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:

Google Checkout Promotion

Note, Jan 17: Ionut Alex notes he’s seen this happen back in November, so it might not be new but more widely showing now. I asked Google about it being new right after the story posted and haven’t heard back. I’d never seen it before nor found written references to it when I searched before posting.

Notice how that search generates a OneBox display of product results from Google’s Froogle shopping search engine. Showing a OneBox is not new. Google’s done that for ages. But see the line at the bottom of it:

See sd cards 128mb results available through Google Checkout

That is new. I see these showing up for any query that generates a shopping OneBox. And frankly, it’s worrying.

First, there’s the issue of comprehensiveness. Click on that link, and you’ll get these 280 matches. Click on the regular link:

Product search results for sd cards 128mb

And you get these 11,681 matches. What’s the advantage for me to have fewer matches? There isn’t one, not if Google’s doing its job. I should be getting the most comprehensive and relevant listings that it can provide, not a promotion designed to up the usage of its Google Checkout service.

That leads to the second worrying point. This type of promotion is indeed going to make more merchants feel like they should use Google Checkout and that they are somehow going to be penalized if they don’t. And in fact, they now are. Don’t use Google Checkout and you risk being left out of the results people get if they click on that prominent link with the Google Checkout icon.

Why does this promotion need to be in the main Google search results? What benefit is it providing Google searchers? Wouldn’t it be better if Google were to instead promote seeing results available from 4 star merchants or from one of those organizations that works to certify the safety of online merchants. I see nothing in that line that’s seriously designed to help the search experience. I see only Google self-interest in doing it.

If narrowing results to Google Checkout merchants is so important, why don’t I see an option for it on Froogle’s advanced search page? Or an option right on the home page? I do get that option coming up after I do a search on Froogle, something added back in September. And I have less of a problem with it being there as an option among many. But shoving the option into Google’s main search results seems a step too far.

I didn’t have a problem with Google doing the entire tips thing last month, as I wrote about, because I felt those tips were outside the traditional search results area and that Google is allowed to promote its own products. But it’s another thing entirely to be doing that within the search results section that’s supposed to be untouched.

This comes at the same time Google’s dropped links to competing map services that it has traditionally carried, another self-interest move. On its own, that move doesn’t worry me so much. If Google has its own maps program, it makes sense to be pointing people toward that, if it honestly considers it best of breed.

However, a Google hallmark has been referring people to content beyond its own. Now what’s next to be dropped, links to other financial services that you get when doing a search on stock price like goog? [Google sort of seems to say no]

Outcry over the tips issue got Google to drop them. Clearly it heard the concerns over trust and reacted. But clearly it also didn’t learn anything from that. Google failed to have an official discussion or mention of the concerns via its blog. Now we’ve got Google Checkout shoved at us and map links dropped, both moves that someone should have realized would raise new concerns about Google’s self interest.

If Google’s going to do more of this, the company would be wise to actually communicate what it’s considering beforehand and gets some feedback from users. That’s going to help it retain trust or at least some sense that it will listen to concerns before acting. Switch those comments on at the blog, tell us what you’re planning, and let people weigh in. Even if you decide against the popular opinion, the decision won’t have been made in a vacuum.

Postscript Barry: Danny wrote an entry that has more on this named Google Checkout Blogs On Recent Promotions.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Checkout | Google: Critics | Google: OneBox, Plus Box & Direct Answers

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About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • http://www.stareclips.com/?checkout-promo umopapisdn

    It’s trendy to wear Nike shoes. It’s trendy to have an iPod. And now, these days, it’s trendy to complain about Google.

