Full-page Website previews in Google searches and Twitter links within news feeds are being tested
Google is currently testing full page previews of Websites entered as queries into the search box, a search engine optimisation expert discovered.
When information seekers type in a search query and hit Enter, they may see search results highlighted in blue. Hovering over these results pops out a preview of the Website associated with query to the right of the results pane. It has certain similarities with Microsoft’s Bing search pages where “hover preview” pops up extra information for selected search items.
In the current litigious climate of patent suits, Google could find it costly if it decides to implement this feature. It all depends on which patents cards Microsoft has in its hand and whether Google holds a trump card up its sleeve.
Could Be Another Instant Hit
The preview, which users may click on anywhere to go directly to the Website, roughly offers the full Web page, albeit with some cropping to fit it into the limited space on the right side of the screen.
Google also highlights some sections of the page in orange and, under the results, provides snippets of information that are pulled from the Website, said Patrick Altoft, director of search at UK search optimisation specialist Branded3.
Altoft made the discovery using Google’s Chrome Web browser in Incognito mode and reported it in his company’s blog. Since then, the comments on the blog have shown that the feature is very much under test as it keeps appearing and disappearing.
These comments also show that the feature could cause controversy with Google adverts. The pop-up displays can cover the paid-for advertising linked to the search terms that are always displayed to the right of the screen. This will not please those advertisers.
Asked about Altoft’s find, a Google spokesperson told eWEEK, “At any given time we are running between 50-200 search experiments.”
This has been the company line for the last four years but it is worth noting that the last time users spotted such a radical experiment it was a taste of Google’s Instant Search in August.
Google would go on to launch it at a news event that made a splash in September. The technology prompted financial analysts to rethink their estimates of Google’s search ad monetisation.
“We think such an improvement could increase the total volume and frequency of searches as users adopt the automation,” wrote Youssef Squali, an analyst at securities and investment bank Jefferies, in a research note. He added that it “may lift revenue per search (RPS)”.
Think Equity analysts said that Instant Search could boost Google’s search revenue five percent in the near term.
Twitter Adds To The News
Full page previews are not the only experiment that Google has some users buzzing about. Search Engine Land noted that Google is playing with connecting users’ Twitter feeds with Google News, a move that would fall under Google’s search integration arrangement with Twitter from last year.
The integration manifests in a Friends box under the Recent Items section on the right of Google News (see below). It would not make sense to surface random Twitter “friends” in front of any user, which is why users will sign in with their Twitter user name.
This will not be mistaken for Google Me but is definitely another sign that Google is becoming somewhat serious about social media.