Searchmetrics has put out a white paper analyzing Google's use of Universal Search results for its various vertical offerings, finding a "dramatic reduction" in the number and proportion of shopping integrations displayed in results during 2012. The reduction, according to the study, coincides with Google's switch to the paid Google Shopping model in the U.S.
Interestingly, the number of video integrations has been reduced as well. Historically, video results have been the most frequently displayed form of Universal Search in Google's results. On the flip side, there has been an increase in news integrations, in addition to an increase in news sources.
The study examines videos, images, maps, shopping and news in Universal Search.
"Turning to the analysis, there was hardly any change to the distribution of market shares before the spring," the study's authors write. "Video has long been the most important form of Universal Search integration, followed at some distance by image integrations and shopping results. Nearly all of the curves remain very stable until March/April, with one exception: the integration of videos peaked slightly after March, before falling back gently in July through August to the starting figure of the spring. Since then the percentage share of video integrations in Universal Search has fallen continuously."
You can see an infographic about the study here.[via Search Engine Land]