Google is constantly searching for ways to increase its dominance in the world of search engines. This is in spite of the fact that is undoubtedly the predominant player in the market. In June alone, Google hosted 182.5 million unique visits, leaving Yahoo and Microsoft trailing in its wake. Still, I suppose it got where it has simply because of the company ethos of continually searching for ways to improve and never standing still. So it comes as a bit of a surprise to discover that from September 5 this year, Google has decided to pull the plug on Google Sets, its internet prediction service.
Obviously not everyone will have heard of this tool. Suffice it to say it was a feature of its testing platform Google Labs, whose future is also incidentally up for review. Many marketers had high hopes for the prediction tool and saw its potential to be a valuable addition to the search engine optimisation armoury. Google Sets had the ability to generate predictive query lists based on the search terms used. It was meant to work like this: searchers typed in a specific search term, say green or blue, and Sets would generate a list of other colours and several lists of the search engine results pages related to these colours.
Potentially this tool could’ve been invaluable to marketers and businesses, and could’ve increased exposure to consumers. If users entered the names of companies or products, Google Sets would be able to pull up several similar items based on those searches that could direct searchers to related SERPs. It might have also served as a keyword finder that could have helped marketers with their SEO efforts.
Despite its potential it will no longer form a part of Google Labs tools. Google hasn’t yet stated whether it intends to incorporate the features of Sets into other areas of the business. However, all we do know is that it will be pulled from the beginning of September as part of the phasing out process of Google Labs. So, has the Midas touch finally deserted the search engine giant? Hardly: remember this is the company that gave us Gmail and Android, not to mention its latest high-flyer, Google+ which is growing at an unprecedented rate. Rather than see Google Set’s withdrawal as a mark of failure or an acceptance that it had come up with a bit of a duffer, it’s probably best to view this as a positive, or a testament to why Google has proved to be the success it is. It doesn’t believe in coming second, so if a new product or feature doesn’t add significant value to the brand, it drops it. Quite a few other businesses could learn from that.