Google is to get aggressive with its universal search effort, with users of the company's search engine set to see an increase in the frequency of results that include video clips, images, news articles and maps.
"We're still at the nascent stages. Going forward we'll be more aggressive in terms of when we trigger this," said Sundar Pichai, director of product management at Google.
The universal search effort, launched formally in May but in the works for years at Google, aims to provide a more cohesive search experience for users, so that they don't necessarily have to go to the company's image search engine to obtain photo results, for example.
In addition to boosting universal search, Google needs to do better in helping users formulate and refine queries, as well as improving its personalised search service, which takes into account users' past queries to tailor search results accordingly. The personalised search offering, which is an opt-in service that requires users to have a free Google account, will incorporate more data to improve the way it tailors search results, Pichai said.
Meanwhile, Nicholas Fox, group business product manager of ads quality at Google, said the company is considering breaking its long tradition of running only text ads in its search result pages.
Moving slowly and cautiously, Google officials are discussing scenarios in which image or video ads may prove more useful than the traditional pay-per-click text ad, Fox said, also speaking during the Citigroup conference.
The ultimate consideration in doing this would be if it improves the user experience, Fox said. "We don't want to show things that are garish or flashy or cause users to become blind to the ads," he said.