Peter Kafka

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Google's New Search Won't Boost Revenues in an Instant

Google’s Instant is very fast, but the digerati are almost as quick: The search giant just rolled out its new real-time search feature (see John Paczkowski’s excellent liveblog), but Twitter’s shoutier members have already assessed it.

Conclusions: It’s really cool! And also, it’s totally, definitely, going to kill someone!

Exactly who that will be is unclear: Maybe it will be Microsoft’s (MSFT) Bing! Maybe it will be Twitter, which is supposed to be “real time,” too! Or maybe it will be the dark arts of search-engine optimization!

Maybe! Or maybe it will be more like Apple’s (AAPL) Ping, which was declared a MySpace Music killer before Steve Jobs finished presenting it last week. Now that people have actually used Ping, though, it seems less homicidal and more benign/inept.

In any case, one thing Google Instant won’t do is make any significant impact on Google’s P&L. So says J.P. Morgan’s (JPM) Imran Khan, in a note he just published (almost instantly!). His big takeaways:

It won’t make Google (GOOG)  any more money, in the near-term:

We think this new product will have little to no impact on monetization rates. We see this product as an improvement to user functionality and think that its impact on advertisers will be limited. All of the ads typically associated with the suggested search appear as normal as the query is being entered. No changes have been made to serving or ranking. Although the constant updates to the results page may result in more ads served as a person types a query, this should only impact CTRs not the number of clicks as a user will not likely click on an ad until the appropriate results appear.

But it won’t cost Google anything, either:

Management expects the impact on costs to be in line with their existing search cost growth curve. Engineers adjusted the product to have as minimal an impact on servers and data centers as possible. Management expects the impact to be in line with the existing search cost growth curve.

But! If people like it (it really is cool), and that prompts them to search more, then that’s a good thing for Google, long-term.

OK! Back to the killing fields!


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First the NSA came for, well, jeez pretty much everybody’s data at this point, and I said nothing because wait how does this joke work

— Parker Higgins via Twitter