At today's Searchology press event, Google launched new search features as well as unveiling the upcoming 'Google Squared.' Read to the end, folks, because there are not only some significant updates, but pretty cool tech as well.
Google Search Options
Beginning today, when you search Google.com, the results page will show a link just above the results that says "Show Options." When you click on that link, a left sidebar will show filters for the search, including images, videos, dates, Wonder Wheel etc. Here's a screenshot for a search for the Smithsonian:
Rich Media Snippets
This is basically Google's answer to Yahoo!'s SearchMonkey. Web developers can add a piece of code to their HTML, which can be picked up by the Googlebot to serve up in their results. Here are two examples:
1. Searching for a person can be complicated when multiple people share the same name. One code snippet can reveal the profession and location in the results, preventing the user from clicking on links that aren't relevant to their search. Notice the grey text underneath the link:
2. If you're searching for a restaurant you've never been to, you might be looking for reviews. With another code snippet, you can allow Google, if its algorithm so chooses, to display the number of reviews and a graphic (i.e. a 5 star display) showing the average of the reviews.
This is an example of the rich media snippet code given at the Searchology event today:
Because the rich snippets use open standards, other search engines and web tools can access the data. Additionally, websites who do not wish to have such data displayed in the search results can essentially "opt-out" by simply not having the code on their site.
If you're the owner of a G1 or other Android powered-device, you now have access to Google's new Sky Map. And it's, yes, a map of the stars in the sky. The app uses GPS to determine your location and serve up the map of stars you can view in your location.
You can hold up the phone to the sky and the map will show which stars are viewable in the direction in which the phone is held. You can move the device and the map will move.
Search for a constellation and a circle with an arrow will pop up and show you which direction to point your device. Move in that direction until you reach the constellation. The app will let you know when you're there.
It's hard to understand this fully without a good visual, so here's a video demo:
Expected to be launched in Google Labs by the end of the month, Google Squared could quite possibly be one of Google's significant achievements. Searching via Google Squared means searching for pure information.
In Google Squared, the results would show up in a spreadsheet format that can be edited and saved. The example they gave was the term "small dogs." Across the top are the names of data columns. The first column is breed, and rows of breeds stretch down the page. If a breed is missing, you can add the breed. If you'd like to add a column of data, that is possible as well.
Google Squared still needs a lot of improvement, which is why it's being released to Labs. It collects the information by looking for structures that seem to imply facts. The squares are built out based on high probability of facts.
There will be concerns over Google providing this data on its own by grabbing data and serving it up without sending searchers to the sites that provided the info.
Phew. That's a lot of new Google all in one day. What do you think of the Google News? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.