    First, you say “Google’s promoting this new feature right within its main search results”, but then admit that it’s a “OneBox” feature. Maybe you have a different view of what the “main search results” area is, but the OneBox feature isn’t a part of it, neither is the “tips” section. Feel free to analyze the following URL closely:

    http://www.google.com/help/interpret.html

    The items indicated by “I” (and when applicable, “O”) are search results. It is the only thing guaranteed to come up if a search yields results (with “O” items optionally appearing to group links from the same site). OneBox items don’t show up for every search, nor do tips. But to be fashionable, and join the “Let’s Complain About Google Every Chance We Get Club,” it makes perfect sense to declare OneBox results as “main search results” and then automatically declare that Google is up to no good.

    Then, you talk about how completely useless a feature is that lets one filter product search results to only those who accept Google Checkout. Maybe you consider this to be a worthless feature, but this is something I actively look for. I use Google Checkout on a regular basis and it gives me a better shopping experience than always going to some new website such as IBoughtSomeMemoryCardsFromTheStoreAndAmSellingThemOnline.com. I feel more comfortable paying through Google Checkout than by entering credit card information on the first website that happens to show the cheapest price. I have also been burned by buying memory cards and DVDs from eBay that turned out to be counterfeit, and PayPal/eBay did little to resolve the situation. So, I often filter product search results by those who accept Google Checkout, even if it means I pay a couple of dollars more for a $100 item.

    You pointed out that this must not be an important feature because it can’t be found on Froogle’s home page, or in the advanced search within Froogle. But you admit that it DOES appear in the SEARCH RESULTS within Froogle. Well, guess what? It doesn’t appear on the home page of Google (unless you’ve personalized it) and it doesn’t appear in the advanced search within Google, but it does appear within the Google OneBox results if you perform a product search. In other words, your mention of the home page or the advanced page was just a senseless argument. I understand your real complaint, more or less, to be that you don’t like how features of Froogle appear in a OneBox in a Google search. Yet, Google has always been doing this. Adding the link was just playing catch-up with a feature that has been in Froogle for quite a while.

    Also, regarding OneBox results, linking to competitors until their own product is up-to-speed and then dropping the links to the competitors has always been Google’s method. I don’t see why, after all of these years, it is suddenly becoming a problem. So, yes, I agree… when Google Finance catches up to the competitors, they will likely drop the link to the competing services and show information exclusively from their own Google Finance. How is this a problem? In my opinion, it is very user-centric. Rather than providing NOTHING or something SUB-PAR, they actually send their own users to the competition! It’s on par with Progressive’s (car insurance) philosophy. Then, when they feel they are providing a tool comparable to the competition, there is no longer a need to link to multiple sites. Again, what’s the problem?

    If you like using MapQuest, then go to MapQuest and do a search there. Google is simply providing a one-stop search-shop. You can search for a phone number, a movie, a stock ticker, a question, an address, a product, etc, etc… all from one location. And, they are able to provide the answer all in one location. Then, to give even more, they link to one of their own verticals to provide even more detailed information. Seems pretty straight-forward. They likely felt there was a need to store addresses and allow multiple destinations before dropping the links to the other services that had these features. With Google Finance, there are likely other milestones they feel they need to reach before dropping the other links as well.

    Then, you say merchants might be “left out” if they don’t use Google Checkout? Well, absolutely, but this has nothing to do with the addition of a link to the Google OneBox result for product searches. Most who click the link are already going to be Google Checkout users who only want to purchase using Google Checkout. So, non-Google-Checkout merchants WILL be left out when Google Checkout users want to shop. The same goes for non-PayPal merchants when PayPal users want to shop. It’s the way the market works with these things. I’m sure brick-and-mortar stores feel “left out” if they don’t accept Visa and MasterCard. Sure thing. It’s what the users want.

    Now MAYBE some NON-Google-Checkout users might click that link. Why? Because they’re confused and they’re not sure what the link does, so they just click it? Is this much different than a confused Internet user who fails to click on the first search result and always goes straight to the second link? Uh oh. Maybe SEO companies need to focus on getting us to link NUMBER TWO, instead. I don’t mean to sound negative… I mean this in all honesty. Yes, there are probably those who will click the link, unaware of what the link means. But, in all reality, you can’t design a website for these types of people. You’d end up filling every link and nook and cranny of a website with little question mark icons and helpful hints and tips, making things even more confusing. Heck, Google can’t even provide a “tip” without getting everyone riled up.

