Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Google introduces Search Options. Lets you refine your searches


Google has launched a new feature on their search page – Search Options. Do a search on Google today and you will notice a new link on the top “Show Options”. Click on it to open up a plethora of new search tools that helps you filter and refine your searches in a whole lot of ways.


Google already displays videos and forum results within the search. Now you can filter the results to display only videos or forum threads. The Review feature is really useful for someone who is shopping online. Just enter the product name and choose the Review option to get only reviews of the product. Google actually pulls important snippets out from the review and shows them directly on the search page.


There are also some time options that enables you to narrow down the search to recent, to past 24 hours or the past week or year. Even more time specific search options are available with the “Timeline” feature. Timeline allows you to go back in time and search for items during specific time periods.


The Wonder Wheel is just a visual representation of how different topics are related to each other. Not very useful for searching information.


Two new search features are due to launch next month, one called Google Squared and the other Rich Snippets. Unlike a normal search engine, Google Squared doesn't find web pages about your topic — instead, it automatically fetches and organizes facts from across the Internet.

You can type in any search and this Google Lab (scheduled to launch later this month) will try to build a useful “Square” that you can save. In the demo, if you typed in “small dogs” then Google would try to return types of small dogs, along with facts like how much they weigh. It’s easy to add a row to the Square, so you could add a row for Lhasa Apso and Google will try to infer the relevant facts from the web. You can also add new columns, e.g. if you type “energy level” then Google will look for corroborating facts across the web and try to guess the energy level of each type of dog. I can personally attest that Google Squared can be as fun as Google Maps--you can easily burn an hour just typing in random things to see what Google can do for that search.

Rich snippets extract and show more useful information from web pages than the preview text that you are used to seeing. For example, if you are thinking of trying out a new restaurant and are searching for reviews, rich snippets could include things like the average review score, the number of reviews, and the restaurant's price range:


In this example, you can quickly see that the Drooling Dog Bar B Q has gotten lots of positive reviews, and if you want to see what other people have said about the restaurant, clicking this result is a good choice.

You can read more about these at Google blog and Matt Cutts.


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