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Google Universal Search - news in the middle of the SERPS and more
jakegotmail




msg:3341072
 3:20 pm on May 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well it looks like Google is unleashing News in the middle of their search results. When searching for Brown widgets do I really need to see news results? If I wanted to see news on this subject matter I would go to the news section of the major engines or go directly to news sites.

What are your thoughts on this. Do you find the news to even be relevant of the subject matter?

 

jakegotmail




msg:3343279
 5:59 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google seems to be tailoring the SERP's makeup to the nature of the search. For example, I just searched on a couple of product terms (a home-improvement product and a specific notebook), and there were no images or news stories. In the first case, the sponsored links at the top of the page were followed by a Google Checkout link and the usual Web results; in the second case, the sponsored links at the top of the page were followed by a small image of a shopping page with some "product search results" (ex-Froogle) and the usual Web results. The SERP had its usual 10 Web search results.

If this is typical of how Google plans to deal with "commercial" results, the new format is likely to be useful for the consumer, good for retailers who do well in what used to be called Froogle, and good for site owners who do well in conventional search results.

I am kind of assuming that its not all rolled out yet my any means.

Reno




msg:3343283
 6:03 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google could always offer this type of combined search as an OPTION (like as a tab...).

This is the key -- let the user chose what format they want at any given time, from a series of tabs across the top:

All Results ; Classic Google ; News Only ; Blogs Only ; Images ; Video ... etc

Different searches ==> different formats ... everyone is happy.

............................

jakegotmail




msg:3343303
 6:29 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think thats a great idea Reno. I am just hesitant to think Google wants to give us that flexibility, when I imagine a lot of these new changes have the benefit of increasing there ad revenue.

decaff




msg:3343318
 6:46 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Not sure if anyone has pointed to this yet...
here's some of the optional interfaces Google is experimenting with...personally...I really like the timeline interface..

Google Labs - Experiments [google.com]

europeforvisitors




msg:3343429
 8:47 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think thats a great idea Reno. I am just hesitant to think Google wants to give us that flexibility, when I imagine a lot of these new changes have the benefit of increasing there ad revenue.

I don't see why diplaying images, news results, Google Product Search results, etc. on a SERP would have any impact on ad revenue, except possibly by making the SERPs more useful and attracting a larger audience. (One could even argue that Google risks losing ad revenue by showing Google Product Search results on its default SERPs.)

The most likely reason for Google Universal Search is simple: to provide "one-stop" access to the various kinds of search results that are relevant for a given keyword or keyphrase, since many users aren't aware that there's a world of Google search tools beyond plain-vanilla Web search.

steveb




msg:3343497
 9:34 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Google seems to be tailoring the SERP's makeup to the nature of the search."

That's pretty clearly the exact opposite.

In nearly a decade now people have been trained to use search engines one way, which is frankly very sensible. Google has previously broken down searches by type. THAT is how people search. If a person wants news results, THAT is what they want... they don't want three year old articles and a widget sellers cluttering the mix. If they want images, they don't want non-image resukts cluttering up the results!

It's objectively a bad idea for users, and it seems a crystal clear violation of of Google's longstanding policy... they are now promoting themselves in the free search results.

Google no longer provides algorithmic search results... it has a "9 out of 10" search engine.

While that 9 out of 10 nature means users won't be manipulated all that much, but it is a direct attack on how people like to search, with the aim to drive people to more of their products rather than delivering answers to a users query.

Another way to put it, if I want news results, I'll click the news tab. I don't want something redundant on a page that says "are you really really sure you don't want news results?"

Miamacs




msg:3343519
 10:03 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hmm. These video results... which are either from Google videos or YouTube... have this thumbnail next to the seemingly normal SERP result and the [+] sign -- you know, like with Maps -- will load the video directly on the SERPs.

Example for Google videos:

[google.com ]

vs YouTube result:

[google.com ]

...

There are other videos from other sites with thumbnails but those that play are of course from the Google network ( one way or another ). I like it though.

I also wonder how this will play out with videos that violate copyright. ( Looking at one right now, oh wait, no I'm looking at TWO for you can expand more than a single video. This is better than YouTube. ) Remember that lawsuit when the guy hotlinked a video that wasn't his and got sued?

...

Hold on...
Now I see how they'll deal with it.

"This video is no longer available" says a white notice on the enlarged picture. Darn, it was a full episode too. Oh well. Onto the next one. Well what can I say... if they keep this up... Good luck Google.