    All in all, in my opinion this is another useful feature for me. Before, I had to click the link to see the results on Froogle (or choose Froogle first), THEN I had to click the link to see the results from merchants that accept Google Checkout. Now, I get to skip an extra mouse click, which is always beneficial.

    I often used Google Blog Search and was rather frustrated that they didn’t have an easy link for it. So, I always typed blogsearch.google.com to visit it. I was glad they added a link to Google News, so I was often a click away. Now, they have added it to the top links, which is even better. They are, slowly but surely, integrating all of their services together, bringing all of the verticals into the feeling of a single roof. I can see this as only being beneficial to the users of Google. Those who are watching Google very closely and trying to find something wrong with every little tweak can find something wrong with just about everything.

    Why isn’t anyone complaining loudly about eBay still disallowing Google Checkout, after all of this time. How long before eBay considers Google Checkout a valid payment option? Is eBay just trying to buy time until they can lock people more and more into the PayPal “option”?

    How about the fact that IE7 has a search box that you can’t make go away? I have seen many avid users of the Google Toolbar get rid of it simply because they don’t like seeing two different search boxes take up screen real estate and since they couldn’t get rid of IE7′s, they got rid of the Google Toolbar.

    Don’t get me wrong… I understand opinions are opinions, and free speech is a wonderful thing. It just seems, at this point, people are complaining louder and louder and more harshly about infinitesimal things. I swear, if George Bush happens to choke on a pretzel again, I would imagine this time around everyone would somehow compare the incident to the fact that he is sending more troops into Iraq.

    We all get it, Google isn’t perfect. We all get it, Google sometimes makes changes that aren’t favorable to the user and then promptly reverses these changes when it becomes apparent. We all get it, even Google can succumb to bugs and security issues. Report about it, that’s super. But turning every little new link or link removal into a call for the Google Terrorists to unite and cause another virtual online riot is just getting a bit tiring. It’s what is giving blogs a bad name. Over-exaggerated bias gave newspapers and magazines a bad name, and now this very same tactic is spilling into the online media such as blogs. You can’t find a decent article among the Google and Sony bashing. Maybe if the media (as a whole) started focusing on more positive things in the world, the world would be a more positive place. Let’s not become ignorant and avoid the negative realities, but let’s not be information terrorists and exaggerate every reality into a negative one.

    Well, that was my two dollars. ;)

    Oh, and what’s with FORCING people to sign up for TypeKey? Why not link to other competing products as well? :D Just kidding. Or, aaaaam I?

  • http://www.redcardinal.ie RedCardinal

    Holy cow!
    That first comment is longer than the post.

    Being slightly contrarian, it might be a good thing if Google does lose some trust. Looking down the road I can’t help but be somewhat fearful of a world dominated by Google. Anything that breaks that domination has to be a good thing IMO.

    I see Read/Write are covering Google promoting Checkout on their homepage http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_promotes_checkout.php

  • http://searchengineland.com Danny Sullivan

    > It’s trendy to wear Nike shoes. It’s trendy to have an iPod. And now, these days, it’s trendy to complain about Google.

    You might want to check out the Google: Critics category here, use the drop down in the right hand side. I don’t find it trendy just to complain about them. I actually do a huge amount of defending them. So when I complain, you’d better believe I’m pretty concerned.

    > Maybe you have a different view of what the “main search results” area is, but the OneBox feature isn’t a part of it, neither is the “tips” section.

    Tips aren’t, as the past article I linked to explains. OneBox is. You’d better believe it is. That OneBox is designed to help you find editorial results that come out of Google’s other vertical services, and down the line it will simply get bigger.

