This isn’t even a rumor, though it would make a lot of sense. Google wants to be the king of search engines. Watson (really the DeepQA software package the runs on the cluster computer) is designed to answer questions in standard (or even non-standard) English.
This would be a huge plus to Google’s web search engine. If you ask a question with a simple answer, then the Google Watson can just give you the answer. If you ask about a website, then Google Watson can provide a list of websites that it thinks will help you.
During the Jeopardy! Tournament, Watson also displayed the top three results and his confidence in those results. This would make helping a user decide whether to seek additional resources or go with what Google Watson has said.
Just think of this scenario without Google Watson. You type in “What is the best Italian restaurant”. Right now, you might get restaurants in New York, Italy, Las Vegas, and Toronto. You’ll get a list of restaurant rating websites, but not an answer.
Now, let’s see the difference with Watson. You type in the same thing. Google, recognizes that you live in the Austin, TX area, so Google Watson assumes that you want restaurants in that area. Then IT looks at the rating websites that have been shown to be reliable and calculates an answer for you.
The result is displayed on the screen. You get links to the websites of the top three Italian restaurants in Austin with the confidence that Watson has in the restaurants it picked for you. Considering that you are inquiring about food and the best restaurants often require reservations, Watson could also provide a link to OpenTable or the reservation service of the three restaurants.
This is a natural extension of what Watson already does. Plus Google could afford the multi-million dollar price tag of a Watson-like DeepQA system.
I predict that within 2 years, any search engine that does not use DeepQA will be bankrupt.