Google Rolls Out Carousel Replacement

Update 7:00: Greg Sterling notes that Google has confirmed that this is now being rolled out.

Per James Gibbons and Brady Callahan on Twitter, Google is testing another variation of their Carousel Replacement. I was able to see the test in Safari on my Mac but not in Chrome or Firefox. Mileage may vary.

It is similar to the display first seen in August but with three differences. One, the display is only showing at position 1 of the organic results and two, there is no embedded map.

The striking third difference though is that when you click through one of the list results you are presented with only a Knowledge Panel that appears dead center in the results and not off to the side. Depending on the KP content, virtually all other information can appear below the fold.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 5.34.50 PM

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 5.34.40 PM
Clicke to view larger. Note that this KP pushed right to the fold on my 27″ screen and was dead center on the screen

Last night I saw the same test being run on Safari for the iPhone.


Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 5.30.20 PM

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 5.30.39 PM
Click to view larger. A more typical KP but still only showed 3 organic results below.


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11 thoughts on “Google Rolls Out Carousel Replacement”

  1. Great scooping, Mike.

    I find it incredible how prominent those review-sentiment snippets are. They’re less coherent / helpful than the excerpts that show up in the right-hand knowledge graph, and way more people will see them because you don’t have to perform a brand-name search.

  2. I am really liking this new change. I was just looking at the mobile version and it seems very user friendly to me. The filters are quite useful and it especially highlights the need for local reviews.

  3. Right off the top, my first thought was this has to do with advertising: on many levels.

    On the hotel side the top 3 choices are automatically hooked into the ITA’s (internet travel agencies). Google gets $$ from showing those and any bookings via those results.

    So that is a mixed piece of info..sort of organic, but decidedly advertising oriented with booking revenues flowing to Google.

    Those are NOT organic oriented results. They also aren’t necessarily hotel friendly results as they auto give money to a third party middle man
    (which includes Google.).

    On the restaurant side…wow it makes high rankings UBER valuable. You REALLY want to be in the top 3 for that killer large, visible, eyecatching top of the page listing.
    I guess that is good for local SEO’s. ;).

    On the knowledge box or knowledge panel side or what I assume you meant with KP (is that KP duty) or is it an acronym for Knowledge Panel?

    WOW!!!! that is enormous. SIMPLY page real estate swallowing GIGANTIC.

    That will just slaughter/kill/devastate traffic to the websites below it. make no mistake about that. There will be less traffic to websites. Anyone who studies traffic or just uses something like crazyegg on a site to track visitor traffic knows the HIGH volume of traffic stays on the top of the page.

    With this change….Google is making it very clear…the Google Search Engine is ALL ABOUT GOOGLE and to heck with other results.

    Here is something I suspect. While hotel advertising is very very active and rich…I see relatively NO restaurant advertising by comparison. Its thin compared to hotels.

    I think these changes will push restaurant operators to advertise. heck there are only 3 highlighted visible choices.

    Who is going to advertise and what will occur. One thing I suspect is that restaurants will advertise to protect their brand and their name, let alone advertise for type and location.

    Mike: For your perspective especially I think there is a bit of irony there. Restaurants will have to advertise on their brand to protect their name. It sets up a situation not unlike that of your good friends at YELP.

    Advertise…or let some slippery dog advertise against you. If I chose to advertise the Dave Restaurant every time the Mike B restaurant showed up on a search…it would irk the bejeebers out of you.

    It dang might generate defensive advertising…..all to google’s advantage. Sort of possible unnecessary and unhappy advertising to protect one’s own brand.

    And it would be out there…because google is killing every result below the knowledge panel.

    Now doesn’t that look, smell, and feel like those dastards at Yelp???

    Quite a set of changes. Will it stick????

  4. Gotta add something, Mike. I just looked at the cost per click costs in adwords for this month, January of this year and in January of 2013.

    Cost per click for defensive advertising on our “brand name”. For this November and this past Jan. its about the same. Those costs are 80% higher than they were a year ago. I know they had been at a low cost per click in past years–probably lower than Jan 2013.

    that sucks. Its not that different from our friends at Yelp. Its also called highway robbery in some places and/or reminds me of the local mafia where and when I grew up…when they had a lot of power.

    I really believe this new presentation simply opens the door for it, let alone will spur smbs to spend advertising monies where they haven’t been to date.

  5. “Greg Sterling notes that Google has confirmed that this is now being rolled out.”

    Where is that Mike? I’ve read the post 3 times and am not seeing it. Wanted to find out exactly what he said.

  6. I’ve been studying these results from the restaurant side.
    No ifs ands or buts. these are terrible results from a business perspective–and from a user perspective

    There is scarce and only partial information for the top 3 restaurants that show in the PAC. Here is what I DON’T SEE

    No address
    No associated Map
    Incomplete Hours–I see an opening time–no closing time
    No phone number
    No link to the site.

    Lets call a spade a spade. These are not Search Engine Results–nor are they Directory Results.

    These are Google Only Results. They emphasize a google purpose for only Google’s good.

    If one clicks on one of the pictures one finds an incredibly oversized Knowledge Panel.

    Its dominated by Google chosen data. There is an opportunity to an image link to the site. Does that drive traffic well or much at all??? Only google knows. My guess is it doesn’t.

    All sorts of google data. At the bottom of the knowledge box there are links to competitors.

    Underneath that supersized knowledge box are organic links.

    There is only ONE reason I can think of for this type of presentation: Drive ads to google.

    At this point if I’m looking for restaurant info, I’ll start using Yelp, Bing or directories. The information and the presentation is far superior, more informative, easier, and quicker..and its not set up in a bully pulpit to drive ads.

    Nothing subtle about this move. Its been done to drive ads.

  7. I have no dount that this change is meant to make Google more money, as they are a for profit business that will always put their needs and wants ahead of everything else. Ultimately they need to create an experirence that users like so that their traffic increases and they can generate even more revenue.

    Once a user clicks on a selection, they do get the address, phone, hours and menu as well as reviews, so it seems to provide a useful service to the public. Oddly right now when I do local searches, I am not seeing AdWords above the new results for food type searches. It will be interesting to keep an eye on.

  8. Several points:

    1. When signed into google I’m seeing the new results.
    2. When not signed in, either on Firefox or chrome I’m seeing the old results.

    3. At Michael Doran: My observations over the longish term are for two primary carousel type searches; restaurants and hotels there are very different characteristics.

    The hotel market is heavily monetized with LOTS of competitive ads in adwords plus the large Internet Travel Agents Box for booking (of which Google has a financial piece).

    On the restaurant side…there is relatively little advertising. So FAR. My gut is that this change will push restaurants to advertise. By the way in the US per the national restaurant association there are something like 1 million restaurants.

    (hey–that is a BIG target)

    Of course we will see over time.

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