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Google Patent's Universal Search

Well folks, it finally happened: Google's Marissa Mayer and friends finally have control of search results with various embedded media:
Invented by Bret Taylor, Marissa Mayer, and Orkut Buyukkokten
Assigned to Google
US Patent 7,447,678
Granted November 4, 2008
Filed: December 31, 2003

Bill Slawski first caught my attention with this on his great blog "SEO by the Sea" (a great SEO resource, BTW). Bill has great content, and a very level head when it comes to online marketing.

He points out that SearchMash.com is a Google beta test site for all things Universal Search. And provides a fewe examples.

Let's see if I can add something to that as well, with a project we did nearly a year ago, that is still performing well in the SERPs.

The search term is Visit Oktoberfest (go ahead, try it yourself: Visit Oktoberfest).
We applied the RichContent PMP formula to producing Universal Search results for our client, a foreign language learning program. We used Video, Images, Articles, PR and Podcasting, along with some Forum and Blog posts, and a smattering of social bookmarking updates. We haven't touched the program since February 1 of 2008 (it's November 6, around noon today. I am in Salt lake helping teach a course on how to write and promote a book to Bestseller Status with Michael Drew, a true industry visionary. And I RARELY ever use that term. But Michael is truly the real thing).

Anyhow, back to Google's Universal Search patent, and our display. Here's an example, today, of Universal Search for "Visit Oktoberfest":


You'll see that Google now takes two of the image thumbnails and puts them side-to-side in the results, as a way of providing more results with less noise. The always thoughtful Goog at work here.

You'll also see there are a handful of Google Adwords on the page. Which elements do you see first? Adwords or Universal Search Results? Think on that.

Next we have SearchMash.com, Google's beta US engine. Same search, but with the One Boxes expanded to show visuals:


As you can see, there is no advertising on the page. You also have to open the AJAX One Boxes on the right to see thumbnails and other content posts. It's better than Google's refresh the page approach, but not as good as their existing Universal search results.

I can see a ton of opportunities for companies to leverage Universal Search and own more front page real estate, with more related Mentions (a key you'll see me addressing more and more over time).

The big questions I have: with Google holding the Universal Search patent, will that mean MSN and Yahoo! will not display Universal Search results? Or is a license in the works?

Let me know your thoughts. Lots more activity, but I need to go help some bestseller's get from blog to book.

Oh, and thanks again for the great writeup, Bill. Your insights are always valuable.

Mark Alan Effinger


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