Not familiar with Google’s OneBox, Plus Box or direct answers? See our Meet The Google OneBox, Plus Box, Direct Answers & The 10-Pack article that explains them all, complete with illustrations.

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 [...]


Need Flight Status? Google Now Provides Tracking

The Google Blog announced they have improved how they return flight status information in search results. Instead of just providing a link to get flight times, you get that information directly in the OneBox area at Google, without requiring a click to see it. Here is a screen capture of the Google results for a search on aa 123 before Google added schedule information to the result: Here are Google's new results: Notice how Google now tells you if your flight is on time or delayed, as well as the estimated departure and arrival times. Danny did a huge compare and contrast of how sea [...]


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 [...]


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. [...]


From The Isn’t It Ironic Dept: Google Product Search’s Results Show Up In Google

Remember how Google said recently that it might crack down on listings pages that are simply search results themselves? Reader Michael Nguyen dropped an email today to point out how, ironically, Google is now listing pages from its own Google Product Search service exactly as it has warned others not to do. OK, settle down back there, those of you having a chuckle. Embarrassing? Yes! Intentional? Almost certainly not. Let's take a look. Try a search for snake light, and you'll get this: See down there at the bottom? Two pages from Google Product Search showing up in the top results: I [...]


Google News Results Now Live In Web Search Results

As we reported last week, Google is now including news results in web search results when your query terms trigger relevant results. The results are clearly marked with a link for "News results for..." above the news results, as shown here: I've asked Google how the new changes will affect algorithms. Stay tuned.... [...]


Google To Integrate News With Web Search Results

Soon, Google will quietly begin changing the way it blends news results and standard web search results, co-mingling links to news sources and web pages if your search terms are relevant to current news events. The new format will replace OneBox news links that have normally appeared at the top of a search result page, such as shown below: [NOTE: Originally Google was to roll this change out on Thursday, when we posted. Now the company says it won't happen for at least another week. We've updated timing references to reflect this.] Shortly, news results will no longer be inserted into w [...]


Google Officially Releases Plus Box Feature Again

The Google Blog finally announced the Google Plus Box feature that we have been reporting on since last year. In fact, this is not the first time we had confirmation from Google on the plus box. Matt Cutts of Google wrote about it on December 9, 2006, after several of bloggers spotted tests of it in November 2006 (see Michael, Ionut, Philipp, and Barry). The Google Blog confirms there are finance plus boxes and maps plus boxes but does not mention the video plus box. [...]


Google Video Plus Box Results

Philipp Lenssen spotted plus box results at Google for Google Video results. He noticed it for a search on nightwish videos, but I do not see it myself. For a screen capture check out Philipp's Google Blogoscoped. We have covered two other plus box results in the past. Google "Plus Box" Puts Maps In Search ResultsGoogle Finance Plus Signs In Google Search Results I personally like many of these implementations. [...]


Google Finance Plus Signs In Google Search Results

Threadwatch spotted plus signs within Google search results that contain Google Finance information. A search at one Google data center on computers brings back the follow results: Clicking on the plus sign, opens a Google Finance preview. This is similar to Google Maps plus sign in the Google search results. Hat tip to Google Operating Systems also. [...]


Google Adds Local Reviews In Search Results

The Google Blog announced that when you conduct searches at Google.com for local specific information, you may get local reviews and business comparisons. For example a search on pizza 10010 returns three results, all with five stars, from pizza restaurants in NYC. Here is a screen capture: It also works with movies 10010. On the business front, a search on web 10901, brings up a local result for my business (RustyBrick) and two of my competitors, with no reviews. Other search engines return similar results. For example, Ask.com for a search on pizza 10010 brings up 3 local results wi [...]


Q&A With Marissa Mayer, Google VP, Search Products & User Experience

Marissa Mayer has been the driving force behind Google's Spartan look and feel from the very earliest days. In this wide-ranging interview, I talked with Marissa about everything from interface design to user behavior to the biggest challenge still to be solved with search as we currently know it. I had asked for the interview because of some notable findings in our most recent eye tracking study. I won't go into the findings in any great depth here, because Chris Sherman will be doing a deep dive soon. But for the purpose of setting the background for Marissa's interview, here are some very [...]


New Google Checkout Promo; New Google Trust Worries

Gary Price pointed out something new to me on Google, the ability to filter product search results from merchants using Google Checkout. But more important, Google's promoting this new feature right within its main search results. That move, along with just having dropped map links to competitors and in the wake of last month's tips fiasco, rings alarm bells that Google's not thinking clearly about the best way to balance promoting its own products and the trust of users. Here's what you get at the top of results for a search for sd cards 128mb: Note, Jan 17: Ionut Alex notes he's seen thi [...]


‘Reverse Engineering’ Google Local Results

Search engine marketer Mike Blumenthal on his blog, "Understanding Google Maps & Yahoo Local," has been doing an interesting investigation to try and understand the Google Maps and local search algorithm and what factors influence those rankings. As a basic matter, Google uses different algorithms for general and local search results. I spoke with Mike on Friday, and he said that one of the surprising takeaways from his ongoing research is that Google also appeared to be using different factors to determine results in the top three local results that appear on Google.com ("OneBox") and the ra [...]


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