Google Instant: an example of when servicing the customer could hurt the company

Analysis: Google Sets Major Relaunch Of Search Yet Doesn’t Measure Effect On Advertising
[Via Xeni @]

The launch of “Google Instant” represents the single largest change to Google’s search services in its history. “For the first time search is interactive,” said Othar Hansson, a senior Google engineer.

The company said it performed extensive studies of users and how they interact with Google Instant plus extensive eye-tracking studies. They all showed a much improved user experience and a lot less time spent searching for the right page.

Google says it now has 1 billion users per week and that the time saved by users worldwide from using Google Instant is 11 hours per second. That’s the equivalent of 350 million hours of user time per year, said Marissa Mayer, VP of Search Products and User Experience.

During the question and answer part of the launch, the Google team could offer no data on how the change would impact its advertising business beyond saying that what’s best for the user is usually best for the advertiser.

This is shocking. Google makes a major change to the search service and the user experience — yet has no measurement on how that impacts click rates on its adverts!

Let me say this again: Google makes a major change to the search service and the user experience — yet has no measurement on how that impacts click rates on its adverts!


It may save customers time for searching but that is less time that people see Google’s ads and click on them. Google’s whole business model is based on ad clicks yet it has no way of knowing what this really basic change in its service will do to its revenues?

That is a big Wow but also shows that Google’s revenue model is really at cross purposes to what its users want. They want to find the right page as quickly as possible. But Google wants them to click on ads, which means the users must be slowed down somewhat.

As Xeni states:

It seems that the company is divided between those working on improving the search experience and the rest of the company that is trying to sell advertising. And there appears to be no communication between the two sides.

If I were a GOOG shareholder I’d be very concerned that the effectiveness of Google’s advertising has been compromised. At the very least, as a shareholder, I would want to know that Google’s advertising business has not been compromised by this major change in serving search results.

When it comes down to the shareholders or the customers, the shareholders have to win, it is the law. Any public company has a fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders not to the customers.

It’ll be interesting to see this played out. But how can they have no idea how this would effect ad revenues. Perhaps they will just dump it if there is any effect, claiming some other reason for dumping it of course.

Frankly, I hate it because, as far as I can tell, it only shows 10 results at a time. I like to see many more results than that. I hate clicking through more and more pages. Perhaps that is their goal. If I have to click through 5 more pages I see 4 more ads than if I simply have 50 results posted per page.