Subtle but Big Changes to Google – The Homepage of the Future?

August 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

August 15, 2011  I just noticed some pretty subtle, but I think significant changes to Google today. I was searching for Kodak Gallery and got the following:

At first I wondered if Kodak had done something unique or was trying a new tactic around search, but after hitting a couple of other sites, I realized this was more or less a new Google feature. After some more checking, I was getting the impression that as long as site owner had a search optimized site, it will show up like this now. As a side note, examples of companies that don’t show up looking like this include SAP, EMC, and Salesforce.

To break it down, instead of Google just providing a quick description of the site and some nominal information with high level links, Google is now provided what looks like a mini homepage with full navigation, search, and social links (i.e. if someone I was following on Twitter said something that was associated with Kodak that might appear there as well).

As of today (August 15, 2011), Bing is not doing this. They are incorporating some of the social search features, but the listing is still fairly familiar looking.

So what are the two biggest takeaways:

1) Site owners indexed by Google really need to know what is showing up in the search results when someone is searching on their brand name. Google results now set an broader expectation for the site (than they have in the past) and the entry point into a site might now be more influenced by the options within the search results.

2) This could have a significant impact on site owners. Google now owns a lot more of a brand’s “first digital impression.” Is this good or bad? Do we want Google to have that much power over a site’s publishers experience before a visitor even get’s there? Will those responsible for Web analytics need to rethink some of their reporting as this will influence how visitors traffic the site?

All of these questions need to be addressed. At the end of the day, I am just noticing this and as a digital marketer/consultant this really stuck out to me.

Any thoughts?


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