Google Instant in depthWhat does Google's new "instant" search result page mean for users and for advertisers? We explore the pros, cons, and the unintended consequences of the new system with search experts Tom Krazit from CNET, and Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land.
Hi everyone welcome to reporters roundtable. Primary -- in San Francisco this is the podcast everywhere every week where we talk about it single tech topic today the topic. Is Google in stent. Is it really this big -- deal does -- change the way we search the way we think. Is -- gonna say time for those -- you have met up on the news in a nutshell the lower instant replaces the Google. The the form where you. Type the search queries and press enter with as you type the queries just fill in on the page and as you -- more stuff it changes automatically on the page. We're going to talk about Google instant what that means what it changes what it doesn't and we got two great guests who -- very expert on the topic first in the studio with us. Our Google reporter Tom president thanks come -- and -- but it and via Skype. Search engine watch editor in chief Danny Sullivan another expert on this topic anything for -- a time for a you're welcome and -- area not instant and the -- -- on the line but will make it faster but. So first of all. A for -- -- -- gentlemen convert any what's the big deal with Google -- isn't -- just a minor refresh of the interface isn't really a. Big deal. It's a really big deal. I mean it's it's not a minor refresh of the interface -- -- mean you know in it it's that it. Really changes that we you experience -- wouldn't and the back end stuff. But what was required to make it work on that and this is definitely huge that was a huge undertaking -- and will be yes it grows even. Danny what's the take of stricken north. Search engine land -- Atlanta Eric -- if a little quote that she. Alt -- it for a long time that the market again -- -- -- voter. It's funny I went there I was like oh my god does seem to be over over the top and I -- kind of feel like maybe it was a bit too close to it in the sense that. I'm really familiar with the suggestions that Google has been putting -- -- to begin -- And I didn't think that showing that search results as you start to type with that big deal. You know since then I clearly think it is because I am watching the reaction to that people are going who -- off. People are feeling like the world is collapsing around him in some cases and Eragon he's trying to make sense -- -- so I I think there's no doubt it's had a big impact. As I used to the eighteenth to make a lot of sense and I think that was the other thing I kind of struggled with was. It felt like it was so obvious as you start to use it there almost dismissed the fact that it was an achievement rates from him -- it's kind of like when you started using Google Maps and you didn't have to click powder reloading click reload and the you can almost forget when everything was like before then because it just seemed like that the way things should be. If you're typing quickly you don't necessarily the notices. You know what you need if you know what you wanna search for and you -- -- in -- you type quickly you know you may not necessarily see it's being teen gets much because you get the you know the answer do you get -- -- in the -- -- -- so -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- people. -- outside the industry you know what they thought about it -- you know people who don't work intact in the mean it was kind of mixed in -- -- -- is awesome you know witnesses. So fast it's cool it and see all these different things and some people -- -- predictable. Wow oldest meetings lasting IKEA and you know makes sense habits and so I you know I think it's the -- -- -- world -- -- while. For the elderly Koreans -- do you think this will -- really change the way that end users. Perform their circus will change the way we think about search. How the heard the guy who's behind a lot more about this and I -- -- -- Yeah I don't. I don't know it may cause to think more about the way to refine our searches. People often going in the eighties searches and they don't really know where it began the don't think about the way things should be going we've had these kinds of search suggestion tools for some time I mean you know almost from the very beginning with -- -- should try to say. What did you mean there's who you gonna try this at the related queries. But tying them into the search results may be it's bringing it more to the forefront for people in you becoming even more aware of it so that -- pay more attention to the things that are in that box. I mean it -- the suggestions in the box themselves that's that was -- suggested that on the Google website since 2008 and didn't Google and other ways. Since before -- -- So but I -- -- -- is -- -- people to pay more attention to it. I also think it's gonna cause people to think -- more closely about. The suggestions that are coming up and then some -- perhaps getting angry Google for some of those suggestions like why are you saying this. And not realizing that Google sort of like leveraging in two way. Everybody like typing -- rather then you know actually saying don't you know