It seems that Google is trying to make their better best. Launch promotions for the new Google Instant search engine feature presented a Bob Dylan song, “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” The promotional video was vaguely reminiscent of another tech giant using catchy tunes from memorable artists in advertisements. Although pre-launch hype framed the new search features as game-changing, will Instant accurately predict search terms, or will it just distract or confuse users?
Focusing on speed of delivery of their search services to consumers is further defining Google’s value proposition. The search engine giant is touting the new Google Instant as faster than its predecessor, and it was already pretty fast.
The difference may increase Google’s revenue by giving users hints on possible relevant search query terms, reducing “tail term” searches. If the user is not sure what exact terms to search for, Instant will provide term suggestions, updating results as terms are added, thus saving an average search time around 20 seconds. The claim sounds good at first, but will search term assistance really improve service?
After taking Instant for a test drive, search results seemed to be fairly similar to standard Google search results. The search term assistance did give ideas on what would speed up locating the information needed and the search results as you type was helpful. Testing a current event posed small problems.
Entering “Cuban Model” from a news story did not perform as well as hoped. Cuban officials recently admitted failure of the Cuban Model for economics, but Instant resulted in suggestions and updates for Cuban model Yvette Prieto and other models. Adding the term “economic” to the search found the story, but the term economic was not suggested. Subsequent searches for “Cuban Model” found the intended information.
After trying a few more searches, Instant performed very well and seemed to help speed the delivery of relevant results. The improvements are helpful and should influence other players in the industry. Offering many search term suggestions, though, may lead users to wander off track. Showing multiple unrelated search terms may actually increase overall time spent searching due to the distraction.
Google Instant launch promotions were hyped similarly to the launch for Google TV. Instant and TV are touted as different from service offerings of competitors. The hype and, more importantly, the services will affect the tech world by causing each direct competitor to determine if a similar service should be launched copying Google.
Other search engines such as Microsoft’s Bing have invested heavily in direct competition with Google and their launch promotions were sizable. Bing is considered and advertised as a decision engine, as opposed to a search engine, and undoubtedly had an effect on Google to improve their search abilities. Bing suggests search terms but does not have the real time search results as the query is typed. Bing is a great search — or decision — engine as well, and influences the technology world to perform better.
Apple launched the iPad, shocking the industry and sending many companies to the drawing board. This new product led to other new products, such as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. The hype of every new product or service draws many early adopters, but newer products emerge quickly, taking consumers’ attention and revenue.
Hypercompetition will always push technology producers to match or beat the services of industry rivals. Google will keep innovating, as will Microsoft and many other tech companies. Right now, Google has the attention of the tech world, but time will tell if the new services truly produce game-changing results.
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Pepitone, J. (2010). Google launches live-updating ‘Instant’ search. Money.Cnn.com.
Ricknäs, M. (2010). Update: Samsung launches Galaxy Tab. Computerworld.com.