Google announced a major change to its standard web search results — the inclusion of results from its vertical search engines, e.g. Google News, Google Video, Google Maps, inside its standard search results, which they are calling Google Universal Search. That means links from Google News and YouTube videos (playable right in the search results!) will be included in Google’s all powerful top 10 results for any given search. The consequence of this change is that Google will drive more traffic through Google News and more traffic to videos that are distributed through YouTube — and that means Google will become an even a greater gatekeeper to media company content than it already is.
For example, the lead story on the New York Times site right now is Paul Wolfowitz Said To Push For Deal To Quit. But if you do a regular Google search for “Paul Wolfowitz Resign,” links from Google News are the first results:
If you click through to the Google News results, although many of the items cite the New York Times piece, the Times piece itself is nowhere to be found.
Google’s new feature that makes videos appearing in the universal search results playable right on the search result page is also hugely disruptive (from Search Engine Land):
It certainly makes you think twice about shunning video distribution through YouTube.
Google is already the gatekeeper for a huge percentage of online activity — and a significant percentage of traffic to media company content. That percentage is now likely to increase.