Google is long, long overdue to provide query refinement tools that other search engines have had for ages. You know, like if you search for cars on Yahoo, it will come back and say at the top of the page:
Or over at Ask Jeeves, a search for cars brings up a list of "Related Searches" on the right-hand side of the screen.
This type of feature is great for searchers who begin too broadly with their query. Google's beta tested refinement links like this in the past against a small random sample of searchers. But now the new Google Suggest feature finally lets anyone use it.
There's a twist Google Suggest from what Google's experimented with before. Rather than show you suggestions AFTER you search, Google starts popping up suggestions within the search box while you type, before you search.
It's different, and I don't really know if I like it yet. I wish I could get the traditional "do the search, we'll show you the most popular related searches as links" style of refinement in addition or instead of this.
Tara Calishain, where I picked up the news of the new feature from, also finds it a bit distracting and wants more as well: Google Has A New One for the Labs -- Google Suggest.
Gary points out that AOL's Pinpoint Shopping has a similar feature that when you type "drops down" suggestions as you type but before you search. I checked it out, and it's a nice implementation.
Want to learn more? Be sure to check out the Google Suggest FAQ.