It’s your typical Goliath vs. Goliath match-up. Superstar A plans an event that’s
sure to include some big announcements and changes. Superstar B doesn’t want to
lose the spotlight and plans an equally big announcement on the same day. Jon
Stewart and Stephen Colbert did it — and just look what came out of that battle. Now, Google and Facebook
are ruffling their features for the next face-off. Google must have gotten wind of what’s going down at the super-secret,
invite-only event Facebook planned for today, which has the rumor mill
fluttering with talks of what could be announced. (A profile redesign, Facebook phone, upgrade to
Places, and a revamped Events feature have all been speculated.) So, in its
attempt to not be ousted, Google started testing a major improvement and
redesign to it’s search results page: full page previews of your selected site,
complete with a blue background popping up when you hover over a particular
listing. Google — in all its wisdom that makes us wonder how much it actually
knows about us — is also able to pull out and highlight the portions of the
text on the web page that relate to your search. Blogstorm and The Next Web both nabbed screen shots of how the layout
would look, but if you have the Google Search preview plug-in enabled, you should be able to see the results for yourself by hovering over the magnifying glass on a
listing. We’re also left wondering if this is just a test or a slow-roll out, like Instant Search, to users.
We’re also seeing that Google is now showing multiple results of the same site
for one search, without any indentation, which is going to play a big boost
with SEO. So instead of just going after the No. 1 spot in Google, it’s time to
start targeting the first, second, and third spots, just to further capitalize
on the number of clicks you get to your site.
Furthermore, since it looks like these previews are popping up just right of the organic results, what’s that mean for the PPC Adwords results, which are clearly covered up by the preview in the above image? What do you think? Did Google plan for this to happen on the same day as Facebook’s event? Or is it just one of those
announcement overlaps? I’ll let you decide, but I’ve worked in the industry
long enough to know that there’s no such thing as a coincidence. Update, 10/6/2010 4:40 p.m.: Facebook announced it will be releasing a data download to take your information from Facebook with you, new Groups feature to add and sort friends, and new application dashboard to see how other sites are using your information. A(nother) Facebook redesign is coming soon, which is said to resemble Places with a lefthand nav and better Chat placement.