this is what we actually we think I'm a good example was. They had this thing that came up where you would -- in things like Islam is or christianity is and you can get things that are -- -- be offensive depending on your viewpoint of the religion. And they've they've come under fire about these things before -- -- that out that's not us that's just what people -- tax benefits you do not -- it's your fault. Yet it isn't really a time saver there there's been some debate about that whether this is just -- -- -- actually. A bonafide time -- and Google in their presentation. Said look we made search as fast as we can't 300 milliseconds that's aren't you it's your typing which takes seconds and then your reading which take seconds. That we really are trying to beat -- -- slow -- right yeah. I. You know I think you'll want to do and more searches. -- them so you don't -- is it really neat that we can make. The question of might and finally I'm looking for faster and the -- pop up and and pick the when he -- Is that gonna be any faster made little I don't know I mean we notice it. But they think what -- might be faster is when you don't know exactly what you want you know trying to find that you know so if you're trying. The find you know hotels in San Francisco. You may find it bastard to plow through a bunch of results that outweighs that happened to scroll down the into your theory -- -- that. But if you just looking for -- specific like the Fairmont. Whatever you know then I mean it will milliseconds -- -- -- and it was -- a -- there was a report came out. Just today or yesterday or something that said that FaceBook has finally surpassed Google in amount of time users spend on the FaceBook site. Vs all the Google sites it will this put help with Google back in to the ranks of people spending more time on Google. And -- that's an intellectually cares about. -- it doesn't I I don't. I think the interesting thing was this whole presentation that they did started out with -- talking about for the first time went back about the does the birth at -- given this figure the number of Google users that they have which they -- was one billion but I thought that was significant because. You know we constantly get an update on how many Google -- how many FaceBook users are out there you there at the 500 million now. -- 600 million another two months or so and -- it keeps going. And people pointed that that people talk about we've got all these -- we've got more people at FaceBook and you have an entire nation. This is Google saying hey we get double the number of people that FaceBook cats okay. And I think what they're gonna start to do try to shift the emphasis away from the idea that. You spoke to spend time on Google to would Google's. Most of what Google is about which is getting you to hell off the site and the fact. Instant is all about that raised it's like the anti based book we don't actually want you to be routed back we could get you out the door after -- be happier about it. And they are the two different creatures in -- FaceBook is you know comic your neighbor you wanna hang out you wanted to do you step and and Google's you're yellow pages I don't wanna. Hang out with my yellow pages -- -- popularity. I think it'll two kinds of things going on there -- -- -- it asserts that any steps to correct that -- that Google doesn't want to get -- where you're -- -- -- -- But there's no doubt that Google is trying to -- the amount -- time people spend on google.com. Properties in general maps. -- Google product search. Reviews email you know yeah any and all of these things they want you -- in you know spend more time there's a but I think those two things get completed you know in that. Search is still. Do -- -- out whereas all these other things art you know -- hospital -- -- now. Are there some negatives are unintended consequences of who rulings than how it it -- things for users or -- -- customers and advertisers. Oh yeah I mean. One thing I was looking and and this is coming off. So competitive picture from -- Earthlink had written about. If you try search for travel you start typing in the -- cool. As you can after the travel what you get -- -- the answer travelocity. Because this guessing that you wanna -- -- -- -- not just travel. So suddenly all these people who were not buying travelocity name are not showing up in the results when -- stopped over at the level travel that's gonna be a whole behavior -- He could have people who may have look at some of these things to think gosh. I actually have to start buying some of my competitors means greater -- that before and it might then doing it. Simply because of the way it's auto filling in some of these -- They've they've had other things happened they fixed it very quickly but. They used to be that when you type in suicide. You -- suicide. A hotline hotlines and prevention tips right you don't come up now you start typing in suicide -- stop right Eric were suicide. I'm a look at I don't get -- suggestion a whole suggestion is for suicide dollars. -- so here I haven't been -- that's not helping me after -- to get to actual suicide actually exports included as space. And only after I put in the space -- the worst suicide. Do I didn't get to -- all the -- down to the