Google has announced that it is moving towards a universal search model, which will offer the search engine’s users a more integrated method of finding the information they want.
In the first step, Google has changed its home page, and will begin to include content from Google News, Images, Video, Books and Maps into its search results, depending on the type of query entered.
For instance, a search for a doctor in a specific area will return results from Google Maps, as well as the normal results you might expect. Likewise, a search for a film will give you web pages containing information about the film, but may also provide results from Google Video or YouTube.
The new homepage and search system is currently only updated for users of Google.com, users of Google.co.uk will have to wait a little longer.
In addition to the integration of search results, the layout of the homepage has been altered – contextual navigational links are now displayed above the search results, so a search for ‘internet marketing’, for example, will give you links to results from Google News, Books, Blogs, and Scholar.
According to Marissa Mayer, Google’s VP of Search Products and User Experience:
“With universal search, we’re attempting to break down the walls that traditionally separated our various search properties and integrate the vast amounts of information available into one simple set of search results.”
Google also announced a new experimental version of its popular search service called Google Experimental, which can be seen at Google Labs. More innovations are planned, including the display of search results on a map or timeline, and the use of keyboard shortcuts to navigate search results.
Only time will tell whether this will reduce the space available for organic results – the cynical amongst us may question whether this is a deliberate step to increasing the paid search inventory and forcing more websites to pay for their search engine traffic…..