Marissa Mayer, at Web 2.0 today, shared insights into some lessons Google has learned in trying to serve users. The take-away is that Speed is just about the most important concern of users—more than the ability to get a longer list of results, and more valuable than highly interactive ajax features. And they didn’t learn that from asking users, just the opposite. The ideal number of results on the first page was an area where self-reported user interests were at odds with their ultimate desires. Though they did want more results, they weren’t willing to pay the price for the trade, the extra time in receiving and reviewing the data. In experiments, each run for about 8 weeks, results pages with 30 (rather than 10) results lowered search traffic (and proportionally ad revenues) by 20 percent.
In other notes from today’s web 2.0… EMI Chairman, David Munns and the Pirate-in-a-suit, Eric Keltone, just took the stage together, and responded to Battelle’s request that they envision the idealized conditions that would allow music mash-ups to be created and shared online, while allowing the corporate bastions of the music industry to continue to prosper. Eh…it’ll happen they both say, but after revisiting the Beatles mashup debacle they weren’t hugging as they walked off stage… to the beat of ‘Strawberry Fields’.