actual work suicide. Which in turn it then gives me the results that didn't speed up my search that actually slowed me down and -- it may be though that. If you're actually just typing you don't even think -- -- -- you might just -- suicide hit return anyway which is the opposite of what Google and that was what to do but. People may still be that anyway and but that's an example where it's changing our behavior change -- Google reacted and I don't think it quite figured out all the sort of -- out now. -- -- -- About -- whole announcement we talk about this a lot and we've called on the radio -- for what does this mean for you the user. But Google's customer Google makes its money from advertising click through what does this do for -- relationship with those customers with its advertisers. Well I'm anything dangerous product a couple of good examples with the travelocity staying in and you know that you're gonna have to think a little bit differently about the keywords that you wanna use when you -- them. I mean I'm sure -- do would probably argue that in if this make search faster. You people will do more searches therefore they'll see your add more and their for the click -- more in there for everybody makes more money were all happy I mean -- whether that is actually born out -- -- -- Getting. IE ink is say sort of thing it what are they that the gets lost in this is the idea that. Somehow people are alternately gonna end up on a search results page and then do the same things that they normally done you still ultimately gonna do that you can they can results you're gonna look at the results. You can decide I wanna click on this at over here are now -- -- click on this unpaid listing you'll be there so I think the fundamentals remained very much the same it just that. You know EE EC what you want in the suggestions. That the results are already there -- that not having to type in the enter key because the results of already been pulled out for you just it's just -- at the process. But there are these these -- Other things that. That I think you know we're gonna have to watch more carefully about how it shifts. You know what are you being presented for automatically when somebody would normally do a search and another way -- -- You actually have to start targeting different words to you have to care -- -- -- bit -- but it's still very -- Now one of the other things that almost half the happened almost immediately after a -- literacy instantly after Google -- was announced. Is that there was a lot of argument bubbled up about sclc search engine optimization including arguments saying that yes. Google instant kills as CO. Before we it. -- -- what is the argument that Google instant. Has a negative impact on the wit what people do to expect when it comes that's via. I'm not convinced there's a real argument -- than you know way to get it -- mean headlines you know I mean I I in any actually wrote a very good piece on on you know why -- doesn't kill CO now. Yes he -- -- and you can killed as long -- there's a search engine people are gonna optimize. I mean you know that those things aren't gonna go away just because Google's changed the way that it that it presents the results and I mean he's by better with that. You -- techno that technically I thought that before you can't shut down the argument we were actually given the -- -- I don't -- I think DVR and if they're not as an enemy and I don't well I. I think so that I mean. For me it would people who are misinterpreting -- -- -- -- -- -- looked at this and they thought you know one Steve -- I think was like first out the gate with that in the the press conference had -- ended he already had opposed that about this the definitely out. We -- highly in a CO results are yeah yeah it's a and I think his argument was very call it. Well everybody's gonna get different results and because -- he's gonna get different result there's no way to optimize for the single person -- -- it's true. It offered Google -- that you know everybody not getting different results you know -- year and largely to get still similar goals that you're typing things. What they think Google's -- is actually have for well over a year now. Is personalized results -- -- yes in some cases you doing searches and they are customizing the results back to who you are. To -- your geography and everything else. That's still start a war base of search results and they're still sort of like this general stuff that's out there and so. And in fact for you to show up anyway there's still a lot of times basic -- he has to -- how appropriate it did so. I just felt like he jumped the gun in in in -- interpreted what Google -- was supposed to be. -- the people jumped onto the well. Manipulative. Like the partial words but not really -- Yeah I -- what they mean but I don't think it exported it -- yet. Idea and it does the way the -- -- -- gonna -- -- side and you and I mean the -- so much money spent on this now that because the change of course change. I mean everything it's just the -- changes you know and as mean as CO changes every time Google makes a -- to Google. You know and so they gonna happen is a big week now it's it's gonna affect a lot of and. It is fact yes -- changes every time search changes and so