On this episode of The Bella Buzz podcast, we talk about the many things that are happening with Google these days. In particular, Desiree and Joe talk about the rumored Groupon acquisition and the Instant Preview pane on search results pages.
Word on the street is Google is making a $6 billion dollar offer to Groupon to acquire the white hot, local deals, social network. Original estimates were for a $2.5 Billion offer, but as the rumors swirl the price keeps going higher.
Why does Google want something like Groupon? As Google has fended off discussions about building their own Facebook killer, labeled Google Me by the industry, the have claimed that they want to incorporate “social” into all of their products rather than building a platform of their own. An acquisition like Groupon would instantly add that element of social shopping to their arsenal. It’s a big category that has intrigued many people as a natural extension of how search is evolving.
There can by some cynical response to the dollar valuations that this transaction is tossing around, but an interesting announcement from Groupon, that really could add more value to the service, is the addition of Groupon Stores. This opens up the usefulness of the service to many more merchants beyond the typical restaurants, spas and retailers who were setting up campaigns. Rather than inclusion in the mass email and the subsequent mad rush of customer traffic associated with the Groupon campaign, a merchant can set up their own store within the platform and attract a follower base to be cultivated. This twist on the service could really attract new users, both consumers and merchants and grow the company considerably.
On another note regarding changes in Google, Instant Preview pane is one of the many new features that has been added to the Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page) in recent months. Coming on the heels of Google Instant and the predictions that are made as you enter a search query, we have the addition of Instant Previews in the results. Do we sense a trend in the naming? Google continues to push speed as a feature (including site load times as a factor in ranking by the way). We can only speculate that these enhancements to the search results were part of the work of Marissa Mayer prior to moving over to the location based initiatives at Google.
The instant preview gives the searcher a chance to view the page that they will be visiting when the click on a search result. In the example image provided, by searching for the keyword “baseball book podcast” the results page returns a number of options. By clicking the magnifying glass beside the page title, an image appears displaying the site. This image can help the searcher decide if the result is the best option.
This does create some issues for site owners. In some cases, embedded flash objects or plugins are not displayed in the image and will appear as a “puzzle piece” or a large hole in the results. Another deterrent to searches might be graphical overlays for submission forms or password entry. These factors need to be analyzed when reviewing site design.
Impact of these changes to the search results are yet to be fully recognized, but there is plenty of speculation as to the impact on Adwords and Organic search results.
What do you think? Will these changes impact the way you search, or more importantly, how you present your web sites in order to increase the click through from the results page? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
UPDATE: 12/3/10 Groupon decides to turn down Google’s offer. This shocked a lot of people but the company generates $2 billion in revenue each year. Looks like they are holding out for a better offer just as Facebook did years ago. Read more here. Would you have turned the offer down?
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