Feeds

Google streaming search in 'Instant revenue boost'

Dollars grow 2% in two weeks, says study

3 Big data security analytics techniques

All about the Benjamins?

Speaking with The Reg, Shashi Seth, Yahoo!'s senior vice president of search and a former search product leader at Google, has argued that his former employer opted for the Instant method in an effort to generate more revenue. "Do I really need new search results for each character I key in?" he asked.

But Google is adamant that Instant is solely an effort to improve user experience. "Many of you guys speculated that we launched Instant to make more money. Well, let me tell you that's simply not the case," Google senior VP Jonathan Rosenberg told reporters and analysts during the company's latest earnings call. "We launched Instant because it's so much better for the user."

He went on to say that its impact on revenue has been "very minimal" and that "from a resource standpoint, it's actually pretty expensive" — meaning Google spends more serving up all those extra pages. It's likely true that there's an added cost, but it's unclear how high this actually is. Google has also said that it has introduced new technologies that reduce the strain the service might put on its back end. Servers now keep track of what data the browser already has and what data is already being gathered on some other server, the company says, and it has somehow improved its caching system.

Marin's Gagan Kanwar takes Google at face value. "A two per cent revenue increase isn't world-changing for a company that's growing revenues 20 per cent a year," he says. But that 2 per cent growth merely applies to the service's first two weeks in action. And Kanwar acknowledges that it could potentially increase revenues far more in the long run.

From Google's perspective, if you increase speed, you increase user happiness. "We believe from a user standpoint, Instant is outstanding and the data that we are seeing actually bears this out," Rosenberg continued. "We took something that no one thought was a problem and we created something that once you use it, you can't recall how you lived without it before. It saves about two to five seconds per search and users absolutely love it. The percentage of people who select Instant results before they finish their query is steadily rising. So in other words, that means the more they use it, the more they like it."

Except it doesn't mean that. The sad truth is that most people simply use what's put in front of them. And the worry has to be that — on some level — Google is narrowing what users end up searching for, pushing them towards the lowest common search denominator.

Google Instant

Rosenberg continued to protest. But he did finally acknowledge that Google cares about more than just the user. "So let me be clear that Instant wasn't based on a narrow financial calculation. We launched it because we could and because it's great for our users, as we have always said," he said. "Of course, I know it's an earnings call, so let me be clear on another point. We do in fact care about money." ®

Bootnote

You can find the Marin study here.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.