that's okay. -- it -- think that was like in I have my it was a mile accuracy is here to stay it'll never got to be good at the -- my head but. -- -- In 1996. We didn't have SPO for Google could you that Google. And it 1987 I remember hearing people say well -- -- dead now because keywords artists important links are and we still didn't have that much Google. I get you know here we are 2010. And we still. Have people thing as he is gonna -- like now. As long as people search you figure out how they search you eagerly the data comes from and your job in terms rescuers search marketer just to make sure that -- getting information. Of them without packaging on site I think the argument to make it or to paraphrase is that this is actually get to the F you know industry because as search changes the F you know -- -- come -- -- -- -- money. And do it all over except. -- what you want to know how. Thank -- influenced and now I don't answer exactly get ready -- point 80 -- but speaking of changing one of the questions I had in here which. It almost has become irrelevant in the last I think -- for hours -- Initially when I was trying out Google instant I had I had questions like. Are we now going to have to optimize for fragments of the first couple letters of -- search terms for example -- CNET. Going to have to worry about see any Cassini is company I don't know what that it. So and when I tried this yesterday indicted Google -- -- -- any the first result was. See any not CNET. I did it just a minute ago and came up CNET it's like the algorithm is learning it's like -- knowing that most people type in CNET -- and he actually wants CNET not -- other company which is. I'm sure -- copy but little bit smaller when it comes Google searches so they're they're still tweaking -- aren't they something it's an active. Tweak down mode where you've got a bunch of things that go once -- -- the suggestions will constantly be tweaked and and in -- -- one is more popular than the other reminder about. But thing year old personal search history will come into play right okay so it is CNET might be coming up because it's coming -- your personal history. And being placed over something like see any -- It so that can come into it as well in this case no I think it is -- actually at the top and any gets very difficult to tell. When your personal histories coming in an overriding. Some of the to do goal. Suggest normal ones that are out there -- will. Google also something about this today in a blog post that I can't find right now because I'm looking for but dumped there they would -- -- -- -- -- that you shouldn't. Have to think about optimizing for. Fragments -- freezes or or you did I mean now -- easy sample travel I think he's interest month that's -- you know it the word as opposed fragment but. You know I think in general that didn't see any versus the CNET thing that that you know we're not and afterward about that if people are searching for CNET. I mean I don't think it's -- -- -- confused and they know that they're looking for that. -- -- I think that by -- by hamster can proceed any now I'm getting CNET. Now well he should be because in -- creative edge is so good and although like when I do that ICC any at the bottom of the that is part of the challenges like typing -- see any it's guessing -- people want cnet's so it's giving you the results already for CNET. And I think the heart thing is if you really want -- see any to mean it is I gotta hit the space that he that's. Weird yeah not used to doing that right what you are used to doing it typing in what you want -- hitting return -- might do that I think I am getting back and -- -- might see it teeny cell. Part of me feels like we may be analyzing more into it that's actually happened the people might actually not change -- -- some ways we're thinking. Arm but then there are other cases where I do look at -- I think I'm I'm not sure that's she's still not certain. You know 88 the travelocity to me was -- you know probably the best example I've come across like try to come up with some others as well. Where if you're trying to be proper travel. -- Certainly the ads themselves is a hold of the ball game if you're trying to be count for travel. And you'll people see you were at right there -- -- -- -- off that box the first listing. Yes -- bidding -- travelocity that's a fundamental shift -- from what we had before. Before -- organic results. You know all I guess if you're hoping people will see you at the typing probable -- they -- down for whatever percentage it is. That's gonna be hard to think if they get trying to optimize -- loss of the witches which is tough. Let announcer -- a -- but a mustered little release this data but I would like to know if they you know at some point we'll tell us how many people actually don't hit return. Hmm you know -- in terms of searches in Google instant the analytic Cisco lot more interest -- -- honey you'll just actually don't really think about and hit return -- they've been doing that for decades. Let's let's -- -- -- talk about from the competition here Google's not the only player in search there's. There are others that once in the in the news a lot right now is Microsoft being of course. Being what I believe they. In kind of the