Recently, Google began placing paid and organic links within their search box suggestions. This may be aimed at improving the user experience by highlighting relevant links and allowing searchers to click directly to a site, bypassing the search results page.
The sponsored links are part of a beta test with a limited number of US advertisers. In my searches, I found Home Depot, Macy’s, and eHarmony.
The organic links do not appear on all queries and seem to be triggered by brand terms, URLs, and other high traffic terms. It will be interesting to see if the prominent placement of these links will shift traffic from paid to organic search by diverting traffic to sites prior to the search results page.
No announcements have been made about either program (paid or organic links), so it is unclear how extensively Google will implement these placements. However, I am confident that the increased competition between the engines will continue to spur new product innovations.