With Twitter and Yahoo updating their search engines, Google is jumping on the bandwagon and testing new features as well. Coming on the heels of the instant and real-time search features, the full page preview is in the works. This feature will allow the user to view a preview of the linked page. The previews are in the testing phase and not all Google users are currently able to take advantage of it.
When the search list pops up, the user will be able to hover over a magnifying glass icon – found next to the entry name – that will display an image of the linked page. Now, when I say an image of the linked page, I mean literally a snap shot of the page, giving users an idea of how informative that page will be. This function will navigate directly to the linked page if clicked on. It will also highlight bits of information to give the user a better idea what is on the site.
The goal of the new feature is to keep users from navigating away from Google’s site. The previews are designed to give more information than the normal search entry provides, allowing users to make a quick assessment of a site. However, it may affect various site’s click through rates, angering businesses.
It’s important to keep in mind that this feature is only in the experimentation phases, and there’s no guarantee it will be released on Google’s site officially. However, the last time someone noticed this type of testing on Google’s site was when they were testing instant search, which is now in action.
As a user, I find the feature intriguing. The ability to avoid sites that don’t seem reputable by the look of their home page would be very useful. The resulting possibility for a streamlined research process is exciting, regardless of what it means for other Web sites. Those business owners who are savvy enough will use this feature to their advantage and create an attractive, informative and more user friendly home page. Those who don’t will doubtless see their Web site hits fall if this feature goes into play in the future.