A study of constant change

A study of constant change

Google has made a number of significant changes to its environments in recent months. A few weeks ago, we wrote about the removal of pagination on desktop pages. This is not the end of the changes we are seeing in the most popular search engine.

 

Can’t move without a map

 

Google Maps has for years been one of the most popular tools for navigating and exploring the world. It helps us easily reach our destination, check distances and search for locations of interest. Recently, however, users have noticed a change in the way Google presents search results related to addresses.

Until now, when a user typed an address into the search engine, he or she had the option of selecting a Google map with the location visible. This allowed us to quickly check the point of interest on the map, which was extremely convenient, especially for people planning trips or looking for specific locations. Currently, when you type an address into the search engine, the results appear along with a miniature Google map. The problem is that it no longer redirects us to Google Maps.

So what is this change and how does it affect usability for users? Is it the next step in the evolution of web services or a reduction in choice for users?

Officially, Google indicates that it is constantly updating its services and interface to provide a better user experience. This would seem to be part of a larger plan of change to optimise the way search results are presented, including those related to locations.

Looking at it from the user’s side, not being able to select a Google map after typing in an address will initially be disruptive. For them, this change may mean a loss of the convenience and speed that was previously available. This may benefit Google itself, but may limit choice and variety for users.

One direction Google may have taken is to persuade the user to use the Google Maps app and thus limit the choice of competing digital map services.

We should also remember that important from an advertiser’s point of view are company profiles on Google maps, where we present both the location and a range of relevant information about the profile of our company. Will this change significantly affect the quantity and quality of searches on the most popular search engine? The Media Maker team will be monitoring this phenomenon.

 

Even more advertising

 

Many years ago we were convinced that everything on the internet was free. This mainly applied to films. How wrong this thinking is, we now see particularly on YouTube, where the amount of advertising has increased significantly in the last 12 months.

Even if we do not physically pay to access YouTube videos, the virtual fee is our data, which the service monetises. In recent months, Google has been working hard to promote the premium option on YouTube – not subscribing means flooding the user with ads they can’t skip. The model for Google is very simple, either the user pays for the subscription or the cost is borne by…the advertiser. Will this cause an exodus of users from this service? I don’t think so, as there is currently no alternative to such a complete video hub for users.

The increase in advertising space is also a signal to us that we need to constantly include this channel as a must have in communication for our customers.

Chrome unrecognised

 

Another important change concerns the location of the search bar. The default settings offer the navigation bar at the top of the screen. We are used to having the box with the page address and options displayed at the top of the screen, but moving it to the bottom should make navigation significantly easier. Google introduced such a feature several months ago, but it required setting this up on the user’s side, which, as it turned out, not everyone knew about. Chrome users on iOS received such a feature to begin with.

 

It may seem that Google is constantly surprising users with changes. However, looking over a longer period of time, we are able to anticipate what new things may be coming to individual publishers’ tools. If you are looking for support in this area then we are happy to talk about the opportunities for advertisers with the modifications that are being made.

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