16 June

Google’s Evolving Search Results Pages: PGA, Tiger Woods & US Open as Example

In honor of this week’s US Open – and in connection with last week’s post on Google’s evolving search pages – here are some interesting screen shots related to both.

The first is a results page for the query “PGA”. As yo will see, there are only two search results on my visible screen: PGA.com and PGAtour.com (brand URLs). The bulk are algorithmic results (which are very useful): 2012 FedExCup standings and the three most relevant (ie popular) stars (Tiger Woods, Rory McIllroy, Phil Mickelson).

Two things worth noting:
1. there are no ad units
2. there is no Google+ integration here. And this is one area that Google+ makes a lot of sense. I should be able to follow each player, learn more, etc. Today, it is entirely informational.

Change the query to one of the player names (in this case “Tiger Woods”) and it looks similar: standings, information, news, and the brand link. In fact, only one natural result is above the fold: TigerWoods.com.

Again, two notes:
1. still no Google+ integration.
2. still no ads (high volume query too!)
3. related people include non-golfers: Elin Nordegren and Rachel Uchitel (both interesting and ironic)

Dig in on the right column’s bio page and there is a “please report a problem” unit. This is Google’s Wikipedia-like effort to control content. For several reasons, it is a very interesting approach:
1. this is such a dramatic change to search results and this unit comes at the expense of ad real estate
2. to fill it with content Google does not entirely trust is bold / scary
3. this information is far more compelling if tied to Google+ – in this setting it looks like no different than a mini-Wikipedia (or Knoll!)

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