Google’s Web PlusBox & Wonder Wheel Test?
Google’s smart. They don’t commission a study group to evaluate how their users will react to every change they make. They just select a sample of users and opt you into a test. Most folks don’t even know that they’re happy participants.
Today, I get to participate.
I noticed a new feature on my Google SERP for all of my searches this morning. An extra “web” plus box in the upper left hand corner, under the Google logo.
Expanding the box gives the user an opportunity to further filter their results by recency (day, week, month, year) or by type (videos vs. forums vs. reviews). It also provides the ability to add images from the websites that appear in the results or to add widgets that allow you to see the SERP in a different view.
Of the views, “Wonder Wheel” seems to be the most novel and the least helpful. Changing the view to “Wonder wheel” moves the traditional organic listings to the right and create a spiderweb-like display of related search terms. Clicking on a more specific term pulls up another web with more deeply related terms.
The plus box appears regardless of whether I’m logged in or not and whether I allow the SERP to be tailored to my locality or not. Others around there aren’t seeing this, although the folks over at Blogoscoped picked up on these changes and even provided a way for you to check them out.
Officially, Google did announce two updates yesterday regarding longer snippets and their implementation of Orion. (Greg Sterling also posted a description and examples of those changes over at SearchEngineLand.)
Has anyone else been “selected” to test these features? Any thoughts?