Last week, Google officially killed Authorship.
Why? Authorship simply wasn’t living up to expectations; few publishers were setting the function up to begin with, and even if they did feature a fetching headshot and signature on their content, it wasn’t sending click through rates through the roof.
This is nothing out of the ordinary. Google run hundreds of tests every day and have rolled out more than 8901 changes to Search during the past year alone.
Let’s take a look back at some of the search engine’s biggest and boldest moves so far.
Remember when you actually had to type a full phrase into the search bar and press the enter key? Now such laborious practices seem archaic.
In 2004, Google introduced Autocomplete (then named Google Suggest) which intuitively finished our sentences like a soul mate.
For businesses, it’s a great tool for keyword research and for finding out exactly what customers think about you and your competitors.
Now we can search the real world too.
If you (somehow!) find yourself lost for dirty burgers in Shoreditch, Google will locate and direct you to the closest joints, whether you’re travelling by foot, car, public transport, or fixie bike.
The footfall-encouraging feature, first introduced in 2005, really is a retailer’s best friend.
Google launched Translate in 2006 and tore language barriers apart.
Initially offering translations between English and Arabic, it’s now capable of handling over 70 languages, and can make your content accessible to people across the world.
A bulging page full of video, news and shopping results came into force in 2007 and savvy brands are mastering first page domination by taking advantage of this.
See it in full swing for yourself; do a simple search for ‘Nike’ and you’ll be bombarded by YouTube ads, images and press releases on the latest fashion styles, and even directions to your nearest stockist.
Google offered a helping hand to those of us whose thumbs are too clumsy for our smartphones by introducing speech recognition in 2009.
Voice now works in 38 languages thanks to the Google team investing years of extensive research into natural language understanding.
Reception of Google+ was bleak, and ultimately, the search engine’s attempt at social media in 2011 became a bit of a joke.
Google are not letting this one go though. Google+ has over a billion2 registered users, and although the numbers are inflated due to compulsory integration with Google’s other services, a mighty 540 million users do visit their profiles to share content every month.
Oh, and that G+ button? It’s being clicked more than 5 billion times a day across the web.
The latest news is that relevant Google+ posts from users and pages you follow are set to appear in Search results. Yikes! It looks like it’s time to dust that G+ account off after all!
All timeline information was accessed on 4th September 2014 and is taken from Google’s ‘Our history in depth’, available at: http://www.google.co.uk/about/company/history/#2010.
1 Social Media Today, 2014. Google Plus to Overtake Facebook: Prediction or Fiction? [Online] Available at: http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/google-plus-overtake-facebook-prediction-or-fiction.
2 Search Engine Land, 2014. Google Made 890 Improvements To Search Over The Past Year. [Online] Available at: http://searchengineland.com/google-made-890-improvements-search-past-year-201065.