Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Strategies Conference and Expo co-chair, led a keynote with Google Inc.’s vice president of search products and user experience Marissa Mayer, in which the two discussed Google’s recent enhancements to add more personalized and “universal” search results.
“Google Universal Search was a move on our part to give users a more functional results page,” Mayer said. “We were really trying to provide searchers with almost an encyclopedia of results having to do with the search query.”
Google Universal search lists maps, news, images and books related to a search query, providing a fuller and faster search experience for users.
Mayer told attendees that the infrastructure of the search results page will soon change and that Google plans to incorporate blogs and Google Scholar into the results as well.
Google is currently working on making sure that search ads and organic results match the search query as relevantly as possible.
Mayer said that she does not expect Google to incorporate paid ads into the search results because users like to know which ads are paid and which are organic.
Personalized search is going to become more and more relevant in coming years as well, Mayer said. As of now, Google has concluded that a search query is the best determinant of relevant information.
Locations and Web history are also relevancy identifiers.
“Personalization gives users more transparency and control,” Mayer said. “Users can log in and view their Web history and decide what aspects are affecting their search results negatively and delete them. They can view the profile Google has built on them and change it so we can better serve them.”
Mayer focused on mobile search and the fact that people are relying more and more on their mobile devices in an effort to save time.
The iPhone has boosted mobile activity and also offers users real-time traffic information, location, contact information and directions.
“We are trying to organize all of the world’s information and make it as accessible as possible for people,” Mayer said.