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Search Engine Report

Search engines have been changing rapidly in recent months and legal issues arising in both the United States in Europe may ensure that the changes continue.

First, let’s take a look at some of the changes that have taken place to two of the top search engines.

Google Logo

Google: According to Inside Search: The Official Google Search Blog, in May Google introduced nutrition information in search results. Nutrition information results are now returned in the right sidebar of the search results page. The nutrition information provided comes from a variety of data sources including the USDA’s National Nutrient Database. At launch the results were limited to only about 1,000 of the most popular foods. Additional foods are expected to be added in the future.

Most recently Google dropped several search operators and features from use. While these operators and features allowed users to construct more advanced searches and better refine results they were seeing little use and Google opted to drop them. Expect to see other small changes or dropped features as Google determines which features are not getting enough usage.

Dropped operators and features include:

Use of tilde operator for synonyms search (~word)

Instant page previews from search results

“more results near…” link on local search results for queries with local intent

“Translated Foreign Pages” search filter from the Google search options menu

Related Searches filter

Bing LogoBing: Bing recently announced Bing for Schools a voluntary program that would allow K-12 schools to tailor Bing results for students. Bing for Schools will eliminate advertising from search results as well as enhanced filtering of adult content and adding specialized learning features to enhance digital literacy. Bing for Schools is expected to launch later this year.

 

Expect a few more changes to results from top search engines in the near future. According to The Motley Fool post The Skinny on the Search Engine World, in the United States Google, Micosoft (Bing), and Yahoo! was well as 20 other top search engines received a warning letter from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) admonishing them about deceptive advertising in search results. The FTC will likely begin enforcing rules regarding advertising in search results in the near future. The warning advises companies to make ads clearly distinguishable from regular search results. The letter specifically addresses small font size and positioning of labels that are meant to designate ads on search result pages.

In Europe Google is facing allegations of antitrust violations over how results are displayed. Allegations that Google and its affiliated websites appear as top results regardless of relevance to the search query are at the forefront of the issue. FairSearch, the European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, and others have recently called for the rejection of a proposal from Google to help with the current violation.

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