DeeCee - 4:16 pm on Dec 20, 2011 (gmt 0)
One thing to notice about all the new business areas Google has been getting into, is that we all (web site owners) provided them all the free market research to hang us with. We used Google Analytics, and they provided us all the rope to hang ourselves with.
Not only to track page and user stats. but they provided web-site owners with lots of conversion tools so "we" could calculate exactly what content converts, which business areas on the Internet make money, ..., ..., ...
This is one reason that even on sites where I use Google Analytics, I have NEVER set up conversion tracking or anything related to tracking $$$ at all, using G$$ Analytics. Google is the largest immediate competitor to any business area they choose to get into.
So basically, we handed over all the free market research any company would want to Google, so they could enter every area that is already documented to make money to compete with us all, with
a) Unlimited resources and infra-structure to compete.
b) knowing how to make it successful, and
c) having the opportunity to promote their own stuff first
They are doing more and more to keep users away from the real web-sites in many cases.
Adding Google Preview is one such thing I get visited by many, many times a day.
I track logs heavily, and Google preview has one of two effects when used.
Google in essence "steals" a large viewable picture of the web-page (not a mere thumbnail), and in addition extract separate full-text pieces to show in nice blobs on top of the picture, so people can check/sample your content without visiting you. (That preview is done by a FULL access and page-load (loading all CSS, graphics, ...) off your web-site, with your physical and financial support. Not by a user, but by the uninterested "Google Preview" Bot.
If the human user is further interested, you then have to support a second full page load, when the actual user checks in.
If the human user does not show up, you had a full page-load for no reason at all.
If the human user does show up on your web-site, you have then had to support TWO full accesses, which in the old days would have been just one.
It is all designed to keep users around on the Google search pages for longer at a time, where the searcher see more ads (often for Google's own products, Google's affiliate sites). Up to three large high-lighted (VERY high-paying) ads before ANY search results, 8 ads on right, and most of the real search results only below the fold where you must scroll to see them.
Plus, since Google is conveniently failing to block out the Spam sites with stolen content, many of the "real" search results are pure junk, further increasing the chance that a user choose to click on the "quality sites" in ads and Google's own businesses. Ref. my earlier postings on content from this site, where Spam sites rank high in the "real results" with titles and content stolen from WebMasterWorld.
The Google Preview feature is especially adept at this. The searcher moves his/her cursor over the preview button (right panel), and when returning from the preview load, all the right pane ads show up again, right where the user has focus. Larger chance for click on ads, each with another $1,$2,$3,$4 revenue per click to Google.
I wrote a blog entry on content-scrapers in general yesterday, and Google is in fact the largest documented content scraper in the world, which most of us invite in voluntarily, rather than block. As all other content scrapers, they have always been lifting our content for their own profit. Theoretically (in the old days) paying us back by sending visitors to web-sites. But the more Google gets focused on sending visitors only to paying "top entry ads" sites or as in this discussion over to Google's own competing businesses, the more they have in common with the basic content thieves out there.
My blocklists try to catch and block list content scrapers. So far Google is white-listed, but if their focus moves further towards keeping users in their "own" backyard, the larger the chance that Google gets blocked out as just another "common content scraper". Their search business model only works as long as they pay back the content copyright owners with actual visitors.
Without good search results, any search engine is merely an advertising page, which would get no visitors.