For all you folks who helped make the term “Google” a verb, get ready for a snazzy new search experience. At the recent Searchology summit held in its Mountain View HQ, Google execs made public a whole slew of features aimed at augmenting the company’s core competency, Web Search. Termed “Universal Search,” Google seeks to integrate video, books, maps, local search, and news into universal results to provide a complete search experience.
More of the features announced were:
- Universal Navigation Bar: A feature designed to make it easier to check Gmail from the Google homepage, as well as use other Google services directly from your Gmail account.
- Google Experimental: Another product of Google Labs to let people experiment with new Google features and contribute their experiences.
- Automatic query search: If you search for “overhead view of bellagio pool,” Google will also try “bellagio pool pictures.” If you search for “F-15 launch launched from a sub,” Google also tries “F-15 submarine launch.” For “distance from Zurich Switzerland to lake como Italy,” it’ll try “train Milan Italy Zurich Switzerland.”
- Context-sensitive search: Emphasis on local search.
- Cross-language information retrieval: Search for information in 12 different languages and have those results cross-referenced to return the best results in English.
- Query refinements: This feature, which probably has been there for some time, makes suggestions at the bottom of the page for misspelled words.
Here’s an excerpt from the Official Google Press Release:
“A user searching for information on the Star Wars character Darth Vader is likely interested in all the information related to the character and the actor – not just web pages that mention the movie. Google will now deliver a single set of blended search results that include a humorous parody of the movie, images of the Darth Vader character, news reports on the latest Lucas film, as well as websites focused on the actor James Earl Jones – all ranked in order of relevance to the query. Users no longer have to visit several different Google search properties to find such a wide array of information on the topic.”
For a scoop on all the news:
- Google unveils a unified search service (CNNMoney.com)
- Google Launches New Design, Universal Search and a Site for Search Experiments (Google Operating System)
- Google combines search types (Reuters)
- Searchology Webcast (Google)
- Google Intros Universal Search, Nav Bar and Cross Language Retrieval (Wired)
- Google Searchology: Cool New Features (Harry McCracken, PC World)
- Searchology: Google Employee #1 Speaks (Harry McCracken, PC World)
- More Google Searchology: Google Universal Search (Harry McCracken, PC World)
- Enterprise search: Why it’s a crisis and why Googzilla will strike (Larry Dignan, ZDNet)
- Google 2.0: Google Universal Search (Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land)
It’s interesting that Google’s announcements come in the wake of rumors of a mega-merger of its rivals Microsoft and Yahoo. The acquisition of YouTube, closer integration of Gmail and Google apps, and now the marshalling together of its technologies to deliver content (not just text) universally… Are these events raising the stakes for a Google / Microsoft-Yahoo showdown? Join the discussion.
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