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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Google Replaces Video Link with Products Link

Google on their global homepage replaced the top-left link to Google Video with a link to Google Product Search, the former Froogle. These navigational links are not consistent throughout Google’s services, so the change isn’t visible everywhere. The video link now moved to the “more” menu.

In August 2006, Google actually got rid of the Froogle link on their homepage to put the video link in. Now they seem to have changed their mind again. Part of the reason may be that video results are tightly integrated into Google’s “universal search” approach anyway – e.g. you can query Google web search for 11th Hour Trailer and you will find the YouTube video on top, along with a thumbnail and a plus button to expand the video right on the page; also, a related link pointing to the Google Video search results will be shown in the blue bar right above of the results.

Added to that people searching for videos may well just start at right away. The Google Video homepage itself, which changed from a video upload location to more of a meta video search engine over time, is rather unattractive; for instance, they’re suggesting the same “Recommendations” to me for what seems to be months now... almost as if the place is deserted. Indeed, the Google Video product manager Jennifer Feikin left the company in May this year.

Whether a link to product search is the right choice for a replacement though is another question. Product search results too are sometimes integrated right into web results – like for a search for Buy Sony Vaio – so it’s also not a must-have choice for a navigation link. “Maybe they’re trying to push people to Google Product search for the holiday season,” John in the forum writes. And Google watcher Ionut Alex. Chitu in the comments argues Froogle aka Google Product Search might be “more like a promo for Checkout than a real service.” Google Checkout is Google’s PayPal-style competitor (well, you can’t treat it as your virtual bank account yet, but it has the “safe shopping” angle). Product search results – like Google AdWords in web results – are biased to its advantage. For instance, searching for iPhone will produce a highly visible button in the top left reading “Show Google Checkout Items only.”

[Thanks John, Ionut and Milivella!]


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