Google Universal Search is a way that Google “blends” results from “vertical” search engines like Google Images or Google News into its web search listings. Google Launches “Universal Search” & Blended Results covers the launch of the system in May 2007; Google Universal Search Expands covers how it grew in 2008. Both provide good background for understanding the system today, as does Search 3.0: The Blended & Vertical Search Revolution. Below are articles with the latest developments with Universal Search.

Google Offers A Peek Into Its Internal Eye-Tracking Studies

There's an interesting post today on the Official Google Blog that gives a glimpse inside the company's usability and eye-tracking studies -- tests that help Google determine what their search results pages should look like. The image above, for example, shows how users interact with a standard results page with 10 links. The deeper colors up top, Google says, show that most people found what they were looking for in the first two results on the page. No surprise there, but in May, 2007, when Google introduced Universal Search to its interface, marketers began to wonder how the addit [...]

Want To Rank Tops In Google? Do YouTube Videos, Stupid!

The Forrester Blog published a small but interesting study on how you can improve your chances, by 50 times, of showing up at the top of the Google search results. Their tip? Utilize Google's Universal Search by creating videos. Not only does Forrester share statistics and analysis on how to improve your odds with videos, but they also share tips on how to improve your video's chance at being the top video in Google web search. Let's first discuss the odds. The blog post showed that a video has a "11,000-to-1 chance of making it onto the first page of results." If you compare that to [...]

Marissa Mayer Denies Rumor She’s Leaving Google, Comments On Search Being “90% Done”

In some ways the "future of search" is a tired topic that has already seen hundreds (maybe thousands) of speculative articles. But it's also a topic of critical importance for search leader Google, whose entire franchise is built upon doing it better than anyone else. Just as Microsoft didn't anticipate the rise of search and search advertising and Google didn't anticipate Facebook, it's possible that something as yet unknown could displace traditional search's (and Google's) centrality in the internet experience. Citing her blog post on the future of search, the UK publication TechRadar us [...]

Blogger Image Thumbnails In Google A Bug?

Steve Rubel reported seeing an excess of what he calls "Blog Thumbnails" in the Google search results. In short, when you do certain searches, Google may show little thumbnail alongside the first set of results. For Steve, this has been happening for "blogger's name and some other related keywords." Personally, I have been seeing these types of thumbnails for a while, but they only have come up for me for very specific searches, so I assumed it was a smaller bug then it really was. Google's Matt Cutts has commented claiming this is some sort of bug and he has reported it to the right peo [...]

Google Testing Two Videos On One Web Search Result

Ever since the launch of Google Universal Search, Google has been showing videos in the web search results. But sometimes, there are more than one video shown in the web search results and, in many cases, those multiple videos will take up the space of 2 or more of the ten results shown. Philipp Lenssen reports that Google is now testing showing a second video result on the same search result as the first video result. For example, the search that triggered this test was for iphone in Google Canada. What I see are two video results beneath a news result, which is beneath a web result. In [...]

Now Google Searches For “Educating” Not Safe For Family Viewing

I feel bad for always seeming to pick on Google about showing inappropriate images in normal web search. But it's happened again. This morning at the Search Engine Roundtable, I explained that a search for [educating] returns a "teacher standing over a student holding a small rod, with the student's pants down leaning over a desk." For the term education! What is even worse is that I privately reported this image three days ago to Google for removal, using the new Report Images feature in Google web search. Today, it's still sitting there (though now, not likely for long). Here what's show [...]

Google Adds “Report Images” To Web Search Results

Finding adult images on Google by doing an ordinary web search is not all that uncommon these days. In fact, I reported one such as in March and another case this morning at the Search Engine Roundtable. What I also noticed this morning was a new feature to "report images" to Google that are found within web search. For example, a search on new bathroom brings up an adult image, but I was able to report that search result to Google directly from that page: After you click on the "Report image," you are asked to confirm: Then after you confirm, Google gives you a "thank you" message: [...]

Google Drops Ability To Watch Video Directly In Search Results

Vanessa Fox posted details a few days ago about how Google has removed the ability to watch videos directly in the search results and discussed how Yahoo! and Live Search handle video listings in web search. Ionut posted a few days later and got several comments from people who used the feature and didn't want it taken away. As part of Google's universal search launch, videos listed in the search results included a plus sign that said "watch video." As of a few weeks ago, that plus box is no longer available, and searchers have to click through the result to watch the video on the hosting p [...]

Expand Customer Relationships As Search Engines Evolve User Experience

Last week, Microsoft Live Search expanded the description that appears below Wikipedia results and added navigational links to major headings within the Wikipedia article. Google has long been gently mocked by the search marketing community for ranking Wikipedia results highly for a large percentage of queries, but the general searching population tends to find these results useful. Microsoft must have found that their searchers find Wikipedia results particularly valuable for their queries to have implemented special treatment for them. Below is the Wikipedia result for the query breakfast [...]

iProspect: Blended Search Resulting In More Clicks On News, Images, And Video

Since the advent of "blended" or "universal search" last year across the major engines, there's been ongoing discussion and speculation about its impact on user behavior and search marketing. Gord Hotchkiss last year wrote extensively about how blended search (on Google) has in fact shifted the user focus from the so-called "golden triangle" at the upper left of the page to a more distributed pattern that resembles an "E." Now search marketing firm iProspect has released a study (conducted by JupiterResearch) that shows users are responding to the various specialized content types within sear [...]

