Google now rolls out Instant Previews
– Google seem to be in a hurry to release new features to its search engine interface! It rolled out Google Instant a few weeks back and now it has rolled out the Google instant previews.
Google has adopted so many Microsoft Bing features in recent times and when their CEO Eric Schmidt said that he considers Bing as a bigger threat to their search engine domination, it looks like he was more worried about what their interface offered, rather than the quality of their search results. Though there have been uproars among the webmaster community on the quality of Google SERPS since May, they were more busy changing their interface and tweaking the algorithms.
Though Google claims that these interface changes are made to provide a better user experience, it looks like the Google under Eric Schmidt, were busy doing the makeover in a hurry, to stop Bing from making any further inroads into their market share. The new Google interface is now far from what made it popular – simplicity (KISS).
Google Instant Previews
While Bing offered previews that showed longer snippets (from the page) containing the search terms, Google took it one step further to provide larger image previews, in addition to a text snippet containing the search terms. The instant previews are available to users when they click on a small binocular lens like image, which is prominently displayed to the right of the URL listings in SERPS.
But these previews appear blank for flash pages. Thus, all flash sites and web pages with flash videos appear blank on the Google instant preview. Sometimes, the instant previews seem to have snapshots of pages with broken CSS. Check out how a instant preview snapshot looks for a Wikipedia page on Youtube.
There also seem to be other technical issues like the instant previews showing page snapshots in the wrong language.
While the previews may be of good quality, if some of the above technical glitches are addressed, we couldn’t really appreciate its usefulness to end users. Some webmasters argue that these previews can prevent click through to spam sites, while we already see a lot of spam sites using rich and well designed interface to draw user attention.
But such larger previews may be strongly opposed by webmasters, if Google tries to make them more readable.
It looks like webmasters can opt out of Google instant previews by using the nosnippet meta tag, but this will also mean there will be no snippet shown for the page in the search results. Well written snippets are often considered essential to improve click through in SERPS and even Google recommends it in its SEO guide.
Ideally, search engines should provide a new meta tag to block previews in the SERPS, rather than clubbing it with the nosnippet meta tag. What are your thoughts and experiences with Google Instant Previews?