( I'm watching pirated video on the SERPs of Google as we speak. I wish they'd keep this feature. )

europeforvisitors




msg:3343531
 10:19 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

If a person wants news results, THAT is what they want... they don't want three year old articles and a widget sellers cluttering the mix. If they want images, they don't want non-image resukts cluttering up the results!

Yes, and if they want only Google News, they can still go to Google News. If they want only images, they can still go to Google Images.

Google Universal Search is merely an enhancement to the default, general-purpose Google Search. As Google offers more specialized search products, it makes sense to pull in material from its other indexes for general-purpose search. Patents are a good example: If you were to search on "Monolith Corp. widget patent," wouldn't it make sense to have Google Patent Search results included with the Web search results? (Especially if, like a lot of people, you didn't even know that there was such a thing as Google Patent Search?)

There's no reason why Google can't use Google Universal Search for the default Google.com results and include "Web" as an option along the top of the page along with "Images," "Maps," "News," etc.

As far as the clutter argument goes, one could argue (in fact, I would argue) that many results from Google "Web" search are less useful than relevant Google News listings or images. If I'm searching for Web pages, how often do I want to find forum posts, directory listings, etc. in the Web search results? And if I'm searching for information (as opposed to buying something), why should I find catalog or affiliate pages in the Web search results? Wouldn't it make more sense for Google to filter those out and stick them in Google Product Search?

steveb




msg:3343562
 11:13 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Google Universal Search is merely an enhancement to the default, general-purpose Google Search."

"There's no reason why Google can't use Google Universal Search for the default Google.com results and include "Web" as an option along the top of the page along with 'Images,' 'Maps,' 'News,' etc."

And there is where you obviously contradict yourself. The change is a fundamental change in philosophy. They can do that of course, but it is first fully deceptive to include a non-algorithmic result mixed with the algorithmic results, something Google said they would not do years and years ago. (Paid results is obviously the next such step... mix one adword in there.)

The way Google to loose its place in the world is to offer a default search that does not satisfy the vast majority of people's search desires. A top ten results of one web search, one image search, one news search, one adwords, etc., would be a basically useless thing to most people.

sailorjwd




msg:3343579
 11:46 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'd like to see a check box on G search to: Exclude pages containing Adsense (even though I'm a big (fat) adsense publisher).

I'd also like a button to exclude wikipoopia and about.somthing.

And, if I want to see news I click on the News link.

europeforvisitors




msg:3343639
 2:32 am on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

They can do that of course, but it is first fully deceptive to include a non-algorithmic result mixed with the algorithmic results, something Google said they would not do years and years ago.

What? Are you suggesting that Google News stories, images, etc. are handpicked?

annej




msg:3343654
 3:08 am on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'd assume there would be an algo for them as well. I just don't see how they prioritize when they mix them.

outland88




msg:3343666
 3:51 am on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google is now flooding my areas with their hand picked results worse than they did in early 2007 when they were testing. Google now isnít confining themselves to the major keywords or page one either. Theyíre even going after the long tail search. Itís one thing to compete with other web sites but what Google is doing is drawing people away from the main search with their own placements. Iíve also noticed Adword pricing going up in my areas since Tuesday. Google might be displacing some sites and it is apparent they are.

Youíre not really seeing anything unless Google has pushed at least two of their ads on each results page. To me they all the while have been adjusting linking and returned results to blend their own ads. I can truly see now why Google is so opposed to paid links. It interrupts with them making money. I dare say its going to be difficult to attract business when Google is pointing to over 200 news sources at the top of each page. People will explore those things, get bored, and veer from buying.

europeforvisitors




msg:3343675
 4:13 am on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Let's put the hysteria and self-interest aside and consider one simple fact: Google knows a lot more about its users than we do. Does anyone here seriously believe that Google didn't conduct usability studies and other testing before making such a major change?

I don't especially like the new interface, either, but I'm not going to get angry and cast vile aspersions at Google just because I now see a slightly different mix of results after I type "widgets" or "john doe" or "capital of elbonia" in the search box at Google.com. I'm mature enough to recognize that (a) Google has the right to organize its SERPs however it likes, and (b) as the Web and Google's own array of search products become less simple than they were in 1998, there's some value (at least to the ordinary user) in providing one-click access to a variety of search results.

