Today, I felt like one of Pavlov’s dogs. It was an odd experience. It was one of the moments when the light bulb suddenly went off.
I had a package to track. As a user of Google Chrome, I simply highlighted my UPS tracking number and right clicked to do a Google search for the tracking link. For those who don’t know, Google recognizes a lot of numbers, codes, etc. Enter a tracking number from any of the major shipping companies and Google is likely to place a simple link to the tracking page for the carrier. In this case it was UPS. Google makes things easier for me by knowing. In fact, you can find a cheat sheet that includes many of the functions recognized by the Google search box.
Google is doing a better job than anyone else at determining my intent. They knew that I wanted to track a package, so when I searched on a UPS tracking number they returned a result that linked directly to the UPS tracking page. If I were to head to UPS directly, I would have had to type UPS.com into the browser, select my location/country, paste my tracking code into the box and click track. Not a big deal, but a simple copy, click, click, click from Google has become much easier, faster, and pleasing to me.
Back to the conditioning to click on ads part. When I select the tracking code and then conduct my search, I then see the following page (blacked out tracking number for privacy)
The result of my search displayed in the same format as a text ad from Google. This convenience search (using a UPS tracking number directly) is part of a grand plan to condition me to click in that ad space with those familiar colors and format.
Take a look at a typical search result page. You can see that the primary difference between the convenience result (tracking link) is formatted in the same way as an ad result (below).
Genius, Google. I love it and hate it at the very same time!
Link to Video: Google Conditioning Users