Google recently launched an experimental service which delivers live streaming search engine results to users, suggesting that it may be the next big update to its highly-successful search engine. TechEye spoke to Adam Bunn, Head of SEO at UK-based search and social marketing company Greenlight, about the new technology and whether it has any real value for users.
Bunn told us that he was personally not very impressed by the technology, saying that he believes it will be short-lived and from a user perspective it doesn't add any real value and is simply distracting. He said that current predictive search is good, so streaming results really doesn't add anything new or useful.
He said that that it is very unlikely that Google will roll this technology out, that it is most likely just one of its numerous experiments, and that even if it did it would appeal to a very small sub-set of users.
In regards to search engine optimisation, he revealed that the streaming service would probably not have any impact, since it is mostly an interface change, rather than an algorithmic one. However, he said that it would have a significant effect on system resources and bandwidth, which, while perhaps not a problem for the majority of users with broadband, will slow Google's website down.
In regards to the search engines of the future, Bunn said they can always improve and that he expects changes to the interface as well as algorithmic ones for improving the relevancy of search results, which always requires fine-tuning.
He said that Google will remain the dominant player in the search engine market for the foreseeable future, with the only real competition coming from Microsoft. However, he said that Microsoft made some big errors with Bing's launch, including launching in the US only to begin with, alienating many people who wanted to check out what the hype was all about. He said Bing ultimately had a minor impact in both the UK and the US when everyone realised it was just the “same old MSN”.
However, Bunn said that Google still needs to watch out for Microsoft, as it has the money to launch rival search engine products that will steal some of Google's market share. He cited the recent deal with Yahoo to show that Microsoft means business.
He said that Google needs to constantly upgrade and adapt its search engine, as it has a vested interest in remaining the dominant force in the market. He cited a case of one-upmanship with Microsoft since the end of last year, where one company would launch a feature, such as the left-hand sidebar on Bing, and the other would follow suit. He said that Google is constantly experimenting to try to evolve its products and that it needs to evolve, but somethings it does so in the wrong way – the streaming search results being one of them.
Bunn also highlighted another of Google's recent experiments, which involve dominating the first page of search results with websites from a single brand. An example given involves searching for an iPod and finding the first six results are actually links to the main Apple website.
Bunn said it appears like Apple made a deal with Google, buying up page one rankings and that, while it needs clarification, it is potentially anti-competitive, as it gives an artificial boost to page results. He said that, depending on how it is implemented, if at all, it would have a huge impact on search engine optimisation, making it impossible to get page one rankings without paying, which may actually be Google's strategy.
Neither of these experiments deliver anything truly new or worthwhile, he revealed, which means that Google will have to approach changes to its search engine in a different matter entirely if it wants to continue its dominance for time to come.