Google Suggest Tool Launched 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 many results for that keyword phrase Google offers! (This feature means that for those of us that used to search keyword phrases to see how much competition there is for a particular phrase, that we no longer have to actually do that search, just BEGIN to type it into the box and we instantly know what would have taken another second or two to find out before AND see nine more options and how much competition for each of them – listed below that phrase!)
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 using their 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 it is interesting, it is not foolproof. Several times I typed quickly and the feature appears to drop behind and miss a letter or two that I’ve typed, showing results for the first two letters, but not reflecting the third letter I’ve typed.
The FAQ also tells us that the word completion feature of Google Suggest is based upon the Google Zeitgeist, by itself a fascinating look at popular culture that is always available to the curious searcher.
One question asked on the Google Suggest FAQ page addresses an odd issue when it asks . . . “How do I get back to normal Google?” . The answer is simply to type the http://www.google.com/ URL into the browser address bar or to click on a normal Google link asi it appears to lock you into using the feature until you specifically launch a new browser window. Though, personally, I would rather stick with Google Suggest as it seems that they have come up with ANOTHER feature I can’t live without.
Interestingly, the Google Blog links to the following URL http://labs.google.com/suggest but if you look in your browser address bar, you’ll see that you are redirected to http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=1&hl;=en which suggests Google intends full implementation and may offer some toggle of the 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 search 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 look further at 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 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 feature!
I love the web! Since this article ran in SiteProNews Monday, I got called on an error INSTANTLY by a dozen people (by email, through this blog and through my site contact form) on the comment that you can see how many times a term is searched. I mispoke there. MEA CULPA!
That is in fact the number of RESULTS Google shows in their database for the search phrase. Much less illuminating, but still interesting. I’d love to tell Google that they ought to simply change their little tool to show the search phrase in quotes, which THEN returns only EXACT MATCHES in Google results.
That would be both marginally more interesting and useful. But you can’t even USE quote marks in that tool. So we’ll have to see Google results for that word and have no choice on that option. Perhaps another SUGGESTION to Google? They are actively seeking feedback folks!