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Universal Search Not Universally Good For Google

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To some people, the launch of Google Universal Search meant nothing – it’s a good bet that the release went unnoticed by many.  Yet to others, it was a big deal, and bits and pieces of Google itself seem to have been affected in major, traffic-related ways.

Hitwise’s Bill Tancer released a report showing the change in visits to the search engine company’s top properties; while some went down, others went up.  Google Maps and YouTube were among the lucky ones, showing improvements of 20.34% and 8.26%, respectively.

Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz explains why.  “Google Maps saw a 20% increase in traffic because prior to Universal search, Google only displayed map results for a very limited set of queries,” he writes.  “Now, Google Maps results are far more common and take up to three of the seven web search results.”

Similarly, “Prior [to Google Universal Search], YouTube videos were not shown in Google’s web search results.”

But other Google properties weren’t so lucky; visits to Google Book Search went down 19.44%, and Google News’s numbers decreased by 7.84%.  As for Google Image Search, Schwartz notes, “Image search took a 7.22% dive, most likely because the image one box results were no longer guaranteed to be displayed at the top.  Image search results now can be found at the bottom, middle or top of the results.”

I think it’s likely that most of the world is indifferent to Google Universal Search.  But within the Googleplex, certain teams have almost undoubtedly noticed these big changes due to its launch.

Universal Search Not Universally Good For Google
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