While the online jobs landscape has been pretty quiet for a few years now, in terms of new sites and technologies, I’m guessing a number of you have noticed that Google recently jumped into the fray — launching it’s new “Google for Jobs” platform a few months ago.  You can read more about the evolution and purpose of this new technology in a third-party article here, if you’re not familiar with it.  Alternatively, if you want to read Google’s own biased and PR-riddled description of the service, you’ll find that here for your perusal.

The long and short of it, however, is that anytime you search Google now and include the word “jobs” in your search, a special window pops up (give it a try, if you haven’t yet seen it in action) containing a bunch of jobs LinkedIn thinks might interest you.  Then, if you click anywhere in the jobs window, a full page opens up allowing you to refine your job search, set various filtering options, and even create an immediate, daily, or weekly “alert” to notify you of any new matching opportunities that turn up on the system.

But here’s the rub.  As exciting as it might be that one of the world’s top web companies is taking an interest in the employment space, the practical benefits of this development (at least in terms of my own evaluations of it thus far) are virtually nil.  To be clear, Google isn’t creating or attracting any NEW jobs with this tool.  They’re simply scraping a bunch of listings off the exact same websites that every other “aggregate” search site like Indeed.com already covers — such as Glassdoor, Monster, ZipRecruiter, Facebook, and the like.  So if you’re already using Indeed.com, as well as LinkedIn’s Jobs page and Craigslist (which are the two main sites aggregators can’t typically access), it’s unlikely you’re going to find many — or any — additional listings via the new Google interface.  You’ll likely just be treading over the same old ground.

Going forward, of course, it will be interesting to see if Google is able to flex its considerable online “muscle” to add new features or penetrate farther into the online job universe than its competitors — but for now, despite the hype surrounding the new offering, it appears that most of the advantages offered by the Google engine are purely cosmetic in nature.  I’m not seeing any functional benefits that would benefit the average job hunter.  So for the time being, I’d recommend that most professionals simply stick with the tried-and-true sites (Indeed, LinkedIn Jobs, Craigslist) that are more fully-functional and have a much longer track record.

All of this being said, of course, there’s certainly no harm in trying the tool out if you’re actively on the hunt for a new role.  So if you haven’t done so already, feel free to run a Google search for jobs in your field, see what comes up, and if your results seem different than what I’ve described above — or you find it to be a significant improvement over Indeed.com and similar sites — please let me know!