17 Aug 2011

Google Related - Friend or Foe?

Today Google unveiled its new extension for Chrome called Google Related. 

Google Related finds maps, videos, and other pages related to the site you're viewing, so you don't need to go searching for it yourself.

Google Related is a small bar at the bottom of your screen that pops up when you hover over it with your mouse. If you're viewing a restaurant's home page, for example, it'll provide a map to the restaurant's location, reviews, and other related web sites including other nearby restaurants!

We can see this being both useful and kind of annoying, depending on what you're viewing at the time (which is why it's nice that it stays hidden). When you see an item you like, you can spread the word by using the built-in +1 button.

While the additional information is striking for the end user it can be a web site owner’s worst nightmare. Why? Well, Google’s Related Places from their Place Page data is put front and centre for your visitor to see. Now we are seeing what Google had planned for some of the information they recently stripped from their place pages.

Watch the Google video here for more explanation.

Now, more than ever a business website better keep a visitor’s attention. Right now, not all sites are seeing the extension pop up but in the local space it looks like it is the vast majority of sites are seeing the bar with this additional information. Even Wikipedia pages get the “related treatment”.

Now the competition isn’t just in the Search Engine Results Page but it can come up on you’re your own website! I liken it to being in a shop that is running adverts for their competitors on big screens while you try to shop at the store. Not ideal for a business in most cases.

Also, if you have a dicey history with reviews those little buggers can show up on your site - in a manner of speaking. Once again, if this doesn’t make a business get on the ball maybe nothing will.

It’s important to remember that this information will not be ubiquitous because not everyone will be using these tools. For those that do, and let’s face it most searchers who are tech savvy are influencers, it provides a whole new experience and a way to always be comparison shopping.

Not sure how I feel about this one yet. For the end user it could be like hitting the information jackpot while for a business it could be like a punch in the gut. Of course, there are all stops in between as well.

What’s your take?

Article credits: Marketing Pilgrim, LifeHacker and Google