Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Google Instant Search - Impact on student research?

Last week Google released a new way of searching when you are on their home page called instant search.  What instant search does is provides a list of website results instantly as you type each letter.  Now if you are logged into your google account the results are both personalized (based upon your web history) and localized.

While it is good practice to employ several search strategies and to use different search engines, data suggests that most students will only use Google.  Now with Google instant the displayed results of your search are different based upon where you are and who you are.  While this might be a good thing if you are searching for pizza, what if you are comparing the policies of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  As you type W...A...S...H...I...N...G and so on the results you get will change instantly based upon where you are at and your past history as you type each letter.  Will this be a distraction to students as they search?  Student habits rarely took students past the first page of results and some would suggest that this new method of displaying results will not take students past the first three hits for the first few letters of a word that they type.

Here I typed an L into the search box while logged into my google account.  The top hit is Las Vegas Review Journal.  However, I bet that is not the case for my father who lives in Northern Wisconsin.

So my question is again... what implications do you think this will have on student research?  Or am I over thinking the implications?

1 comment:

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