Posted May 21, 2009 9:29 am by with 14 comments

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Google has announced a number of changes to its Google Suggest technology. The search engine starts its post with the most user beneficial additions, but lets start ours with what’s really behind these changes, shall we?

Yep, that’s a sponsored result you’re seeing at the bottom of Google Suggest. Now, you might think I’m about to go on a rant, but I’m not. I think it’s actually a pretty smart move by Google. After all, there’s only so much "screen estate" that the company can monetize and here it is, squeezing an itty bitty ad into a small box.

There are three other additions to Google Suggest. Two are useful, one I’m not so sure about. First the useful ones. If you’re signed into a Google account you’ll see personalized suggestions on the list–based on your previous searches. Google’s also added navigational suggestions–so if you start typing the name of a company or brand, you’ll more likely see the actual URL appear in your suggested items.

OK, so the one I’m not so sure about is the new "suggestions on the search page" feature. Basically, if you search for "iPhone" and then go back to the search box on the results page, Google will tailor its suggestions to your iPhone search. This is handy if you are actually refining your search, but I wonder if Google is going a step to far by assuming that will always be the case.

Google’s also removing the page count from the suggestions–something that never made sense anyway–and says it will be rolling the new features out "gradually."

What looks good to you; what doesn’t?

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  • Good feature for those who advertise. Also good for searching as one can take the suggestion in Google search box.

  • Honestly, it's a little surprising that Google is using the suggestion box to plug ads. I feel as though there is more than enough space for ads in the SERPs, why the need to clutter it up even more?

  • Andy,

    Consider yourself blessed (or not?)

    I tested, and the features you found aren't showing up for me yet either signed in or not. And that's fine by me!

    Personally I despise the Suggest feature. I've eliminated that AND my history info in my browser URL and search boxes altogether because I am an archaic dinosaur that learned how to type on a manual Royal typewriter in Junior High School about 35 years ago, and I always know what I want when I'm entering a URL or words I want to search by and. And I even spell-check as I go.

    So that leaves me feeling annoyed every time Google tries to suggest things to me. And that visual distraction interrupts my focus as I'm typing, because I'm not a face toward the keyboard hunt and peck slacker. I actually focus on the screen.

    As for their looking to monetize it, I wonder if they conducted a focus group yet or will be carefully watching the click-through ratios on it (probably the latter yes?)

    One last rant I have is that I have noticed when I'm doing a search, a vast majority of their suggestions are for commercial product or services companies, not the less commercial content out on the web. I know that a lot of this is due to search volume. It's just one more way the web is skewed though. When I type in Walt (about to look up something on poet Walt Whitman), four of the suggestions immediately come up are Walt Disney related, and two are for Walther pistols.

    Ole' Walt Whitman has one entry there, so that's a good guess I suppose, but a heck of a way to lead people to unintentionally clicking on a very in-correct link only to be presented with worthless search results if they're not precise on their use of the mouse or keyboarding.

    • Have you tried turning it off? 🙂

      • Well, I'm rarely signed in when I search (even with “history” deactivated, my conspiracy theory self refuses to believe that if I'm signed in they're tracking all my web use even when I'm NOT in Google… LOL) And when I'm not signed in whatever settings I check in prefs disappear when I close my browser.

  • the search suggest is a beta and one of the numerous beta tests that Google is currently running. Most people won't even run into it but if you do, don't be too alarmed. Most of these betas never make it passed the testing phase. I have no problems with google testing new things I am all for it.

    Let's see what actually gets implemented then we can all complain if we don't like it.

  • I can't say I wouldn't do it if I were Google. Right now times are tough for almost every company and Google needs to find ways to make their advertisers more money through relevant traffic and this is a great way to do it if their algorithm is correct. I would hate to be an affiliate marketer having to put up with all of these new advertising mediums daily but I guess that's why they make the big bucks.

  • Yep, I agree it is a smart move from Google.Is it pulling up these sponsored links from Adwords or how is it working? I rarely login to my Google account so I will not see those ads.

  • Wow. Thats amazing. A big move from google uh.

  • Thats a great way to fetch some more additional revenue in these tough economic times.. Google is simply great..

  • Interesting. Someday they will control the world anyway. lol

  • Google everywhere!

  • Nice news, Google doesn't stop, keep going on 😉