Cloud Industry Forum Voices Uncertainty Over Google Instant

The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), the industry association formed to promote trust within cloud computing through a Code of Practice, voices uncertainty over Google’s new search feature, Google Instant. This new feature aims to produce a faster service by showing search results as you type and potentially saving users between two and five seconds per search.

I understand the logic of Google’s new search feature and welcome any action that improves transparency and efficiency for end users. However, I am equally cautious of how change in practice and behaviour occurs and is managed in the real world.

The solution appears to be a blend of macro search trends and personal search trends, and risks providing a more constrained outcome that could potentially have a knock on effect of dumbing down searches. I fully recognise that you can argue it either way, in that the visibility of results as you type may cause you to provide even greater specificity, or, it could distract or misinform the user and take you down a different tangent based on what gets presented as you type – this is a consequence of our diverse human cognitive styles and cannot in any way be predetermined or regulated. But how does the online industry plan for this potential risk from possible change of search behaviour to their business model?

A consequence for any online business must be to keep a very close eye on the performance of their paid advertising (known as Pay Per Click or PPC) and search engine ranking. For example, Will shorter words and phrases succeed in gaining better online performance than the recent trend toward more descriptive phrases? If so, it will logically make those words more expensive to the advertisers, and, potentially make the relevance of results less beneficial to the user if it leads them to a wrong site or solution requiring a new search.

Today Google Instant can be accessed through the Google home page via Chrome v5/6, Firefox, v3, Safari v5 for Mac and Internet Explorer v8 browsers. Businesses should ensure they are using the most up to date browsers to access the Google Instant experience.

It would certainly help and engender online confidence to get more clarity on Google’s internal stance toward the proactive monitoring and handling of their customers SEO/PPC performance post Google Instant launch to ensure the return on investment in this medium continues to perform relative to, or better than, the traditional search process.

Andy Burton is Chairman of the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), which aims to develop and sustain a credible and certifiable Code of Practice for the Cloud Industry. He is also the CEO of Fasthosts, a Web hosting company. He previously adopted the role of Chief Executive Officer of Centennial Software, a leading provider of IT asset discovery.

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