More Reassurances about Google Instant
September 14, 2010
Me thinks some doth protest too much. Apologies to Billy Shakespeare but the stories running in the “real” media’s Web sites and blog posts are catching my attention. From the goose pond, I see Google Instant as a marketing play, a service designed to pump up revenues, and a reminder that Googlers can have a potentially fatal disease called “feature-itis”.
You make up your own mind. Navigate to “Google: Concerns over Instant Unwarranted.” For professional journalists, the article is a long one. It has two parts. The story is an interview with a Googler wrapped in well-crafted rhetorical bookends. No problem. I could, if I were motivated, identify a quote to note in the verbiage.
instead I noted this passage:
As tends to happen whenever Google introduces a potentially disruptive technology, a debate has sprouted, in this case focused on how Instant potentially changes three things: the way publishers optimize their pages to rank in Google results; the way marketers pick and bid on keywords for search ad campaigns; and the way end users articulate queries and review results.
I look at this from the perspective of an addled goose and ask, “Why bother?” I recall one of the rich guys I used to work for before he keeled over from a stroke in one of his more interesting business facilities, “Never complain. Never explain.” I read the article and noted both complaining, well, maybe just whining and quite a bit of explaining.
Instant is for me a feature that strikes at the heart of search engine optimization’s base camp, gives the Google a reason to captivate the world’s media with crazy statements about saving billions of hours when searching, and triggers a “debate”. The reaction is interesting because it really means little to me.
What it tells me is this:
First, Google wants to capture headlines and attention after the holiday weekend. Mission accomplished. Good job, marketing department.
Second, Google has not really innovated because Instant strikes me as rewarding big companies and deep pockets. With Instant running, one has to focus in order to get a complete, original query into the search box and launched. The suggestions method will appeal to a certain type of Google user. Other types of Google users may shift to advanced search or just use a different service of which there are quite a few, gentle reader.
Third, the Instant function does not address the increasing problems I have experienced in getting fresh, precise, and relevant results. For example, I ran a series of queries on Google and a competitor called DuckDuckGo.com and on the Xoogler site Cuil.com. Guess what I found. I was able to obtain more relevant results on my test topic related to what are called “RAC” in the health care business than on Google.
In short, like Buzz and Wave, the benefits to me are not great. Therefore, the volubility of Google about Instant suggests that what looked so good over Odwallas may be having some unexpected consequences. Words won’t address these. Cats out of the bag are tough to recapture.
Stephen E Arnold, September 14, 2010