Leosghost - 10:27 pm on Mar 7, 2011 (gmt 0)
Or because it keeps more visitors on their own pages instead of them clicking through to see.
Except at the time it ( the "preview" )covered up some of their own property (adwords or maps,places ) ? ( I cant remember which ) but that surprised many of us..at the time ..for a while..until one thought about it .
It kept one on serp page ..only if the preview wasnt attractive enough to engage ( Ted's phrase ) a click through.
It was brought in IMO to measure visual appeal ..( in advance of actually triggering a click to see ..and the text could not be read )..but one could see if they were ad heavy pages ..and some previews are equivalent to at least 3 scrolls down ..plenty of time to judge ..and G were watching and measuring from the get go ..the "sauce" has many ingredients..want to help an algo element act like a human ..let it observe humans without them realising they are being watched.
G are trying to teach the algo ..they are apparently willing to take a temporary hit to their bottom line to do so ..long term they think they will make it back.
They are interesting to observe ..and they understand the Heisenberg effect and allow for it ..us lab rats talking amongst ourselves about the lab and the experiment(s) helps them too..;-)