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Questions for Google Instant's Push Advertising

Google's claim that presenting search results faster with Google Instant -- does not affect advertising, user search behavior or user-click-throughs -- does not ring true.

First, how is Google Instant not push-advertising?


  • In typical Google fashion, they have framed their Google Instant innovation to only represent what they want others to perceive as the user benefits.
  • They even went so far as to make the very-hard-to-believe, approaching-nonsensical, public claim that Google Instant would not affect advertisers output or publishers ranks!
  • Google has crossed the rubicon here, from the customer is always right, to Google knows better or even best.
  • In presenting to users what Google predicts a user seeks, rather than waiting a fraction of a second for what the user actually asks for, Google creates a new big conflict-of-interest to push-advertise the search results that most benefit Google, i.e. Google-owned results, results of Google satellites that Google monetizes search for, or Google "partner" sites that Google revenue shares with.
  • I also am amazed that Google has so cavalierly pushed aside its supposed integral commitment to "search relevance" for users, to push-advertising-driven-results and advertising based on its educated guess of what a user may seek, not what they actually want.
    • No one seems to notice or care about this Google search philosophy transformation.
    • Simply, Google Instant transforms Google Search from a supposedly users-are-first-and-are-in-control orientation to user-are-sheep-and-they-will-go-where-we-steer-them orientation.


Second, how do we know if Google's algorithm is optimizing what a user really wants and not optimizing what Google wants a user to want based on what results make Google the most money? (I know, I know... because they say so.)


  • Most don't know that Google's ad auctions are not real auctions where the highest bidder wins the keyword, but a derivative optimization estimation of which advertiser will generate the most total value of clicks for Google on a given keyword.
  • Why wouldn't Google be optimizing in Google Instant what generates the most revenues for Google given that's what they do with all their other "auctions?"


Third, how does Google Instant not violate Google's long stated supposedly user-oriented public representations?


  • Google's philosophy statement publicly represents: "We believe that advertising can be effective without being flashy. We don't accept pop-up advertising which interferes with your ability to see the content you have requested."
  • I must not be as smart as the Google folks. Can someone explain to me slowly:
    • How flashing new search results on the page as I type a new letter into a new search box is not "flashy?"
    • How the popping up of new results with advertisements after every keystroke is not an annoying form of "pop-up" advertising cloaked as an innovative user benefit? and
    • How is Google Instant, "search at the speed of thought" not in any way distracting or does not "interfere with your ability to see the content you requested?"
  • It appears that this launch underwent the usual careful internal vetting process that Google Buzz and Google StreetView, WiSpy etc. went through...

Fourth, how is Google Instant not introducing a huge new network effect and feedback loop that can't help but affect the predictability of advertising performance or or search rankings?

  • Once again I must not be as smart as the Google innovators and PR people because Chitka research indicates that 34% of users click on the top Google result and 51% click on the top two Google results, and Google Instant's quick flash pop-up results don't flash lower ranked results because there is no time to see them as one is typing.
  • I am scratching my head, how does this flashy pop-up dynamic make it more likely for users to click anything other than the top results that Google wants to steer them to?
    • In other words, if Google Instant is based on recent popular trends in search to try and predict what someone seeks, how does this not naturally re-enforce more the top Google results -- in a big network effect and self-feedback loop?
    • Simply how will Google Instant help the "long tail" to be found when Google only flashes and pop-ups the most popular results and ads?

Fifth, how does Google Instant not run afoul with Google's pledge: "Advertising is always clearly identified as a "Sponsored Link" so it does not compromise the integrity of our search results?"

  • Am I missing something or won't it be harder to distinguish the currently miniscule color differentiation between "Sponsored Links" and search results when the results flash and pop-up before ones eyes "at the speed of thought?"
  • It seems to be that the faster Google can make the search process, the less likely users will be discerning and cognizant of what Google is presenting.
    • Just like the best sidewalk hucksters can hide the pea under the cup when their hands are moving faster than the eye can see -- Google Instant's algorithm can present results/ads faster than the eye can follow.

In sum, if there were concerns about Google's opaque search advertising black box algorithms, auctions and quality scores before Google Instant, there should be more now.

  • It will be interesting to see if advertisers and publishers expect more transparency and accountability from Google Instant.
  • Will they ensure that Google's hard-to-believe assertion that it can shorten just one leg of Google's "three-legged-stool" business model of brokering users, advertisers and web publishers interests, and not change the angle of the Googleopoly platform "stool" that advertisers and publishers have no choice but to stand on?