same. You don't have to press enter concept for you don't have to refresh and they launch continuous search continuous scrolling images first right -- Kirk -- I believe so yes yeah -- so -- ask might have to that before them. Can't -- in Canada. Take exactly so what is -- so Google. Microsoft has their innovation Google has its innovation what's next in. For being in are they going to do that -- should. I suspect they probably will but don't give it decent period of time before they roll and yet. Uh huh it would look a little weird -- just -- out right now anyway an end in India they're doing so much back in work right now we've got whoo wouldn't that. You know if it required some sort of re architect into neat it's happened which is finally -- -- it Google's level. On the immediate -- in their project the guys -- dispute busy let's talk about little bit because one of the things is a couple years ago a fan of Microsoft. You -- did did -- the I started something dot com. Its -- flight search you can see. Basically instant search for being. Before with our you can -- being -- that. Now this was an experiment done by fan this wasn't the back end which had to be we Arctic -- handle the load. What is involved. To make a search engine capable of handling this much real time interaction that's posted a page based -- action. Come alive and what is Google doing it -- it. I mean Google city to work on this for years and that they need became up this idea you know in the early part of this decade he tried it a couple of times but estimated that the -- is gonna be. Was it the -- like when he times what the current. Right with a with a loaded -- at the time acidic we can't do that will blow the building we -- authors write that into into place so over the years they worked on it and it worked on it -- -- got Panasonic two X or three X -- something like that but that took seven years. Or so you know and so -- -- sets out the big big problem. -- is not just different and problem is is an infrastructure issues well well but I you know I also think that yet except this one person using beings API manages to do the same thing that Google's doing them and very pass it it it -- -- very I think Yahoo! does something similar with Yahoo! instant search in 2005. So you know. Conceptually it does seem that difficult for them to do I think Google's and a very unique case because they have so much scale they have so many people -- request and everything like that coming into them. -- So you know that some. That's likely to change that sorry but with being you know that being put the -- they wouldn't have to be dealing with this. As much -- as -- there might be able to do it -- be easier for us to deploy to do because they only 11% market -- -- of the queried traffic that that lie at the plan for. But so you know I I think that you know I like is I think it will be able to do something like this I don't think it'll be that Hartford and to do. Farm you now. You know if they do is start getting more traffic and they can't handle the skeletal -- people of the big deal because I can't support it. Now -- gonna -- just this. I think it's kind of -- you know. Bit about the art it for being -- if anything else in that Google has come out this thing people think is wonderful -- -- area awesome and all that stuff than sort of Oracle or Microsoft it's a well why don't you. And you know I think that the you know it just sort of shows how. Partied used to change the gain in search you know in order for being -- really needed and in Google -- can have to come up with. It big advances like this -- of things that really get people okay now have to be over and -- or who looks screw up an. Now interestingly this launched on google.com only so the only way to get Google instant right now is to go to the Google search page and many many people never go to Google search page based -- go from -- search -- -- using Chrome from at this part self. And of course this doesn't work on mobile so what's just a little refresher here and how important and how quickly is. Is Google going to -- -- into other places other ways that people access Google search. It's very important and -- been working on it soon and unite mobile I think they had said within a couple of months and I think. They do and it'll be any correct me if I'm wrong but it did not think they can needed to -- delivery date on browsers. No they didn't I mean it's got -- the bra you're -- nature of the toolbar yeah yeah recent with the yeah search bars like that. And I didn't think yeah I don't care they set that in just the Antarctica button mobile is mobile is that is that. Best use case -- this I think actually you know they can just I don't want -- tight. I probably know what I want -- also the most and with constrained. Madden -- there is -- -- so so would it change the way that the appears to be sent a report. -- Some interest thing and it -- look for that yeah to develop. Any other new innovations we can look -- we saw something as well recently on Yahoo! they have the Chinese eighty grams or treat you right in tea. A character and it doesn't the search based on that. Any other cool new front and stuff we are looking forward to on on this or other things like maps or. Image search. Video search. It. I