Google started offering secondary search boxes for major sites March 4, and TechCrunch readers split 55% for, 45% against the feature. Now the New York Times reports that some companies oppose Google offering secondary search.
According to the article, objections are focused on Google selling adds against the secondary search results and potential customers being led astray, by both competitors ads and because they are not immediately searching via the particular site.
Google users have long been able to search within a site with a site:abc.com search term query or via an advanced search. Google’s secondary search box simply makes an existing function easier to use.
The argument ultimately seems to come down to control. Consultant Alan Rimm-Kaufman told the NY Times:
Mr. Rimm-Kaufman said the new Google service also diminishes a Web publisher’s role in helping users find potentially useful content. “You may want to editorialize differently when someone searches, and maybe put a premium on certain reporters or content,” he said. “This moves you further out of the loop.”….
Retailers, Mr. Rimm-Kaufman added, should be even more leery of this feature, and not because they will lose sales to competitors whose ads appear in Google’s refined search results. More sophisticated retail sites have search functions that take into account a customer’s past behavior to suggest certain items, as well as more accurate data on which items are in stock.
There was some sense though at the end of the article:
Pam Horan, president of the Online Publishers Association, an industry trade group, said online executives were growing accustomed to the idea that users often did not find their company’s content through the site’s own search box or its front page. More often than not, she said, users would find links to specific articles or products on blogs, search engines or other sites, and navigate to that page.
“So publishers are building their sites,” Ms. Horan said, “to make sure the experience is the same, whether users are coming in through the front door or the side.”