't need to search for, download and use a dedicated app -- that just replaces the browser with an app.
I'd like to see whether some Western company picks up this idea and runs with it. Imagine seeing search results while you were writing an email in Outlook or composing a blog post. Yes, it sounds messy and reminiscent of Microsoft's "Smart Tags", but done right, I think it could be quite a useful addition to all computers. All you'd need to interact with your computer or phone would be one simple empty text box into which you typed in commands, friends' names, things to shop for, places to search for, whatever, and it would pull up the appropriate application, search result, map, video-calling service... No more folders, icons or browser tabs to open.
I certainly wouldn't have appreciated why this Sogou
development was important if not for taking Chinese language lessons
More: Why Sogou’s Input Method Search Could Change the Chinese Internet (and More)