“Our new interface begins rolling out today globally across 37 languages.” – Google executive Marissa Mayer
AP, Local Tech Wire
(Nasdaq: GOOG) is fine-tuning the way it presents its Internet search results to make it easier for people to find information and images they want.
The new tools being introduced are accompanied by a touched-up Google logo featuring slightly brighter hues of red, blue, green and yellow.
“Using Google today, you may have noticed that something feels slightly different — the look and feel of our search results have changed!” wrote Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of products and user experience at Google,
“Today’s metamorphosis responds to the increasing richness of the web and the increasing power of search — revealing search tools on the left and updating the visual look and feel throughout,” she added. “While we are constantly rolling out small changes and updates, today’s changes showcase the latest evolutions in our search technology, making it easier than ever to find exactly what you’re looking for.”
Google’s most noticeable changes occur to the left of its search results. That area offers more tools for reshuffling search results into specific categories, such as news, images, blogs and video.
The new alternatives also open more doors to other possible topics of interests.
The changes are part of the incessant tinkering that Google does to maintain its commanding lead in the Internet’s lucrative search market. The company says it made about 550 revisions to its search engine last year alone, mostly tweaks to its closely guarded formulas for deciding which results and ads to after processing a search request.
Google Inc. has been gradually offering more ways to slice and dice its results during the past two years. The latest changes are designed to encourage people to whittle Google’s results more frequently.
Highlights from Google’s blog: What’s new and what’s changed?
“We’ve added contextually relevant, left-hand navigation to the page. This new side panel highlights the most relevant search tools and refinements for your query. Over the past three years, we’ve launched Universal Search, the Search Options panel and Google Squared, and it’s those three technologies that power the left-hand panel.
“Universal Search helps you find the most relevant types of results for your search. The top section of the new left-hand panel builds on Universal Search by suggesting the most relevant genres of results for your query and letting you seamlessly switch to these different types of results. The “Everything” option remains our essential search experience with different types of results integrated into the main results, but now you can also easily switch to just the particular type of results you are looking for.
“Our expandable Search Options panel launched last spring brought many rich slice-and-dice tools to search. The new left-hand navigation showcases these tools and enables you to get a different view of your results. Perhaps you’d like to see images from each of the results or just the newest information? These options are all on the left, and our technology will suggest the tools that are most relevant and helpful to your query.
“Google Squared (available on Google Labs) helps you find and compare entities. Our “Something different” feature builds on the technology in Google Squared to find other entities that are related to your query, so you can easily explore not only the results for your current query but other related topics.
“In addition to the left-hand side changes, we’ve updated our look and feel in terms of our color palette and our logo. These changes are slight, keeping our page minimalist and whimsical, but make our overall look more modern.”
A closer look
Here’s an example of how the new system might work: A search request about a scientific theory might cause the left side of Google’s results page to provide links suggesting an exclusive focus on images or information pulled from books or videos. The categories appearing on the left side of the page would be different for a search request about a sports event. Those might point to blogs and news instead.
And search requests for merchandise are more likely to trigger an option that would allow the user to click on a link on the left side of the page to include more or fewer search results.
Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp., the owners of the second- and third-most popular search engines, already offered control panels that can carve search results into servings that suit individual tastes.
Google began sharpening its new tools in tests dating back to 2006, according to Johanna Wright, a director of product management for Google.
"We have just been waiting for our technology to be ready for something like this," she said.
Microsoft unveiled its Bing search engine 11 months ago in its latest attempt to pose a tougher challenge to Google. Bing’s share of the U.S. search market has climbed from 8 percent to nearly 12 percent since its debut, but those gains have mostly been at Yahoo’s expense. Google’s share has been hovering at about 65 percent for the past year, according to comScore Inc.
Also as part of Google’s tweaks, the Google logo will lose the "TM" that signals Google is a trademark. Removing that symbol, though, doesn’t mean Google is surrendering its legal claims on one of the world’s most valuable brands.
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