We've just noticed that Google has introduced a bit of Ajax into its main property Search, by way of integrating Maps on some searches. This feature has been around since December 2006, but the blogosphere's response was surprisingly low. Given it marks the first time Google has used Ajax in its main property, we think this small addition means a lot. The animated picture below shows the feature:
This feature hints that Google may be about to use more AJAX technology in their main property. Google has always tried to keep the Search interface as simple and lightweight as possible, and so has stayed away from using AJAX in Search. But if AJAX can be integrated into search, it probably won't take long for us to see SearchMash innovations - like the infinite scrollbar - being integrated too. Also note Google's recent push for personalization in search results. This all points to Google actively responding to its hundreds of search 2.0 competitors.
Another important consequence is that this is yet another step towards the Semantic Web, as Seth Godin described it as his dream. These are baby steps towards future web applications that communicate and understand each other. Remember our previous coverage of the Gmail - Google Docs integration. And Gmail is well integrated with other products, like Maps and Calendar also.
However, we should note that this new Ajaxified search feature is not fully deployed yet - only a small percentage of returned results come with mapped addresses - but it's a good start.