Over the weekend, Google apparently altered the home page of Google Base to a more simple, streamlined search page, with popular searches and categories displayed as well. With the changes, the page now more closely resembles other online classifieds sites, according to industry observers.
"What's interesting about it is when this first came out, it just really seemed to be exclusively about a place to upload content, and [a] way for Google to push content out," said Kelsey Group Analyst Greg Sterling. He added that the revised design might go a long way toward making users consider Google a classifieds destination.
Google Base also created landing pages for employment listings that it receives via feeds from major job sites like CareerBuilder.com and LinkedIn.com. Previously, search results from those sites linked directly to those pages, whereas this week, they have begun linking to landing pages similar to those made for ads posted by individuals or small businesses.
According to John Zappe of Classified Intelligence, the change allows Google to keep the traffic on-site, and lessens other sites' ability to promote their brand names. "Online publishers got access to more eyeballs through Google Base, but they got credit for the traffic. With the new landing pages, users have no need to visit the originating site except when they actually want to make contact," he wrote. "That's not necessarily a bad thing--except that it doesn't help ad publishers' brand-building, and it diminishes page-view potential."