Branding Coming To Search In A Big Way

Search has historically been seen as a direct response vehicle and the notion that search is a branding medium has traditionally been met with considerable skepticism by search marketers, albeit somewhat less recently. In an effort to be provocative in moderating the "branding and search" panel at SMX West last month, I said, "Search is much more a branding medium than anything else." When I asked how many people agreed in the audience, only a few hands went up. James Lamberti of comScore then presented evidence to argue that search was in fact a powerful branding medium because of its reach, [...]

Google SafeSearch Filter Bug: Porn Found On Google Universal Search Results

This morning I reported at the Search Engine Roundtable that users have been spotting explicit pornographic images on Google web search for a search on hot celebrities (warning: before clicking, take caution). The query triggers Google to show an image search result at the top of the web search results, also known as Google Universal Search. The pornographic image shows up even though I have my preferences set to block "explicit images." Note that my preference is the default SafeSearch setting for all Google users. Any user, including children, searching for that keyword will see an extre [...]

New—And Unfortunate—Changes To Google Local Search

Google recently made some quite significant changes to the OneBox / Universal Search result that appears at the top of the result page when you do a query that Google determines has local intent. Previously, Google would display three local search results in the OneBox area, with a star rating and a review snippet. Now Google returns 10 local results listed A-J. Once I'd finished reeling from the potential impact this would have on our natural traffic, I began to run through all the potential implications. What I discovered was quite a naive system—one that feels more like something [...]

Google Universal Search Expands

It's just over a half-year since Google launched Universal Search, its method of blending results from its own various topically-focused or "vertical" search engines. Since that time, the system has evolved. In particular, Google Universal Search now fills more than just 10 spots on the page, while shopping and blog search results are among new resources being included. Below, a look at these and related changes. The Big Picture: Comparative Ranking & Blending With Universal Search, Google promised that two major things would happen: Comparative Ranking Blending [...]

Google Maps Gaining On Market Leader Mapquest

Mapquest arguably "owns" the mapping brand online. It has been the dominant mapping site for years by a wide margin. But that dominance may now be slipping under pressure from Google. Hitwise reports that "traffic to Mapquest has remained flat year on year and is down 20% in the past 6 months. Google Maps traffic is up 135% year on year and is up 7% in the past 6 months." According to Hitwise, after Mapquest, Google is the number two mapping site, followed by Yahoo and then Microsoft's Live Local. Hitwise's Heather Hopkins argues that the traffic trend is based almost exclusively on Goog [...]

Google 2D? Google Tests Vertical Results In Right-Hand Column

Ask 3D was the name Ask gave to the "three pane" user interface rolled out earlier this year. Now Google seems to be copying Ask, at least to the second degree, with the right-most column being used to show vertical results similar to how Ask does it. Google Blogoscoped and Valleywag both have pictures of Google trying out the right-hand column as a location for Google's OneBox results. It would be interesting to see if this test turns out to be more than a test. Google has adopted Universal Search, but by placing these vertical results outside of the main web results, they no longer seem t [...]

Google Adds Subscribed Links To Universal Search Interface

Google Subscribed Links Integrated Into Universal Search from Google Blogoscoped reports Google has integrated subscribed links into the Universal Search interface within the search results. In the past, subscribed links, which is part of the Google Custom Search Engine initiative, would be listed in a green box at the top of your search results. Now, these subscribed links can appear anywhere on the page, from the top to the middle to the bottom of the search results. Here is a picture showing the Search Engine Roundtable Subscribed Links within the middle of the search results for a sear [...]

Search 3.0: The Blended & Vertical Search Revolution

This has been a remarkable year. After years of no real dramatic evolution in search, the third generation finally arrived. Google calls it Universal Search, and I've been tending to say "blended search" as a generic name for the change that's now hit all the major search engines. But in doing the agenda for our upcoming SMX West conference, a better term for what's going on finally clicked: Search 3.0. In this article, I'll cover the why and what of Search 3.0, taking in Search 1.0 and 2.0 along the way and touch on how Search 4.0 -- personal and social refinement -- is on the way. [...]

Chewing Gum, Google Universal Search, & Is That A Nude Woman?

Here's latest Google Universal Search funny, this time for chewing gum. Three images at the top. You've got your gumballs, your Juicy Fruit, and your -- um -- naked woman? Yep: You can't really see that much, so I haven't bothered to place a strategic black dot. Those concerned that this might have come up in front of a classroom of kids will be happy to know that if Google SafeSearch is on, then none of the images show. This is because it appears that SafeSearch overrides Google Universal Search image integration, regardless if a picture is explicit or not. I say this because if you do an [...]

Google Actively Considering ‘Richer Format’ Ads For

MediaPost reports on comments, about image and video ads potentially appearing on Google, made by company speakers at the Citigroup Technology Conference in New York this week. However, this is just a further acknowledgment and confirmation of what Marissa Mayer previously alluded to during the Universal Search unveiling in May. At that time Mayer said: Well we don't have anything to announce on that today. I do think this opens the door for the introduction of richer media into the search results page. We are now going to understand how users interact with that. And as Alan always likes to [...]

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