    > Then, you talk about how completely useless a feature is that lets one filter product search results to only those who accept Google Checkout.

    I never said that at all. I said that on the main search results of Google, there are probably better search filtering options that could be promoted for Froogle, such as four star merchants. I specifically said I had no problem with Google Checkout being a filtering options and actually questioned why Google wasn’t making this easier to do in appropriate areas, such as on the home page of Froogle.

    > I feel more comfortable paying through Google Checkout than by entering credit card information on the first website that happens to show the cheapest price.

    Perhaps you might feel more comfortable using merchants that offer that trusted Visa guarantee to protect your purchases? Or those using PayPal? Pity you can’t filter to those :)

    > In other words, your mention of the home page or the advanced page was just a senseless argument.

    No — as I explained, if this is a useful feature, you also include it in places where people can make use of it BEFORE they conduct a search, not after.

    > Also, regarding OneBox results, linking to competitors until their own product is up-to-speed and then dropping the links to the competitors has always been Google’s method.

    No, actually it has not been. I struggle to think of examples where Google has dropped competitor links. The best I can think of is years and years ago, they dropped links at the bottom of search pages to other search engines.

    > So, yes, I agree… when Google Finance catches up to the competitors, they will likely drop the link to the competing services and show information exclusively from their own Google Finance.

    It’s like you were so busy getting ready to argue that you didn’t actually read what I wrote. I specifically said I had no problem with them dropping map links if they feel Google Maps was the best product. Makes sense. But that’s on its own. In combination with pushing Checkout, pushing products with Tips, I’m saying Google is clearly undergoing an internal push to be more self-promotional. And they are doing this without any heads-up to those that use them and watch them closely. The tips fiasco shows it can blow up on them. So Google — which I love immensely — really needs to think about better explaining what they are doing and why.

    > Then, you say merchants might be “left out” if they don’t use Google Checkout? Well, absolutely, but this has nothing to do with the addition of a link to the Google OneBox result for product searches.

    There is a difference between a store promoting its own credit card and a consumer guide pushing its own credit card. Google is not a store. It is designed to be a guide to product on the web, Froogle is. An unbiased guide. When it start offering its own credit card — and pushing people to accept that — it begins to raise obvious questions that it will find it in its self-interest to favor the merchants using that card. And this latest promotion is an example of that.

    > Why isn’t anyone complaining loudly about eBay still disallowing Google Checkout, after all of this time.

    People have. And eBay looks bad for it. And now Google makes them look less bad :)

    > let’s not be information terrorists and exaggerate every reality into a negative one.

    I agree. If you’d read that article I said about supporting them on the tips issue, you would have seen me saying the exact same thing.

    > Oh, and what’s with FORCING people to sign up for TypeKey?

    Spam. It’s an issue, so we use it. Sorry. But thanks for signing up and for your comments!

  • http://www.thuk.co.uk/ Neuro

    I had exactly the same thoughts this morning – was checking some of our google base testfeeds (to show a client why we should feed their product’s into base)

    Should I get them to sign up for google checkout?

    and how does google chekout work for large ticket items – I am just stating work on a medium sided audi dealer (no ones going to pay for a car with google check out)

    I had a meeting with one of the Google base product managers ill mail him the link to SEL

  • http://www.centernetworks.com/looks-like-google-has-brought-the-tips-back HTMLCENTER

    Danny, the tips are back on the home page too, I just wrote a post about it:
    http://www.centernetworks.com/looks-like-google-has-brought-the-tips-back

  • http://www.useit.com Jakob Nielsen

    Saying that OneBox is not part of the main search results ignores findings from usability research: average users have no understanding of the different areas of a search result page. Some understand that the “sponsored” links are ads, but that’s as far as it goes.

  • http://www.stareclips.com/?checkout-promo umopapisdn

    >Tips aren’t, as the past article I linked to explains. OneBox is.

