Search Engines

Google Instant Previews Makes SERPs Look Like a 2007 Blog Directory

By DOM Team| 3 Min Read | November 9, 2010

I’m probably the last person you should talk to about anything instantaneous on Google as I’ve yet to watch the screen for longer than a nanosecond as I type.

Yes, I’m a bit of a pecker when it comes to typing. Head down and plough on regardless is my motto.

Google probably threw its new instant previews in there today just for people like me so we get all manner of jumpy, pop-uppy loveliness sprouting forth from our search results.

Seriously, Google, stop it. On the one hand you’re demanding everybody speeds up their site by making them mean lean browsable machines, and the next you’ve thrown moving maps in Google Places, exploding search results in the form of Google Instant and pop-out site screen shots with every result.

I appreciate you’re losing most of your engineers to Facebook, but that doesn’t mean you have to replace them with redundant MySpace developers and my Mum’s cousin from England who has a host of animated gifs in his signature.

Still, just because I’m not instantly keen on it doesn’t mean everybody else won’t. Here’s some of Google’s reasoning:

In our testing, we’ve found that people who use Instant Previews are about 5% more likely to be satisfied with the results they click. The previews provide new ways to evaluate search results, making you more likely to find what you’re looking for on the pages you visit. Here are some of the things you can do to get the most out of Instant Previews:

Quickly compare results – A visual comparison of search results helps you pick the one that’s right for you. Quickly flip through previews to see which page looks best.
Pinpoint relevant content – Text call outs, in orange, will sometimes highlight where your search terms appear on the webpage so you can evaluate if it’s what you’re looking for.
Interact with the results page – Page previews let you see the layout of a webpage before clicking the search result. Looking for a chart, picture, map or list? See if you can spot one in the preview.

Instant Previews can be helpful for many kinds of tasks. For example, say you looked at a page before and need to find it again—with a preview, you can tell if any of the results look familiar. Or perhaps you’re looking for an official website—look for a logo and formal style and you’ll probably be able to identify it. Or maybe you’re looking for a how-to guide—it’s easy to spot a page with clear illustrations and step-by-step instructions.

Obviously, my instant reaction is less than favorable. What says you?

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