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Search Experiments large and small

Alex Christie

29 August 2008

Search Experiments large and small.
As leader in the world of search and web related
industries Google is constantly
striving to improve the user experience. In order to enhance this experience,
it has been revealed that amidst all Google’s complex algorithms running behind
the scenes there are also many experiments conducted by Google technicians. At
any given time there can be between 50 and 200 experiments running on Google
sites all over the world.
Below is an example of a recent small experiment;

Option 1:

Gomes_1

Option 2:

Gomes_2

To most users there would be no noticeable difference,
but apparently there is. Option is supposed to have an enhanced visual prominence.
The objective of this exercise is to prove that page rank position plays an
important role in user choice.

So in this example, one’s eyes is ‘automatically’
more focused on position 1 because of the repositioning of the white space next to the first result in option 2.
Not all Google experiments are visual though. Some
of the bigger one’s involve tests on the actual algorithms, on how it
identifies banners, titles and other snippets of information or how it
identifies synonyms.

Regardless of the size or type of experiment, the
goal remains the same. Whatever changes it needs to have a positive effect on
the user.

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