NEWS20 June 2012

Google Consumer Surveys tests open-ended question type

North America Technology

US— Google is live testing an open-ended question type for its Google Consumer Surveys service.

The firm has been steadily adding new question types since launching the service earlier this year. It is now up to nine, however pollster SurveyUSA reckons it has stumbled across a possible tenth.

In its blog, the company explains that it encountered an open-ended question asking respondents to complete the sentence: “When I’m looking for a hotel online, I go to…”. Although the character limit seems quite generous, the format seems designed to encourage respondents to only input a single brand name – thus lessening the analytical burden.

In our recent interview with Google Consumer Surveys product manager Paul McDonald he explained that the company had already given some thought to the idea of open-ended questions. But with it Google needed to “create new and innovative ways to understand that [open-ended] data without the user having to do a lot of the work.”

“The results and analysis interface is just as important to us as being able to serve the survey and get accurate responses back,” McDonald said. “We do all the analysis for users – we try to pull out the interesting nuggets of information that we call ‘insights’, the statistically-significant differences between sub-populations in the data.

“With things like open-ended responses, we need to ask: ‘What does that mean in terms of the reporting interface?’ Just showing the user a list of responses isn’t really good enough for us.”


1 Comment

12 years ago

I think it will be interesting to see how Google incorporates open-ends into this tool. The absence of open-ends is one thing I think Google's Consumer Surveys tool is lacking, as well as some other pieces that keep it from being something one can regard as a true research tool. I think it makes sense for Google and the publishers...and it is probably more appealing for readers than paying for premium content. But researchers should probably be a little wary of it as a research tool. I wrote about it last week after attending Google's webinar. Check it out:

Like Report