    I still disagree on this point. The term “search results”, IMHO, mean the actual “numbered” results that are returned in a specific order based on the sorting and relevance algorithm. The OneBox, although it is designed to aid the searcher, is not one of these results. It is an add-on reference. If you can call the OneBox region as a “search result” then you could call an advertisement a “search result” because advertisements also appear when searches are performed, are designed algorithmically to be relevant to the terms searched, and are meant to aid the searcher with relevant links. I still believe calling the OneBox region part of the “main search results” to be far-reaching.

    >I never said that at all.

    You said, “Why does this promotion need to be in the main Google search results? What benefit is it providing Google searchers?” Does this not imply that you feel it provides little or no benefit to Google searchers? Maybe not to you, but it does provide a benefit to me. I also rarely pay attention to the number of stars a merchant has mainly because most merchants don’t even have a rating, even ones I have had quite a good experience with. A compromise DID cross my mind, however. What if Google only provided this link for users who are logged in and who actually use Google Checkout? That way, this link would appear to be less of an “advertisement” for Google Checkout and would become more of a “tool” for existing Google Checkout users. Just a thought.

    >Or those using PayPal? Pity you can’t filter to those

    I’m a little turned off of PayPal at the moment. I bought a memory card from eBay (I know, I know, bad idea) and it turned out to be a counterfeit card. I was able to compare the card itself and its packaging to images shown on the web by those who compare legitimate products to their counterfeits. When I went through the fraud department of eBay, they sent me to PayPal. When I went through the fraud department of PayPal, they told me I had 10 days (I actually only had 6 days because they sent me this notification 4 days late) to fax them verification from a third party that the card was, in fact, counterfeit. (The card, by the way, which claimed to hold 4 GB only held 1 GB as I tested this thoroughly.) No local computer shop or store had ever heard of such a “verification” process, so they couldn’t help me. When I contacted Sony (which the card claimed to be) they said I could mail the card to them and they could verify if it is counterfeit. However, the process would take a couple of weeks. When I asked PayPal for more time, they sent me a canned message that essentially said “We are sorry that our method is inconvenient for you. It is our method and we’re sticking to it.” Two more days passed and they closed the issue. Since the issue is closed, I can’t make a claim against that transaction again. So, essentially, I’m stuck with a bad memory card. There was absolutely no way PayPal (according to their methods) was ever going to help me in that situation. Maybe Google Checkout might not have been much better, but a bad taste is a bad taste, so I’m not particularly happy with PayPal at the moment.

    >No — as I explained, if this is a useful feature, you also include it in places where people can make use of it BEFORE they conduct a search, not after.

    I don’t know if I agree with that. The advanced search pages, in my opinion, are cumbersome. I would much rather perform a keyword search and click links to further filter my results than to view a bunch of text boxes, check boxes, and/or radio boxes to be able to do this in one step. Sure, it’s only one step, but you’re forced to look at a page worth of options. If Google’s advanced search had this option, or even their home page, I likely wouldn’t bother using it there. In fact, most of my Google searches are done through the Google Toolbar, so I would prefer the links for further filtering to appear on the search results pages. Adding any of these features on the home page would also clutter up the home page unnecessarily.

    >I struggle to think of examples where Google has dropped competitor links. The best I can think of is years and years ago, they dropped links at the bottom of search pages to other search engines.

    Perhaps this was the example I was thinking of, or maybe I have just seen this coming from a mile away. Doing a search for GOOG or MSFT used to generate a OneBox result that only linked to competitors, because Google didn’t have a finance site at the time. Much later, Google created a finance site of their own. Once the kinks were worked out, Google added Google Finance to these sets of links. It just seems to be the natural course of progression to eventually remove the competing links once you feel your own product fills the need. I imagine this will happen with patents. Searching for “patent 5123123″ links to the government’s patent website. In time, I am sure it will link to Google’s patent website. Besides, linking to competitor’s just raises questions like “Which competitor’s get to be in that spot? Can I get my finance website listed there, as well? Why not? Do you have to pay to get linked from there?”, etc…

    >I’m saying Google is clearly undergoing an internal push to be more self-promotional. And they are doing this without any heads-up to those that use them and watch them closely.

