TeraGoogle, Google's Social Search Aspirations & More From Accidentally Released Analyst Day Notes

Imagine Google "as ubiquitous as brushing your teeth." That's how Google would like you to think of them, at least according to notations accidentally released in their Analyst Day PowerPoint slides. Those notes also contain other interesting tidbits such as a TeraGoogle project and plans for Google to expand with social search.

The PowerPoint faux pas -- which had unspoken comments about everything from AdSense margins to specific ad revenues -- prompted Google to file a Form 8-K with the US Securities and Exchange Commission after the notes were inadvertently left in the PowerPoint slides released to the public on March 2, 2006.

The slide notes make reference to how Google wants to be everything they can possibly be to everyone, a one-stop-shop so to speak, for consumers and advertisers. Comments like this included:

Think of Google "as ubiquitous as brushing your teeth."

Treat advertisers as full-fledged businesses with a broad set of needs (not just advertising).

The notes made reference to additional offerings for advertisers, including direct mail (something not previously associated with Google) as well as previous moves into print, radio and television ads.

The notes also mentioned worries that "[Yahoo] and MSN will do un-economic things to grow share" in regards to the ad network. In other words, both companies might provide sweetheart deals to partners that might cost them money in the short term, as a way to secure long-term gains.

Ironically, Google has done these same things in the past, namely paying more to some AdSense partners than they actually earned from them. It came out during their SEC filings in 2004 and Bambi Francisco commented on the special deals given to some partners:

Google didn't disclose which of its distribution partners are getting that "more than the revenue we receive" payment. But many analysts speculated that some distribution partners were receiving 80 to 90 percent of the revenue generated from the traffic they sent to Google's advertisers. Now we know it's more than 100 percent in some cases.

The slides also gave a revenue projection for AdSense and margins, as covered more here on my JenSense blog. In summary, Google said to expect advertising revenues from AdSense partners to grow from $6 billion this year to $9.5 billion next year.

The user interface in search was also discussed on several levels. The notes mention, "Experiment with several new UI features to make the user experience better." We have seen many of these interfaces being tested over the past year, sometimes to the point of confusing searchers (see here and here), but none of them have been locked down for a widespread release to users.

Google's also looking at some type of invisible tabs solution to expanding vertical search, meaning that users will see more verticals but not more tabs. Notes from the slides included these references to that:

For example, we need to provide unified search experience by integrating multiple verticals & data sources through UI and ranking solutions

Add features, not properties and make it really easy to use

Guide users to help them search better

The notes also hint at the possibility of user interaction or a social aspect being added to refine the Google search results, as well as leveraging implicit and explicit user feedback to improve popular and navigationally-oriented queries:

Encourage our large user base to actively contribute metadata that leads to better search results

Wiki of search: empower users/experts to improve search results in their domains of expertise ? create a million verticals

Effectively integrate user feedback (ratings, comments, tags) into search

Bringing a social aspect into the search results first began with the Google Toolbar's voting mechanism back in 2001, where users could click a smiling or frowning face to vote for or against a particular web page. However, if this data was actually used for anything internal was unknown. Of course, new personalization elements being introduced is also mentioned, most significantly through recent tagging, results removing, bookmarking via the toolbar and making personalize search more mainstream.

Exactly how Google plans to integrate user data into the results is unclear, other than through Google Base which especially depends on meta data. Social search, of course, has been a big area that Yahoo has been making inroads on.

The Google notes also say the company wants to "expand to include other, new information." Photos are named as part of that, meaning that Google might be planning a competitive product to Flickr, which is Yahoo's photo community and makes heavy use of social tagging.

Lastly, the slide notes include references to the size of the Google search index, including the bold statement of "Get all the worlds information, not just some." There is also a mysterious reference to "teragoogle", which implies it is an internal project Google is currently working on, in reference to "All webpages included in the Google index and searched all the time", which the teragoogle makes possible.

The edited PowerPoint slides can now be downloaded in PDF form. The complete webcast (video & slides) can be viewed here.

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About the author

Jennifer Slegg began as a freelance writer, and turned to search engine optimization and writing content for the web in 1998. She has created numerous content-rich sites in niche markets and works with many clients on content creation, strategy, and monetization. She writes about many search industry and social media topics on her blog, JenniferSlegg.com and is a frequent speaker at search industry conferences on SEO, content marketing and content monetization. Acknowledged as the leading expert on the Google AdSense contextual advertising program, she runs JenSense, a blog dealing exclusively with contextual advertising. She is also the founder and editor of The SEM Post. She is known by many as her handle Jenstar on various webmaster forums.