It's not your imagination. Google's rate of search innovation has accelerated. Google has marched through shopping Onebox enhancements (9/14), expanded forum listings (9/14), anchor based jump to and site links (9/25), Search Options expansion (10/1), Quick View PDFs (10/7), Twitter integration (10/21) and Social Search (10/26).
It's been so fast that Google launched a series of weekly blog posts (This Week in Search) to keep up with the changes.
Pent Up Search Innovation?
For the past few years Google has stated in numerous venues that they didn't particularly want to grow their share of the search market. They explained that extending their market share lead could incur the wrath of government oversight or create user backlash.
The jaded in the audience rolled their eyes and even the purists probably furrowed their brow. Sure, it makes a bit of sense but ... really?
Yet, the timing of these recent search innovations is intriguing.
Bing Allows Google To Innovate
Microsoft's latest dedication to search could be the reason for Google's recent spate of search enhancements. Before Bing went live Google rolled out rich snippets, making Google last to the rich listings party. The preemptive move secured a certain search parity in the space.
That box checked off, Google sat back and watched as Bing innovated, advertised and finally partnered with Yahoo. Bing's share began to inch up toward 10% and that seemed to be enough for the search behemoth to release the hounds engineers.
One gets the impression that projects that had once been stashed in a drawer were suddenly taken out, dusted off and quickly deployed.
What else does Google have in store for us?