Google is currently testing full page previews of Websites entered as queries into the search box, a search engine optimization expert discovered.
When some users type in a search query and hit Enter, they may see search results highlighted in blue. Hovering over those search results pops out a preview of the Website associated with query to the right of the results pane.
The preview, which users may click on anywhere to go directly to the Website, roughly offers the full Web page, albeit with some cropped to fit the limited space on the right side of the screen.
Google also highlights some sections of the page in orange and provides snippets of information under the results that are pulled from the Website, said Patrick Altoft, director of search at Branded3.
Altoft made the discovery using Google's Chrome Web browser in incognito mode and reported it in his company blog Oct. 6.
Asked about Altoft's find, a Google spokesperson told eWEEK, "At any given time we are running between 50-200 search experiments."
This has been the company line for the last four years, but it's worth noting that the last time users spotted such a radical experiment it was a taste of Google's Instant Search in August.
Google would go on to launch it at a news event that made a splash in September. The technology prompted financial analysts to rethink their estimates of Google's search ad monetization.
"We think such an improvement could increase the total volume and frequency of searches as users adopt the automation," Jefferies and Co. analyst Youssef Squali said in a research note, adding that it "may lift revenue per search (RPS)."
Think Equity analysts said Oct. 7 that Instant Search could boost Google's search revenue 5 percent in the near term.
Full page previews aren't the only experiment that Google has some users buzzing about.
Search Engine Land noted that Google is playing with connecting users' Twitter feeds with Google News, a move that would fall under Google's search integration arrangement with Twitter from last year.
The integration manifests in this Friends box under the Recent items section on the right of Google News, Google said. It wouldn't make sense to surface random Twitter "friends" in front of any user, which is why users will sign in with their Twitter user name.
This won't be mistaken for Google Me, but it's definitely another sign that Google is somewhat serious about social media.