nicolas leroy

Google testing SearchMonkey-like feature

December 14, 2008

Read on SearchEngineLand:

Google is testing a number of changes to its search results […] The most dramatic of the changes involving reviews of products and services that appear on Yelp, Citysearch, CNET, TripAdvisor and Download.com. The system, which Google has yet to give an official name, allows these publishers to flag data on their web pages that can be extracted and shown within the page’s description in search results. For example:

Enhanced Listing On Google

So yes, Google is going after Yahoo! SearchMonkey. So far, it’s unclear if publishers will have control over the data they want to display in those enhanced search results (like with SearchMonkey). I would say “unlikely” given the technical approach that is used: Google relies on custom HTML tags and attributes, while Yahoo! uses microformats and other standards. Here is what SearchEngineLand says regarding the Google approach:

With Google’s system, no developer knowledge would be required. If you know that a price range is on your existing page, and you add a small bit of HTML code that says in someway to Google “this is the price range,” that’s it — your listing will be enhanced automatically (in cases where Google chooses to do it).

I disagree with this comment for the following reasons:

Anyway, it’s far too early to be critical regarding this new feature from Google, as it’s just an experiment that could become a real product, or be dropped. But let’s assume it will be launched in the near future and available to any publisher including CSEs, who could enhance their product listings with reviews, price ranges and other valuable data for the end users.