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New Google Test - Updating the SERP Live While You Type

     
4:48 pm on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Here's report of a pretty adventurous test, spotted by Rob Ousbey who was sharp enough to grab a video screen capture:

Live updating Google results [youtube.com]

Typing into the search box while on a results page, the actual SERP keeps getting updated, giving you a preview of the #1 Search Sugggestion. I haven't been able to see this on any browser. But I imagine getting served the text depends on a very fast connection, so that all the AJAX can work. Anyone else see it?
6:07 pm on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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This idea really intrigues me. I wish there were a way I could turn this test on to see it for myself. I have a feeling it could surface a lot of value beyond pure Search Suggestions. Maybe it should be called "SERP Suggestions".

I also have a feeling that it could drive the average search user crazy - thinking of a few relatives who still can't figure out some basics. Seeing the screen change so much would probably freak them out.

One more thought - I hope all those temporary SERPs don't allow Firefox to prefetch - that would really confuse the server logs.
7:01 pm on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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"SERPADD"
(search engine results page attention deficit disorder)
7:44 pm on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Anyone else see it?


Have I been dreaming since I'm sure I've had this for quite some time?
8:05 pm on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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According to TechCrunch, Google has now confirmed this test:

Google has confirmed to TechCrunch that the above video is in fact real. Is this capability imminent? Sources familiar with Google product developments could not say whether imminent productization in the cards...

[techcrunch.com...]

@HuskyPup - either you've been getting the test for a while, or I didn't communicate what's going on clearly enough. I'll give it another shot. Every letter you type in the search box on a results page creates not only a "Search Suggestion" dropdown box -- it also dynamically loads a completely new SERP, from top to bottom, via AJAX. The SERP seems to be based on the top Search Suggestion.
8:09 pm on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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it will probably also devalue even further the results further down the serps.

if a user types in "widget" and sees some less-than-helpful results he would probably have delved further down, and be tempted to click onto page 2. but now he can just add another letter or word to his original "widget" and get a brand new set of results without waiting for the screen refresh
8:26 pm on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Every letter you type in the search box on a results page creates not only a "Search Suggestion" dropdown box


Yep, I've been seeing this for quite a while, I can't remember since when but it's just like the youtube video. I've used it to test out the most popular keywords for my widgets.
8:36 pm on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Still not sure I'm coming across completely. It's NOT just the Search Suggestions that update. That definitely is old news, most definitely, and it is a good way to see what searches are popular.

But in this test, each change in the Search Suggestions also loads a completely new SERP. Even though you are not clicking on "Enter" to perform the search, the results for the top suggestion are still being loaded on your screen.

So it's not just the Suggestions that update dynamically, the entire SERP updates along with them.
8:46 pm on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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In many cases for informational queries, this will be wikipedia's super fast search facility.

Interesting development nonetheless.

I'd imagine the backend to this has a url+title+snippet description attached to every query, or perhaps the snippet differs?
8:53 pm on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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But in this test, each change in the Search Suggestions also loads a completely new SERP.


Ahhh...ok, I watched the video full screen and see what you mean, impresssive, not only the SERPs but also AdWords.
8:57 pm on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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yes - if they ever go live with something like this, I do wonder about its impact on Adwords. I'm sure that's something Google is watching during this test.
9:03 pm on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If google is recording each SERP result with every letter change then this will really distort impressions on Adsense.
9:09 pm on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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It would probably wreak some havoc in WebmasterTools, too. It may already be affecting both at a low level.
10:21 pm on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I hope this feature will have an on/off switch.
Could be useful for competitive analysis.
11:00 pm on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If google is recording each SERP result with every letter change then this will really distort impressions on Adsense.

I'm sure Google is tracking behavior very closely during these tests.

But, would they count a view as an impression before you click? Seems to me that, at the least, you'd have to pause for a while before it should be counted.

This feature might result in fewer clicks to the serps page... so, depending on what they do count as an impression, it could end up reducing reported impressions rather than increasing them.

