When a company reaches the size and depth of Google, it can sometimes be overwhelming to stay in the loop with the many changes, updates and new initiatives that are taking place.
Whether it's Google Wave or the recently announced adjustments to their core search engine algorithm called, Caffeine, not a day goes by that something interesting isn't being introduced or nurtured out of Mountain View, California (to get a flavour for this, be sure to check out Google Labs). Just the other day, while doing a regular search, I noticed a link near the top of the Google search results titled, "show options." Upon clicking that link, a left-hand navigation opened up and changed the way we can now search - with a myriad of new options.
Here's one that has major impact: you can now do search engine queries and have your results sorted by date (meaning how new the result is).
This is a big deal.
If you think about it, Google does return highly relevant search results and the bulk of the ones that show up in the top slots are those that have been optimized by a company (through countless ways including the proper selection of keywords in the copy development and the overall link strategy - to name a few). There's a highly active online battle that takes place every day as Search Engine Optimization experts are engaged by both brands and agencies to help them reach those most coveted spots at the top. While this is good for generic searches, it can pose some challenges.
Here's an example:
Someone is asking you for email marketing statistics. You remember seeing something a few months ago on the topic. If you do a regular search on Google, the results returned will simply be the ones that are optimized for the keywords, "email marketing statistics" by those Search Engine folks mentioned above. It winds up turning into a prolonged grappling match between your keyboard and the search bar. If you hopped over to Technorati, you may be able to find out if someone had mentioned it on a Blog recently or what regular people (like you and I) thought about email marketing statistics (you could also do a similar search using Google Blog Search). You may also get lucky finding some results over at Twitter Search, but mining through those search results can be challenging and slow. Delicious might be another option, if you think someone else took the time to tag and share that particular piece of content.
Prior to being able to search on Google by date, you had to strike a perfect balance between Google, other search engines, Blog searches, Twitter searches and online bookmarking services.
Simply put, the more unique and interesting ways that Google gives you to find information (check out the Wonder Wheel option in that same left-handed tab), the harder it is going to be for any other competitor to catch up or move ahead of Google. There are an endless amount of reasons why these simple and easy-to-use Web search options are so powerful. All of them will make you a smarter Marketer by making it easier for you to access information in more powerful ways. Think about a simple ego-surf. You can now see which new entries there are for your own name, and how recently they were added. Think about doing that for the brands and corporate leaders you serve.
Any other interesting ways that you are using search that we can all share in?