think the interesting thing is that with. The page itself becoming much more dynamic and alive if you will it may be that we get able to do more with our our search results like Google might now. Make it possible for you to hover over the results and actually. Export a bit more without actually haven't caught it click over and take a look at it. Certainly the listings have become a lot more riches they call it over time where it's a chilly morning information I would expect to see that kind of -- accelerate. Com you know and they'll -- other -- century -- that's just hard to know. Okay I thought -- I think he's industry -- -- notion of infinite scroll on the search page as opposed the image -- that. The argument that the idea I'm I'm I'm surprised they're -- huge thing I I don't know what's involved with -- that the top -- technologically years or what but but that's kind of an interesting you know Regis -- you add your search results need to scroll PCs -- open the content of the enter -- goes way the content of the page goes away and does -- this. Infidelity and touched he's talented -- its ditched it because it sounds get that sounds appealing -- -- secure right I should have to scroll scroll scroll book. What is to search seem to be solidifying even more more it's. We don't even bother going. Past the first page which I don't it right now in Seoul there which is different an image is right because very very difficult to guess -- what could be the top in the -- eating your -- really kind. And you can tell by scrolling through exactly which images the one that you want. And not have deal that page down so it. It may be that they will go to infinite scroll or the web search result because this is you know their their version doing that kind of thing pastor. We're gonna run -- time soon -- before we do. -- do that or our -- even any advice and how personal and that's where users and advertisers how can users best take advantage. Of this new feature of any tips to become a more effective. Search -- -- management Google instant. Com I. You know and I don't think people should really do anything different from you know -- I mean I think he should just search the way they've always been searching and and you know what this neat view. Is give you additional things and thought -- You know -- don't in the end you know there's some cute little things into -- like playing around that with the W -- in the weather results and stuff like that but and he I don't really think that. You know you'll change. You're queried behavior all that much if you will -- experience like how you and filter results how you refine results you know -- high skis -- find your queries to type in theory you get. Things you won't necessarily know where you wanna sit like them -- -- keep typing another word and then you know you'll get. What you want eventually until it united I don't think you put you know in the past he would have just typed in your -- knock on what he wanted. Type in your clear again returned knock -- unions can do now I'm not inspectors -- do this on why. Yeah any any advice you give people for other uses or. Advertisers -- site owners on -- -- inventions and future. I think with the uses -- play with it and I just think I yet might say navy actually slow down a little -- yeah and and take a look at some of the suggestions that are coming -- It seems like you might bypass something accidentally hit but it is base or. Or something else. I'm certainly you don't like to turn off that's easy and -- there's an option right there that it kudos to them until it making it easy. Yeah that was -- that immediately. This aren't any particularly want to -- like real like it turn off. And that and they haven't done that with -- other things like -- 3COM. Search result pages right. Some people didn't like that night well that's just -- it right there and he could not -- the toggle switch turns out that there. So but I. Anyway -- you know just keep on searching. As it makes sense to you and you know that Google will try to catch up and -- -- thanks for you as that they can't you -- that's. -- have to worry about doing stuff for Google and expect Oracle to take best advantage of Google instant slowdown. I have I actually. Perhaps not but -- now anyway that's all the time we have for this episode of reporters roundtable Tom thanks to come in and -- drinks were dialing and really appreciate it. You're welcome Jason thanks for producing Danny working people find out more -- get more of your with them in your your teams with them. Of the site it says search engine land searching land dot com as we go to we have all sorts of information -- -- -- top stories -- -- -- have -- newsletters and ducks coffers is that we do as well. Of course you can find Tom stuff here at CNET news. Relevant results announcement or just -- -- -- is the commerce though often is. You can email us about this and other episodes that roundtable at cnet.com if -- topic suggestions that looked hear them. The site is reporters roundtable dot cnet.com -- you -- you replay of the show with show notes and other shows as well. You can follow -- Twitter that's -- RAF the Tom crap that is our present and -- -- and Sullivan. And and that's it and we'll see and actually thanks everyone for.