Google helps you decide which product to buy – possibly

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We all know the importance of the concept of word of mouth and reviews. As people we are far more likely to be swayed by a recommendation or something positive rather than a lack of any endorsement. Have you noticed that Google tries to do this?

This is not done all the time for absolutely every product that exists, but increasingly when products are being searched, panels are appearing on the right hand side of the screen showing up to date feeds about peoples experience with the particular product/s. Not only can this potentially sway whether you decide to follow up or purchase the product, it also goes to highlight the very point of advertisement and search – popular and authoritative pages / products appear higher and more prominently.

Of course review panes are not a new concept, but what is new is the style and format for how Google seems to display these review quotes. Research shows that these type of ‘special reviews’ can apply to any products so long as there are plenty of reviews for them (and we would presume that the target audience has to be high also.)

One problem that seems to have come to light is the quality of the reviews is questionable. Google seems to pick these reviews across a wide range of raw sites, but these sites don’t seem to be known. Some would argue that this is the most effective way as you get a true average of results. Others would argue that the scope for poor or spammy sites / reviews seems not to be taken into account, therefore the presentation of this concept has a negative slant attached to it.

As stated, this only applies to a small number of products, although the facility exists none the less. Our analysis of this would be that more research needs to be done to fine tune the detail if (presumably) this is going to be rolled out more widely in the future.

We see the main problems with this idea as:

1) It could be potentially unfair and unjust for certain companies who may be disadvantaged.

2) It may lead the user to buy a product based on reviews that they might not otherwise have been purchased. This could lead them to ‘blame’ Google if a substandard product is then received, and let’s be clear about one thing, Google’s ultimate aim is to satisfy it’s audience not annoy them!

Watch this space!

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