Search experiments at Google

As if owning one zeitgeisty domain wasn’t sufficient, it seems that this one, or the phrase from which it is formed, is now in fashion, following a Google blog post about search experiments there

As the SEO blogs link to and comment about it, the phrase “search experiments” becomes more popular and more competitive – at time of writing, this site has been pushed down on to page 2 (position #11).

The Google post is both interesting and funny. It kicks off with two versions of part of a results set so similar that it is impossible to tell them apart without placing them side by side, and even then it is a struggle. It reminded me obscurely of the Fast Show’s Animation Now sketch, where he moves things “just a tiny bit”.

The difference between the two is an extra half-millimetre of white space around one of the results. I suppose that they didn’t get where they are today by saying at any point “ah, that’s good enough”, but the degree of attention to detail seems beyond obsessive. The poster, Ben Gomes, even refers to the changes as “barely visible”.

It’s interesting to see however that as well as experimenting with new features and products, they are always tweaking the main model. If only they paid as much attention to their algo! (Joke, but I know a few webmasters who would be laughing bitterly…)

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