    I don’t know why they have to let everyone know in advance that they are going to cross promote their products. I’m not quite sure what made the general public the managers of the company. If anything, this push for self-promotion is likely a direct result OF requests by the general public. For YEARS people have been saying on message boards “I wish Google would promote its other products more.” People would talk about how much they love Google Talk, but wish more of their friends used it. Then went on to complain how Google creates great new services, but buries them in places like Google Labs or the “more/even more” links. So, now that Google is actually making an effort to cross-promote their various services, rather than a collective “hurray, finally!” there’s just more criticism. You state that you defend Google a lot, but this is what makes it more frustrating. You defended the “tips” concept, yet are “worried” about the OneBox concept. Yet, a little research would show that the results given in the OneBox (whether for images or products) DO NOT give the “top product” or “top image” results for these subsequent verticals. The OneBox region is, for the most part, a “tip” area that nudges someone into taking a look at a vertical that may be more appropriate for their search term. It makes more of an impact when a Google-defender is suddenly “worried” about the direction Google is taking than when a Google-basher is worried. I don’t mind, so much, that Google took away the “tips” because I am already full aware of Google’s other services. However, if they were to roll back on this latest feature because the community rose up again, I’d be losing a feature that I find to be useful. That’s where my frustration is.

    >There is a difference between a store promoting its own credit card and a consumer guide pushing its own credit card.

    In my opinion (yeah, I know it’s really humble), Google is not and never has been a “consumer guide”. The INTERNET is a “consumer guide” and Google is a TOOL to be able to more easily navigate the Internet. Google also provides a TOOL to more easily purchase items from the Internet, so it only makes sense they would combine this tool with the tool that makes searching for products to buy easier. And while I enjoy using Froogle, it is not my home page. So, opening a web browser to Google’s home page and then having to perform another click to search Froogle is one step too many. Being able to perform a product search directly on Google and have it give me the OneBox results at the top is useful. Allowing me to view only the results that accept Google Checkout in one more step is even more useful to me.

    >Spam. It’s an issue, so we use it. Sorry.

    No worries. But, maybe you could provide the option to use multiple different services that would prevent spam, so the users could make a choice. And, if you ever have your own in-house built spam-prevention system, it would be quite worrisome if you “forced” people to use that system, rather than the third party systems out there. (I say this sarcastically.) I think I might see more of a problem with Google promoting Google Checkout (and not PayPal) IF Google Checkout also cost more than PayPal to merchants. However, it costs less all the way around. And, as a consumer, I feel it provides a better service. I can’t easily go to PayPal and see all of my previous purchases and what items I bought. With Google Checkout, I can do this. Also, in a few years, when the amount of items I have purchased grows, I will find it useful to be able to search through past purchases in case I was wondering where I got a particular item. I think the Google Checkout service has more to do with that (giving consumers a way to search through their purchases) than just having an alternative to PayPal. So, I even think this product still falls in line with their goal to make information more accessible and useful.

    >But thanks for signing up and for your comments!

    You’re welcome! ;)

  • http://searchengineland.com Danny Sullivan

    > I still disagree on this point. The term “search results”, IMHO, mean the actual “numbered” results that are returned in a specific order based on the sorting and relevance algorithm.

    Respect your opinion. I just disagree. It’s sort of how Blake Ross saw the tips in the search results and I disagreed they were. These are open to interpretation.

    > Does this not imply that you feel it provides little or no benefit to Google searchers?

    Little benefit to other options they could show right in the main search results. They’re taking up a line of the page, on a page where they carefully debate anything that goes on it. They’ve decided a Google Checkout line is THAT important to users that it needs to be there? I don’t think it’s that important, even if I appreciate it as a search within the Froogle results themselves.

