A Google spokesperson has informed Search Engine Land that the Google Wonder Wheel feature has been taken offline.
The spokesperson said that the search tool was removed due to the “initial stage” of the Google site redesign announced earlier this week.
The Google Wonder Wheel along with a number of other search refinements were formally introduced at the 2009 Searchology event but actually became available as part of a test a couple of months earlier.
Wonder Wheel was used by SEOs, SEMs, and advertisers as a way to visually identify relationships between a search term(s) and related searches using the Google database. As you moved from one set of terms to another results would change.
It could help this user group discover related keywords and ideas to explore for possible purchase as AdWords or for further exploration.
Another group of users who also used Wonder Wheel for keyword discovery and to spot relationships and new concepts were educators, librarians, and students.
For example, a librarian might use it to help a user find new words to search with not only with but also using other databases. A teacher or student might use Wonder Wheel to identify ideas for a research project.
Will Wonder Wheel be back and available soon? Google didn’t provide a timeline or commit one way or another if it will or will not be available in the future.
A quick review of the Google Help Forums shows that at other times Wonder Wheel was inaccessible to users for various amounts of time.
So, stay tuned for updates.
Finally, a couple of weeks ago we wrote about Google taking several verticals offline. We learned then that Google failed to let users know about the change but then quickly admitted to the error and publicly apologized.
As we said then and will say again now, taking a service offline is up to the company. Users are free to go elsewhere or share their opinions with Google. What we hope for is simply for the company to let users know what’s going on versus waiting around, speculating, and wasting time.
- The Google Wonder Wheel & Other Search Refinement Features Get Live Test
- Google Begins Multi-Month User Experience Update
- Meet The New Google Look & Its Colorful, Useful “Search Options” Column
- Google Searchology 2009: The Big Recap