The venture capitalist presented findings Wednesday from her much-anticipated annual report on internet trends at Recode's Code Conference near Los Angeles. A key takeaway: Voice search is surging, alongside image search. Within five years, she expects half of searches to fall into one of these two categories, according to Recode.
The trend, in fact, has already started. Last year, 65 percent of smartphone users reported using the voice assistants on their phones, according to Recode. Wrap this all together and it means "the lines between being connected and offline are even more blurred," writes Recode reporter Johana Bhuiyan.
Meeker's 200-plus slide presentation shows other shifts that could indicate where consumers are moving, at least when it comes to interacting with internet-connected devices. One slide suggests that iPhone sales peaked in 2015, while shipments of Amazon's voice-controlled smart speaker Echo are on rise, gaining in the past year and into the first quarter of 2016.
You might think the rise of voice search would imply overall growth in internet use -- and yes, the number of internet users is growing globally, but at a rate that is increasingly slow.
Internet use can be negatively affected by macroeconomic trends -- like the housing and financial crises -- but it more recently got a boost as users in China and India came on board. But now, "new internet users are going to continue to be harder to find," Meeker said, according to this Recode post. "Easy growth is behind us."
What's really poised to boom? The U.S. auto industry. Automakers and universities alike that are leading innovations in motor vehicles--think self-driving cars--are largely based in the United States. This is indicative of a return to a previous heydey, albeit one that looks a lot different than the golden auto age, circa 1950s Detroit, i.e. Motor City.
"We do believe the traditional ownership model is being disrupted," one of Meeker's slides quotes GM CEO Mary Barra as saying. "We're going to see more change in the next five to ten years than we've seen in the last 50."