Side note: As the owner of an information site, I think it's grossly unfair that Google is now displaying Product Search results along with traditional Web results on some SERPs. What's Google trying to do--make it easier for e-commerce sites that rank high in both Google Product Search and Google Search to get extra traffic without paying for it? :-)

eddy22




msg:3343705
 6:06 am on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Anybody got opinions on the latest

"Google Patent Applications Point To PageRank Changes "

outland88




msg:3343712
 6:23 am on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

>What's Google trying to do--make it easier for e-commerce sites that rank high in both Google Product Search and Google Search to get extra traffic without paying for it?<

Are you telling us that informational sites should be exempt from paying for traffic or should be guaranteed rankings? I mean whatís your battle plan if your free traffic disappears? Do you think Adsense can carry you if for instance you hit the 950 penalty? I think it pretty much goes without saying Google can do anything they please with their search engine and when the ďgod almighty dollarĒ creeps into the picture thatís a given. I think when you start forking out a few dollars to Google youíll change your tune.

>Let's put the self-interest aside<

Come On Now, have you ever been able to do that in any of your posts.

steveb




msg:3343717
 6:34 am on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

"What? Are you suggesting that Google News stories, images, etc. are handpicked?"

Um, where did you pull that one out of and what would it have to do with anything being talked about here?

europeforvisitors




msg:3343889
 1:14 pm on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

See your earlier post.

annej




msg:3343950
 2:57 pm on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

I do think this could hurt information sites and frustrate searchers who just want information.

My sites have nothing to do with travel but I'm already frustrated when looking for travel information about specific destinations. I want information written by someone who is actually there or has been there. Instead I mostly get automated junk.

Now they add graphics, videos and news to the mix. The real, personally written, information about the area will be hidden even deeper in the serps.

netmeg




msg:3343985
 3:58 pm on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

As the owner of an information site, I think it's grossly unfair that Google is now displaying Product Search results along with traditional Web results on some SERPs. What's Google trying to do--make it easier for e-commerce sites that rank high in both Google Product Search and Google Search to get extra traffic without paying for it?

As the owner of several information sites, I agree.

As the administrator of several ecommerce sites with thousands of products in Product Search - woo hoo!

What's a girl to do?

europeforvisitors




msg:3344091
 6:04 pm on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

My sites have nothing to do with travel but I'm already frustrated when looking for travel information about specific destinations.....Now they add graphics, videos and news to the mix. The real, personally written, information about the area will be hidden even deeper in the serps

Or maybe the automated junk will be hidden deeper in the SERPs, depending on what the user is searching for.

For what it's worth, Google Universal Search isn't entirely new; images, for example, have been displayed in Web searches for some time. (Not always, but they aren't always displayed with Google Universal Search, either.) Google News listings are new, but then, they aren't displayed in all searches, so why get worked up over the fact that Google News might be displayed in a search for "president of elbonia" if your site is about "travel to elbonia" (which isn't likely to feature news results)?

I think a lot of the hyperventilating that we're seeing here is just instinctive resistance to change--even when the change may benefit the people who are complaining the most (e.g., integration of Google Product Search results into a SERP for "blue widgets," which will expose Google Product Search, formerly Froogle, to users who might normally look for "blue widget" listings and prices on Amazon or eBay).

steveb




msg:3344270
 11:33 pm on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

"See your earlier post."

In what thread? What year? I don't think I've ever talked about Google handpicking anything.

The topic is "news in the middle of the SERPS", not how Google picks its news results.

europeforvisitors




msg:3344334
 2:10 am on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well, you did say:

Google no longer provides algorithmic search results

If results from Google News, Google Images, Google Product Search, etc. aren't provided by an algorithm, how are they being picked?

Or do you have a very narrow (and proprietary) definition of "search"?

Back on topic:

Google Universal Search isn't something completely new; it's merely the latest in a series of evolutionary changes. So why are so many people here having anxiety attacks?

outland88




msg:3344406
 4:27 am on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

>So why are so many people here having anxiety attacks?<

Actually youíre the one who has overrun this thread with posts disputing anything people say for some reason. Is business slow for you? Presumably your attitude comes from being unaffected with little regard to other areas. It gets tiresomely old.

Youíve made your point time after time Google can do no wrong so lets hear something new about this proposition. Tell us how this will help the average web site or how Google crowding the results with its own propositions will be better for everybody.

annej




msg:3344409
 4:38 am on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I didn't know we were having anxiety attacks, I thought we were just discussing the possible effects Universal Search might have.

