Monday, 13 September 2010

A to Z in an instant!

Trying out the new Google instant service, I decided to check out the difference between the US and the UK service.

If you aren’t aware, Google instant is a service that updates the search list with every keystroke. There already was a predictive text box, but this takes it one stage further anticipating the most searched for content.

That said, after looking at the results I have become a little sceptical about them. I’ve compiled a UK and US A-Z and 0-9 and hopefully this will demonstrate why. There is certainly some censoring going on but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I was surprised about many of the top searches but whereas the US list had a broader range of returns but both lists were very commercial.

This begs two questions. Does this mean that UK internet users are looking for commercial sites and internet shopping has taken off? Does this mean that retailers are paying for these slots? I’d like some transparency as it looks like we are an unadventurous nation looking for high street retailers and not exciting and dynamic content.

Judge for yourself (UK first, US second):

A is for Argos in the UK and Amazon in the US
B is for the BBC or retailer BestBuy
C is for Currys or Craigslist (a US classified ads service)
D is for Debenhams or
E is for Ebay
F is for Facebook
G is for Google maps or Gmail
H is for Hotmail
I is for ITV or Ikea
J is for John Lewis or Jetblue (a US airline)
K is for KLM or Kohls (an online retail site)
L is for Lotto or Lowe’s (a home improvement retailer)
M is for MSN or Mapquest (interestingly M (space) brings up M&S)
N is for Next or Netflix (DVD rental site)
O is for O2 or Orbitz (a travel firm)
P is for Paypal or Pandora Jewellery
Q is for QVC or Brainy Quotes
R is for Rightmove or REI outdoor gear
S is for Sky or Sears tools
T is for Tesco or (online retailer)
U is for Youtube or US Postal Service
V is for Virgin or Verizon (mobile phones)
W is for BBC Weather or
X is for Xbox
Y is for Youtube or Yahoo
Z is for ZARA or Zillow (real estate)
0 is for O2 or
1 is for 192 or 14th Amendment on Wikipedia
2 is for 24 (TV) on Wikipedia
3 is for 3 mobile phones or 3 DS from Nintendo
4 is for 4 on demand or 4Chan
5 is for BBC 5 day weather or 50 Cent
6 is for 6Music or 60 minutes (CBS)
7 is for 7Zip file service
8 is for 8Ball T-shirts or 84 Lumbar (professional contractors)
9 is for 90210

So out of 36 UK sites, the BBC has 4 hits, Youtube and O2 twice. There are 10 retail sites, 9 TV related sites, 7 technology or web service sites, 5 phone related sites, 3 social media sites and two others. It doesn’t reflect my searches, but does it yours?
I’d have expected say Ancestry to out-place Argos – or Amazon. There’s little media or sites like digital spy, drudge report or The Onion.

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