Most users will have noticed that Google’s search engine results page recently received a decent overhaul. One of the many things that has changed is the Instant Preview Function. This function allows users t ‘preview’ the website of a search result or an linked-to ad. Preview has been available for search results (‘Google Preview‘) since October 2010 and for ads (‘Instant Preview for Ads‘) since April 2011.Preview used to be – and still is – disabled by default and it is necessary to click onto a small magnifying glass on the right hand side of the ad or the search result to activate it. ->
What was changed during the last overhaul is, that although this function is still disabled by default, clicking somewhere “near/around” a search result or an ad will enable it.
(Yes, I know. Please feel free to test it yourself now … but please don’t get carried away, the law stuff is still to follow below)
When the honourable Dr. Ott was questioning the ratio of my last post on this issue (instant preview results lead to an increase in transparency, decrease the likeliness of confusion or wrong assumption about economic connection etc), his main criticism was that the function is not enabled by default. And of course he was not entirely wrong about that 😉
When looking at the current situation one might however ask oneself WHETHER the preview function would still make sense if it was enabled by default, as every movement with the cursor would then inevitable lead to the display of a preview, which covers a substantial amount of the SERP (as opposed to the mouseover function, which only displays a very short section of text, the preview function takes up to approximately a third of the whole SERP).
As such a situation would certainly not be in the searchers’ best interest, the current situation, in which the preview is shown as soon as the user clicks anywhere near an ad, provides a good compromise between usability and transparency.
I know this conclusion in neither thrilling nor stunning, but in the absence of any interesting court decisions on the matter of keyword Advertising (why is the GBH’s decision in Bananabay.de/Eis.de taking so long?), the author felt the need to write a post not only to keep the page visits at a stable level, but also to find a reason to point his readers attention to a fine article by Lassi JYRKKIÖ, who writing for the Helsinki Law Review gives a fine example of what the text of an ad that gets triggered by the word ‘Toyota Yaris’ might have to look like, to make sure that users don’t wrongly assume an economical connection:
Three quick remarks: Firstly I think that the Editorial Guidelines of AdWords don’t allow all CAPITAL lines and are quite restrictive about exclamation marks. Secondly, given the average attention users pay to ads (very little), one might fear that most people would only read the term TOYOTA YARIS before clicking on the ad; and thirdly thank you for your very kind words about this website in FN 60 🙂