Google is constantly testing new features and making updates to its search product. Sometimes, the changes spotted are in beta, while others are confirmed new features. We’ve rounded up some recent changes that have been spotted across the Web that you just may have missed.
1. Date Selector in Hotel Carousel Results
The query [hotels in New York] brought up results for some people that included date selectors for the hotels featured in the local carousel results.
In a statement to Search Engine Land, Google said:
We’re always adding features to search to help people find what they need and get things done faster — you can now more easily research hotels when planning a trip and filter by user ratings and hotel class, as well as select specific dates.
2. Cards for Local Results
Looks like Google is testing “answer” cards in the local search results that bring up details like the address of the merchant. Mike Blumenthal at Blumenthals.com showed an example of this for a brand name + location search (“Dress Barn locations Amherst”):
However, if there was multiple results for a query, the results came in pack form:
Blumenthal also pointed out when the cards showed some odd inconsistencies.
3. Answers to Complex Questions
Speaking of answer cards, the folks over at the Google Operating System blog had some fun trying to stump Google’s answer feature from the Knowledge Graph.
From the blog:
Google used to only answer simple questions like “who’s the prime minister of Canada?” or “what’s the population of China?”. Thanks to the Knowledge Graph project, Google can answer more complicated questions like “who played Batman?”, “what’s the latest album of Celine Dion?”, “what are the main attractions in Spain?”.
To test this feature out, the first query was one the author knew there wasn’t a definitive answer to: “distance to the Mars”.
Here’s another good one: “why is the sky blue?”
4. Enhanced Stock Cards
The Google Operating System blog also noticed Google testing new enlarged stock report cards in the results, and “tabs are placed above the chart and you can get the stock price at any time by mousing over the chart or tapping it,” the blog reported.
Also of note: links to Google Finance and competitor sites Yahoo Finance and MSN Money are removed in the above card, though we were unable to recreate this.
5. Distance Results
Google announced on Google+ that mobile users now have the ability to get results for the distance between any two locations – no matter how far they are from one another. The example Google gave was the “distance between Siberia and Hawaii.”
6. Streamlined Search Options
The Google Operating System blog reported search options were showing differently:
Google removed a few specialized search options that were usually displayed in the “more” drop-down: recipes, patents, discussions, blogs, places. The list of links to services like Maps, Images, News, Flights, Shopping is reordered based on your query. This isn’t a new idea, it was implemented a long time ago by Google, but now it’s used more often.