The Google Suggest Tool launched earlier this month in Beta and it's
amazing! How they continue to come up with brilliant,
innovative tools that enhance and improve search is beyond
me. Having hundreds of genius engineers on staff, listening
to their ideas - then implementing those ideas is leading to
great leaps in search usability.
The Google Suggest Beta tool not only completes words in a
drop-down list that shows ten possible and or likely ways to
complete any word you begin to type in the search box, it
shows beside each of those possible word combinations - how
many times that option is searched at Google!
Even though I was in the middle of working overtime to begin
a major client initiative, I couldn't stop experimenting with
the tool from an SEO perspective. The Google Suggest tool
allows you to see instantly how often specific keyword phrases
are searched! Check out the competition for keywords
Google Suggest is something that appears to be destined for
integration into the standard search page simply because it
is far more valuable as the similar option some browsers
offer to complete words as you begin to type them into web
forms. The controversial Gator form completion tool launched
a huge advertising company based only on things users with
the Gator tool had already typed into web forms.
But the difference here is astounding, in that it shows you
things others have typed into the search box and how often!
This means that they must instantly access their database
via the search box and instantly return results that change
with each keystroke! Though interesting, it is not foolproof.
Several times I typed quickly and the feature appears to drop
behind and miss letters that I've typed, showing results for
the first two letters, but missing those letters typed after.
The Google Suggest FAQ answers to frequently asked questions
promise that the auto-complete feature is not based on your
surfing or search history. An inevitable concern that arises
words that you wouldn't otherwise type. A deliberate attempt
to search adult terms turns up innocuous word completions and
beyond that, appears to filter the MOST commonly searched
phrases on the web. Adult phrases appear (necessarily) NOT to
be completed as it would show things that children using the
feature shouldn't see. Nice touch that!
The FAQ also tells us that the word completion feature of
Google Suggest is based upon the Google Zeitgeist, itself a
http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html fascinating look
at popular culture that is always available to the curious.
One question asked on the Google Suggest FAQ page addresses
an odd issue . . . "How do I get back to normal Google?".
The answer is simply to type the http://www.google.com/ URL
in the browser address bar or click http://www.google.com/
Google link, as it appears to lock you into using the feature
until you specifically launch a new browser window. Though,
personally, I'd rather stick with Google Suggest as it seems
that they've come up with another tool I can't live without.
Interestingly, the http://www.google.com/googleblog/ Google
Blog links to the following URL http://labs.google.com/suggest/
but if you look in your browser address bar, you are redirected
to http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=1&hl=en which
suggests Google intends full implementation and may offer
on/off toggle option from the main page in the near future.
You must use relatively recent browsers in order to use the
Google Suggest feature, but it supports Internet Explorer 6.0
(or newer), Netscape 7.1 (or newer), Mozilla 1.4 (or newer),
Firefox 0.8 (or newer), Opera 7.54 (or newer), or Apple Safari
1.2.2 (or newer). (Interesting side note here, type the single
letter "F" in the text box of Google Suggest text box and the
result is "Firefox 20,000,000 results." Something that will no
doubt make Microsoft a bit nervous.)
Google continues to innovate in ways that fascinate me. I'm
behind in my work now because I've toyed around and analyzed
this new Google feature beyond reason. If MSN and Yahoo don't
offer similar tools in their search, I can't imagine being
without it now and will stick to Google for my searching.
MSN's "Search Builder" feature almost had me as a convert.
Yahoo's "My Search" options almost had me setting Yahoo as
my home page. Search tools are coming fast and furious over
the past couple of months and this industry is a fascinating
space to watch these days.
I've gotta get back to work. I'll resist the temptation to
experiment further with the Google Suggest tool. New ideas
keep popping into my head on fascinating new ways to use it.
Like "What is the most commonly searched word beginning with
each letter of the alphabet?" "A is for Amazon" "B is for
Best Buy" "C is for CNN" etc. Maybe "How is the prefix 'un'
most often used?" That didn't work, I get United Airlines as
a suggestion. Google, I have a suggestion for a new tool! How
about Google Prefix or even Google Antonym! Imagine the
fascinating tools that developers will build using the Google
API if they include this new Suggest feature in the API!