Hot off the press:

Google has just announced “Universal Search” (Sergi Brin was in attendance), a moniker for an effort to integrati several channels into the Google search results: Google local, videos, images, books etc. This is bringing together several parts that seemed apparently disparate until now (You Tube, Publishing project, Google Local etc.).

To make this happen, Google has implemented a new scoring algorithm that will be able to compare information from different media (comparing Apples and Oranges as they put it). An example would be whether to rank a video of Martin Luther King higher than an text article about him. Youtube and Google videos will be integrated into the search. The vidoes will be embedded in the search page and the user can view the video without leaving the page. In the initial phase, they will also be pulling in videos from select video sites like Metacafe. This will be a thumbnail that will direct the user to the third-party video site.

Clearly, this will increase the time spent/user on the site. It’s as if the search results page is becoming a content page to some degree.This may have interesting Advertising implications and may open the door for Google to experiment with display ads on the search page.

Google will also start offering experimental search pieces at
Users will be able to sign up to integrate these experimental features into the search results they see on their screen.

The Google stock is already showing a spike today. It almost seems like Google timed the announcement to prop up the sagging stock price (the YTD growth has been under 2% for 2007).