Google Strikes Fear Into the Hearts of Retailers and Publishers
Google recently released a new feature into their search empire, known by some as Search-within-Search. This new technology allows a user to search for a keyword pertaining to one of the popular online retailers or publishers that Google has identified, like Best Buy or The Washington Post, for example. When the search results are returned, a new search box appears right on this page allowing the seeker to search that site directly.
This seems innocent enough from a consumer's perspective. However, retailers and publishing houses alike are crying foul. Why? Because the new search technology keeps users on Google's pages while searching for items in the retailer's site, effectively ensuring that the user is seeing Google's placed advertisements. To make matters worse, these advertisements are often times for competing companies or publishers.
For example, when I searched Google for the phrase "Best Buy," I got the following as my top search result:
Then when I searched for "Samsung Plasma Screen," the search results page displayed advertisements for Samsung Products from companies like Newegg, Amazon, and PriceGrabber.
Industry experts are claiming this an "uncharacteristically aggressive move" for the search giant. While the technology will certainly be useful to consumers, saving them clicks and perhaps even headaches derived from trying to navigate some companies' websites, it's also easy to understand how companies are upset by this. Furthering their potential troubles is the possibility of loosing advertising to Google. Why would a company want to advertise directly with an online retailer, for example, when they could buy ads from Google instead and simply piggy-back on their competitor's brand name?
Time will tell what the exact fallout will be, but one thing is for certain: as consumers get accustomed to a service like this, they will be at odds with the very companies who are working to have this new Search-within-Search removed from their site.