    > I would much rather perform a keyword search and click links to further filter my results than to view a bunch of text boxes, check boxes, and/or radio boxes to be able to do this in one step.

    People are different. They should offer both. And maybe make it a preference that you can save, too.

    > Much later, Google created a finance site of their own. Once the kinks were worked out, Google added Google Finance to these sets of links. It just seems to be the natural course of progression to eventually remove the competing links once you feel your own product fills the need.

    I absolutely agree. When Google Finance launched, a ton of people came down on Google as trying to wipe out the competition. I was one of the relatively few commentators to disagree with that. And if they feel finance is super wonderful, I can see the competitor links going. But Google clearly occupies this special trust situation where people worry about such moves, as the tips thing underscores. So making these type of drops, that’s something they really need to consider announcing and inviting some debate. Moreover, it’s a pretty easy thing to say that if people like the “old style,” they can set it as a preference and bring it back. If no one does that or in tiny numbers, then they are more on solid ground to eventually phase it out entirely.

    > I don’t know why they have to let everyone know in advance that they are going to cross promote their products.

    Because they cross-promote in areas some people think should be free of any promotion at all. There’s obvious concern about this. They can do whatever they want. But they can also do things in a smarter way.

    > The OneBox region is, for the most part, a “tip” area that nudges someone into taking a look at a vertical that may be more appropriate for their search term

    For now. The OneBox is the future. Two, three years from now, those product results will dominate the page.

    > So, I even think this product still falls in line with their goal to make information more accessible and useful.

    And to be clear, I’m not saying Google Checkout is bad, not useful, etc. I’m saying that Google is pushing it big time and there’s some spillage going on that makes people wonder if they’re maintaining the neutral approach they themselves want to take with listings.

  • http://blog.outer-court.com Philipp Lenssen

    > If you can call the OneBox region as
    > a “search result” then you could call
    > an advertisement a “search result”
    > because advertisements also appear
    > when searches are performed

    To jump into the conversation: I would indeed call advertisements a search result if they were not disclosed as ads. But they happen to be. (They are called “sponsored links”). The onebox in question is disclosed by Google to be a “product search result”, so it is a type of search result. We both know it’s not what search pros call the “organic result”, but a “onebox” of course.

  • KurtS

    To me, the issue comes down to this: can I trust Google like I (we) used to trust Google, or should I trust them like I trust Microsoft?

    Once upon a time, the confluence of killer technology, perfect timing, a lofty philosophy, and the invitation to hold them to a higher standard (http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/12/30/googles-tipping-point/ ) gave the world a company that a lot of people really thought (hoped, wished) would be different.

    I wonder if this Checkout issue, along with the Tips issue from last month and the resulting concern are syptoms of Google maturing into a (heaven forbid) “regular” company a la MSFT, IBM, [insert your favorite current/former tech giant here], whose overriding interest is, ultimately, their bottom line.

    Note that I don’t have a problem with this transformation/evolution — I just want to know. I happily use Microsoft, IBM, etc., solutions everyday, and I’m clear how much I want to trust them. Things get more complex when I don’t know how much to trust something(i.e. should I trust Google like I used to, or should I trust them like I trust Microsoft?)

  • http://www.tonyadam.com/blog Tony Adam

    I think this move is a poor one on behalf of google…in relation to trust and relevance, google is suppose to provide it’s users with the most comprehensive and relevant result set…not the “most comprehensive and relevant result set with shameless promotion to their products”…I understand that they are attempting to push users to Google Checkout…but at what cost??

    If Google continues down this road it is exactly what I spoke of a month or so prior in regards to Yahoo!’s restructuring…Google seems to be following in Yahoo’s footsteps in a way and this could mean that with the efforts Yahoo! is putting in and these “blunders” that Google is making, I think there is a possibility of a momentum shift in time.

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