Friday, November 2, 2012

Google's entire SERP has only YouTube results - this may be illegal!

This might be seriously illegal, if this isn't just an experiment. Screenshots taken in Sep'12.


  1. I've seen this a few times recently, although it seems to have reduced a bit since September.

    This is very personal, but in the vast majority of cases I do not see a video being a superior search result to a page of text content unless I specify video in the search, of something that is clearly uses video, like a search for a film.

  2. @JElder

    It is possible that they're running an experiment. Otherwise, this could get Google into serious legal trouble.

    I feel even within video results, Google shows primarily YouTube results. This itself is questionable.

  3. I think that the way Google interpreted the query was just a little flawed. To me, it looks like they interpreted the query as "apple joins [videos on youtube]" (as in, I want to see YouTube videos about the subject "apple joins") rather than [stories about] "apple joins youtube." I searched for "cats youtube" and got a full 10 results of cat videos. But when I changed the query to "cats youtube stories" I got a combo of videos and news. So, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt on this one.

  4. @Lenae

    That's exactly what I thought. It appears that Google is experimenting with showing a results page full of YT results if the word 'YouTube' is present in the query in a specific way. Such a system would allow the Google SERP to be converted into a YouTube SERP for specific queries.

    The danger here is that slowly and slowly searchers might start to substitute the word 'videos' for 'YouTube'. They might, for example, start searching for 'cats youtube' instead of 'cats videos', giving Google a 'legal' reason to display results only from YT.

    YT, as I see it, has huge, untapped potential in terms of profit, and hence Google could very well cross the legal line to make that happen.

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  6. there should be some kind of law that will generate balanced serps. just for now it looks like google is working according to pure statistical model that is prone to spamming and anomalies of different kind. there should be a set of commandments ordering the serp...)))

  7. @בס

    I guess you mean a final 'layer' that checks the SERP one last time before it is delivered to the user, to make sure that there are no duplicates, and no single website has been given a disproportionate attention [Google's own YouTube, for example]. I believe that this functionality can be integrated into Google's regular retrieval algorithms, negating the need for a separate final layer.