During Google’s Q3 earnings call, Sergey Brin, the company’s president of technology, was talking about Google’s search improvements for the quarter and mentioned the evolution of its “blended results.” Blended results means a search query returns not only the best text links but also images and video. Brin suggested that we type in “Michael Phelps” and we’d get a great blended results page. So, I did, and there was no video. I tried again and still no video so I Tweeted a nastygram wondering what was going on.
So, I wondered what happens when I search for Michael Phelps on the other major search providers. At Yahoo!, there are text links and images and on Microsoft’s Live Search, again images and text. The best results page by far was from Ask where a well laid-out page of images, video and text gave me a one-stop place to learn about the Olympic swimmer. Ask recently did a major upgrade including the deployment of more powerful semantic search and a cool, clean design. Ask’s aim is to gain market share as well as increase the number of queries regular Ask.com users do each month. Judging from this exercise, Ask shows renewed promise (although their new TV ads are somewhat peculiar).
I gave Sergey one more shot and went back to Google and voila: the Michael Phelps page had video. It wasn’t as well displayed as Ask’s, but he made good on his word.