Google’s first Searchology was two years ago, Google was excited to launch Universal Search, a feature that blended results of different types (web pages, images, videos, books, etc.) on the results page. Since then Universal Search has grown quite a bit, adding new types of results, expanding to new countries, and triggering on ten times as many queries as it did when they launched it.
But as people get more sophisticated at search they are going to Goolge to solve more complex problems. To stay on top of this, they have spent a lot of time looking at how we can better understand the wide range of information that’s on the web and quickly connect people to just the nuggets they need at that moment. We want to help our users find more useful information, and do more useful things with it.
The first announcement is a new set of features that we call Search Options, which are a collection of tools that let you slice and dice your results and generate different views to find what you need faster and easier. Search Options helps solve a problem that can be vexing: what query should I ask?
Let’s say you are looking for forum discussions about a specific product, but are most interested in ones that have taken place more recently. That’s not an easy query to formulate, but with Search Options you can search for the product’s name, apply the option to filter out anything but forum sites, and then apply an option to only see results from the past week. Just last week, at our Shareholders’ Meeting, I had a woman ask me why she couldn’t organize her results by time, with the most recent information appearing first. “Come back Tuesday,” I wanted to say!
The Search Options panel also gives you the ability to view your results in new ways. One view gives you more information about each result, including images as well as text, while others let you explore and iterate your search in different ways.