I'd consider what the most desirable behavior would be from Google's point of view. What's the user involvement tradeoff?... the user satisfaction tradeoff?... the infrastructure tradeoff?... and the impact on advertising income, both AdSense and AdWords?

The feature most likely would trigger certain kinds of mental disorders, so the healthcare costs might also be a factor. ;)
11:08 pm on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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So, to check what this might be like in the future, go to Google and type
w, Search
we, Search
web, Search
web, Search
webm, Search
webma, Search
webmas, Search
webmast, Search
webmaste, Search
webmaster, Search
webmasterw, Search
webmasterwo, Search
webmasterwor, Search
webmasterworl, Search
webmasterworld, Search

Except, of course, on your keywords.

Gonna be some funny ones for some. And some will not be laughing at all.

Annoying for most everyone, is my take.
11:31 pm on Aug 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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the more they fix it, the more broke it gets.

next bing commercial wont be saying THE LINKSSSSS they can say THE FLASHING PAGESSS IT WON"T STOP MOVING
2:36 am on Aug 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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<rant bof>
It Would be totaly cool on Googles Part to decrease the number of O's in a lower portion of the page, as in Goooooooooogle gets less O's with the query results getting closer to what the "USER ID" is looking for, and when there is nothing else to display due to webmasters blocking GBOT, it would say "Please visit BING.com"

If this would ever be implemented the ENG LANG level all over the world would drop as a ...

To the team at the Plex(if the above is the experiment of sort) ---: Please consider adapting a pet for the office. Gold Fish sounds like a "ghome rhun" to me, don't forget the gogles though.
</rant eof>
4:46 am on Aug 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Interesting concept, but very distracting, and somewhat annoying, as well. If fully rolled out, wouldn't this also have an effect on Comscore, Hitwise, etc. search share stats? (In addition to the services mentioned above in the thread)
5:17 am on Aug 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Whatever happened to providing something cool, that worked, and leaving it? :)
6:15 am on Aug 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If this becomes a regular feature, which I highly doubt it will, get your internal link structures aligned with the FIRST suggestion as a priority and place 2nd level pages (ass seen as the second set of serps) a layer into your structure... and so on.

People are Lazy, they will rarely finish typing in a full keyword sentence and so all of those "first shot" results are much more valuable.
7:42 am on Aug 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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This must be effect to CTR and may difficult for SEO to determine the quality of listing on SERPs that usually we can use CTR as key indicator
12:00 pm on Aug 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Isn't this the same company that wants everyone else to conserve bandwidth?
12:03 pm on Aug 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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This may kill off long tail searches. I can see it being a little frustrating. In the similar way any software that tries to hard to predict your next move before you do it.

It can be very distracting.
12:14 pm on Aug 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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maybe it wont be so bad. how many people actually go to google to do their first search? most people do it straight from their browser bar these days. so users will still get a regular serps listing for their first search. its only if they search a second time on google that this will new thing will kick in.
3:47 pm on Aug 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I never use those search bars. Just a habit to head to g.com
5:02 pm on Aug 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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users will still get a regular serps listing for their first search. its only if they search a second time on google that this will new thing will kick in.

Exactly, londrum. Important to remember that. And I also agree with Sgt_Kickaxe that this is unlikely to roll-out completely as it is.

In fact, it is only one of many tests that Google runs at any time (they say 50 to 200 are always being tried). But the fact that this is even a test direction is fascinating to me. One purpose seems to be helping the person who is doing a query revision. For example, I could see this only kicking in as long as the query term begins with same letters as the previous search.
5:43 pm on Aug 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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"I never use those search bars. Just a habit to head to g.com "

Just a habit to head to Bing.
7:34 pm on Aug 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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That requires some slow typing for it to work.
11:13 pm on Aug 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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*goes off and optimises web pages for "wi", "wid", "widg" and "widge"*
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