I do think we need to keep away from discussions about whether Google is good, bad or ugly. Why don't we look at it like we look at the weather. We know we can't change it so we just deal with the various conditions.

menial




msg:3344429
 5:55 am on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google Universal Search isn't something completely new; it's merely the latest in a series of evolutionary changes. So why are so many people here having anxiety attacks?

Maybe because the "evolutionary changes" are in fact "monetary changes" in Google favor, not the users.

Another reason may be that if tomorrow Google announces that the Earth is flat, some members here will make blind and dumb comments to prove the nonsense was in fact yet another "evolutionary change."

steveb




msg:3344458
 7:26 am on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

"If results from Google News, Google Images, Google Product Search, etc. aren't provided by an algorithm, how are they being picked?"

Dude we are talking about the ten search results now called "universal search". In those results one of the results is placed in a predetermined slot in the top ten. Instead of just being kneejerk contrary, you should have a better idea what the thread is about before posting repeatedly in it.

Back to reality here, I've tried but can't find any of the news results mixed with the normal results now. Searches for preakness for example return the news result at the top, which is both more profitable/clickable for google and less dishonest, so one has to wonder why they would chosse the deceptive route in the first place, unless it represents a first step towards even more deceptive results, like an adword or froogle result mixed in.

simey




msg:3344514
 10:10 am on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

unless it represents a first step towards even more deceptive results, like an adword or froogle result mixed in.

I've been seeing 'google product search' results showing as high as #2 for certain (merchant-product) searches for some time now in the 'natural' serps...

wanderingmind




msg:3344560
 12:33 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have an informational site, and this saturday, google traffic is down by almost a 1000 visitors.

Will wait and see.

whitenight




msg:3344579
 1:21 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't see why diplaying images, news results, Google Product Search results, etc. on a SERP would have any impact on ad revenue, except possibly by making the SERPs more useful and attracting a larger audience.

Ok, seriously, EFV, I've never asked.. but do you work for Google?

Let's take a real example and let everyone (except you of course) come to their own conclusions.

4 days before Mothers Day, the SERPs for "buy mother's day widgets" and all keyword variations suddenly have a news search result in #4 position.

A. No one is searching for "news" on "mother's day widgets" EVER...they are looking to buy them.

B. How do I know this? My metrics on the subject are probably better than Google's, if not equal to.

C. Nice coincidence that Adwords PPC prices went up for the 4 days that the SERPs had the news result in it.

D. Of course, now that Mother's Day is over, :poof: Universal results are gone. (Gasp, you mean the "news" about "buying mother's day widgets" is now NOT pertinent to the search query?!? Cause I was sure millions of billions of people were interesting in reading about mostly unrelated articles on the subject or the very complicated process of how millions of people every year, go to a website, pick a product, and pay for it with their credit card )

E. Did I mention my metrics on this subject are older than Google is?

F. Let me repeat: People are still searching for "buy mother's day widgets"...maybe it's late buyers or competitors but it's still being searched for. So why are the news results gone NOW?!? If anything, logic says more people are searching for the subject now for "newsworthy" purpose than the 4 days before, when literally everyone and their mom was looking to buy mother's day gifts...

H. Oh yea, forgot to mention. The more general term of "Mothers Day" that is infinitely more suited to users looking for news, of course, did not have a Universal News SERP. Of course, no one spends Adwords money on that topic. While it gets 10x-100x more searches, advertisers know it doesn't convert well.

europeforvisitors




msg:3344595
 1:44 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

4 days before Mothers Day, the SERPs for "buy mother's day widgets" and all keyword variations suddenly have a news search result in #4 position.

I don't know what that news result was, so I have no idea whether it was appropriate, but if it didn't belong on the SERP from a user's point of view (not from a seller's point of view) that merely shows that the algorithm isn't perfect. Since when is that a shocker?

As for what AdWords prices are or aren't, whether wanderingmind was down 1,000 visitors on Saturday, and whether Google is a public corporation with shareholders to satisfy and Matt Cutts reports to the director of ad sales yadda yadda yadda, what do any of those things have to do with whether Google Universal Search is good or bad for the user?

The only question of importance, in my opinion, is whether users like universal search. If it becomes clear that they don't, one of two things will happen:

1) Google will abandon the new SERP design, or...

2) Those unhappy users will find other search engines, delighting the members of this forum who own shares in Yahoo or Microsoft.

(BTW, just for the record, maybe you've forgotten that I said I don't especially like Google Universal Search myself. However, I recognize the fact that Google has a right to present its search results in whatever way it likes, just as I have the right to present my content in whatever way I like. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.)

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