Google Search Results Pages May Soon Be Even More Cluttered

    May 9, 2012
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Google has been testing/experimenting with some richer search results pages for things like movies, actors, bands, books, people, etc. We wrote about it last month when a reddit user posted a screen cap, but from the sound of it, these results may become commonplace for all Google users in the near term.

Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land reports that it “seems likely everyone may see this extended information soon.” He also says it’s likely that this is the “refresh” the Wall Street Journal reported on in March. We wrote about that here.

Basically, based on the description from the Wall Street Journal, Google would be providing more direct answer-type results that would keep more users from having to click through links to actually find what they’re looking for. This would fit that bill.

Based on the WSJ article, the content would be coming from the fruits of Google’s acquisition of Metaweb Technologies in 2010.

“With efforts like rich snippets and the search answers feature, we’re just beginning to apply our understanding of the web to make search better,” Google upon the acquisition. “Type [barack obama birthday] in the search box and see the answer right at the top of the page. Or search for [events in San Jose] and see a list of specific events and dates. We can offer this kind of experience because we understand facts about real people and real events out in the world. But what about [colleges on the west coast with tuition under $30,000] or [actors over 40 who have won at least one oscar]? These are hard questions, and we’ve acquired Metaweb because we believe working together we’ll be able to provide better answers.”

If these features do indeed become actual features, beyond experiments, it will further illustrate the fact that Google’s results pages are becoming much more cluttered, particularly when compared to Bing’s more simplistic refresh. It’s a far cry from the simple SERPs Google users got to know and love a decade or so ago, though there has been a lot of functionality added.

Of course, not everyone’s thrilled with some of the things Bing is doing either.

According to Sullivan, this particular experimental feature of Google used to come with a “Sources” label.

Image Credit: reddit user philosyche

  • Justin

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  • Renaldo

    These days, unless you pursue a policy of paid insertion into the SERPs, you’re doomed to page 2 where nobody will ever find your content.

    Google got us addicted, now they’re starting to charge us through the nose.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    It’s interesting–at what point do usability and thoroughness diverge. Theoretically, SERPS with more information would be better for the user, but are we approaching information overload? Can Google produce too much information upfront that is actually hurts the search experience?

  • http://www.LAokay.com Steve G

    Basically Google is trying to do what publishers do, keep users on their website for as long as they can because it means typically means greater revenue for the website. The problem with search engines is that their intention should be to get the user to where the user expects to be without a lot of steering them in a particular direction on purpose, like a typical website does, or should be doing.

    The problem is Google is trying to appear to be a gateway and not a gatekeeper to retain users to constantly use it’s search engine thinking they aren’t being driven towards one thing or another, just simply given results of what they asked for.

    You would think Google could be happy with what little in click through rates they get on their search ads as they make billions in revenue because of it. Not to mention all the websites that share in the ad revenue with Google by placing Google ads on their websites. With that kind of revenue, you’d think Google could be happy with what they have and not step on anybody’s toes, but it’s clearly not the case as Google has branched out in so many ways it should be called Treegle.