Musings on Goog’s “Universal Search”

Google search results for Mission of Burma
So Google will now start including non-web (or vertical search) results. Type “sun” and in addition to web links, a stock chart appears. Type “twinkies” and get photos with web results. “Paris hilton” adds news to the web links. “seattle” has a map and news results. Over time they’ll add more stuff. I’m not sure how they are deciding what to add for what search term.

A couple thoughts here:

Yahoo! has been doing this for a while (e.g. including Yahoo Answers, Flickr photos, etc). While the more comprehensive and contextual results are probably better for most searchers, it comes at a cost: both page construction time (due to multiple fetches the search front-end needs to do for each kind of content) and page weight (the amount of stuff the browser has to download and render). When you’re known for your near-instant results, slowing down those results to add more stuff may result in less satisfaction, not more. I know Y! Search is spending a lot of time trying to get the balance right, and I’m sure G is worrying about the same thing.

Why did they pick “Darth Vader” as the example search query in the press release? I don’t really follow Google but does it have something to do with doing no evil?

Musings on Goog’s “Universal Search”

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