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Bill Slawski takes a walk down memory lane by showcasing some archived screenshots of search engines from a decade ago. It’s interesting to see what Google, a new upstart, looked like back then. And even better to see some of the sites that are no longer around. But the best thing about Bill’s post is the final comment, “I’m wondering what they might be like a dozen years from now.”

Yeah, I’m wondering too.

And here’s my speculation. I think the search engines will be fully social. Not only will you be able to visit Google and search for real-time information and expect relevant results, but you’ll be able to share Facebook-like information and provide “status updates” in real time as well. Facebook might even be one of the leading search engines. And Google could be one of the leading social networks.

I think Google Wave is the start of a new direction for search engines. You’ll likely be able to search the Web from your desktop – even the “desktop” of your cell phone. There may even be an MP3-size device or Blackberry-like contraption on which you can do all sorts of things including search the Web, send text messages, phone your mother, and project 3D holographic images on your boardroom wall (well, that might be a stretch).

I’m looking forward to the next decade of search. I believe we’ll see some striking technological innovations and likely from some unexpected sources. The part I’m wondering about is what will search engine optimization be like?

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