Google’s ‘search within search’ or as they call it ‘teleporting‘ has hit the Powerhouse Museum.
I’m not sure whether this is a compliment or not, but as the New York Times reports, this is a very interesting development which raises many issues for content-rich sites with vested interests in their own internal search.
As you can see in the screenshot below, a search for ‘powerhouse museum‘ now not only shows the main home page link, and the ‘selected’ 8 results (automatically picked by Google – probably a mix of popular pages and ‘relevant’ pages by title), it also shows a secondary search box.
Searching in this second box returns a site-specific search result, but still on Google, and depending upon the search term, filled with term-sensitive search advertising. Here’s an example of the effect of entering a term like ‘travel‘ into the secondary search box.
Worse still, try this one – ‘venue hire’.
It is going to be interesting to watch the effect of this on user behaviour. For Google it allows them to keep users on their search site for a longer period of time (and tempts them with advertising), and, if I look at this with a positive spin, it also hopefully delivers users to exactly what they want on our site by the time they get to it,
Either way though, this is another nail in the coffin of traditional web metrics and measurement. Where previously visitors wanting to find your organisation by a brand name search would start their visit to your site at the home page (after being delivered to there by Google), now they are more likely to exhibit similar behaviour to content-seekers, and start their visit deep in your site. This has significant implications for site design and navigation if users do actually start using the ‘search within search’.
Have any other museums found their site is now affected this way? (I notice that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation – ABC is another Australian site that is)