May 13, 2009
Google Adding New Features to Search Results
Google hosted its second annual Searchology Day at the Googleplex campus in Mountain View California Tuesday. Google used the event to introduce a number of innovations to the world's most popular search engine. The first innovation, which is to be released via Google Labs later this week, is called Google Squared. The feature is designed to extract a greater amount of topical information about a website and present it to search users in the grid format of a spreadsheet. Two examples used by VP for search products and user experience, Marissa Mayer outlined how Google Squared might work. A user could type "Science Fiction TV Shows" and receive a multi-columned table containing information about release dates, actors, directors, story plots, and the networks which carry science fiction content. Similarly, a user might type, "Small Dogs" and receive another list of information detailing different breeds, typical traits such as average weight and height, behavior patterns, and images of different types of small breed dog. Results served by Google Squared could then be saved and shared with other users. Another feature unveiled at the Searchology event is being called Google Snippets. Snippets will be of interest to search engine marketers as the feature enables extra bits of information to search results such as short reviews, price ranges and user-ratings to be added to search results. For instance, a search for a restaurant might return a review page from a service such as Yelp. If those reviews contain information about the restaurant being researched, elements from those reviews might be included below the link to the restaurant in question. A third feature called Search Options has the potential to provide far more work for search marketers and web developers. Search Options will create a small below a search result listing other file types associated with that result. For instance, if there is video, blog posts or comments or images associated with the search result, they will be listed under Search Options. The Search Options feature also allows search users to refine their search request by date, incorporating one of Google's most useful advanced search tools. When a searcher selects one of the search refinement options the overall search results they see will change to incorporate their selection. The last tool Google announced yesterday is an iPhone application that uses GPS to help guide stargazers seeking their favorite constellations called Google Sky Map for Android. As the user moves their iPhone, the star map changes to account for the direction the phone is facing. The most interesting aspect of this application is Google's use of GPS coordinates to direct the user towards an object. More information about the Searchology event can be found on the Official Google Blog.