Google Suggest Testing Links, Ads

    December 15, 2008

When Google Suggest was first released, Google freely admitted that its development had begun about four years earlier.  Since the feature did little more than save keystrokes, this seemed kind of sad.  Only now Google’s testing some upgrades that might make Google Suggest both sophisticated and profitable.

Suppose you’re going to search for [new york times], for example.  While normal users are supposed to start typing the query, pick one of Google Suggest’s recommendations, look at the results page, and then click on something, certain testers are just seeing Google Suggest provide a link to the New York Times site.

Google Suggest

According to Danny Sullivan, other queries are eliciting links to news stories.  Both of these options could allow even neat freaks and fast typists to see Google Suggest as more than a page-clutterer and distraction.

Then there’s the detail that’ll be of interest to advertisers: sponsored links are sometimes showing up, too.  Sullivan writes, "I’m somewhat concerned about the ads appearing at the top of the list.  For one thing, I think it’s way too easy for people to click on an ad to reach a web site where Google should be sending them to for free . . . .  Fortunately, Google said it’s also testing an implementation where the ads appear at the bottom of the list."

Given how hard Google is trying to tap into new revenue sources, don’t be surprised if at least some of these ideas become mainstream in the near future.