Big Google Changes to Search, Navigation, Homepage, Ranking
Google has a new vision for how best to organize the world's information and
make it even more accessible, at Google.com: Universal Search debuts today,
announced by Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user
Google's vision for universal search is to ultimately search across all its
content sources, compare and rank all the information in real time, and deliver
a single, integrated set of search results that offers users precisely what they
are looking for. Beginning today, the company will incorporate information from
a variety of previously separate sources – including videos, images, news, maps,
books, and websites – into a single set of results. At first, universal search
results may be subtle. Over time users will recognize additional types of
content integrated into their search results as the company advances toward
delivering a truly comprehensive search experience.
How it works from the users' perspective:
A user searching for information on the Star Wars character Darth Vader is
likely interested in all the information related to the character and the actor
– not just web pages that mention the movie. Google will now deliver a single
set of blended search results that include a humorous parody of the movie,
images of the Darth Vader character, news reports on the latest Lucas film, as
well as websites focused on the actor James Earl Jones – all ranked in order of
relevance to the query. Users no longer have to visit several different Google
search properties to find such a wide array of information on the topic.
To accomodate the change in SERPs, Google is "deploying a new technical
infrastructure that will enable the search engine to handle the computationally
intensive tasks required to produce universal search results."
Google is also releasing the first stage of an "upgraded ranking mechanism
that automatically and objectively compares different types of information."
That is not all, however, Google has much more in store:
New Navigation & Homepage Features
New dynamically generated navigation links have been added above the search
results to suggest additional information that is relevant to a user's query.
For example, a search for "python" will now generate links to Google Blog
Search™, Google Book Search™, Google Groups™, and Google Code™, to let the user
know there is additional information on his or her query in each of those areas.
As a result, users can find a wider array of information on their topic,
including data types they might not have initially considered.
Google's homepage and a number of applications have also been updated with a
new navigation bar to provide easier access to popular Google products. Now,
instead of having links above the Google.com homepage search box, users will see
a navigation bar on the top left side of the page with various Google search
properties and popular products including Gmail™, Google Calendar™, Google Docs
& Spreadsheets™, and Picasa Web Albums™.
New Experimental Search Service
Google Experimental™ is available on Google Labs™. This new test site provides
users an opportunity to try out some of the latest search experiments and
innovations and provide Google with feedback. One of the first experiments to be
featured on the site enables users to view their search results on a map or
timeline. For instance, when someone searches for "Albert Einstein" on Google
Experimental, they can choose to view the search results on a map that shows
locations mentioned within web pages about Albert Einstein or on a timeline that
illustrates the history of Albert Einstein's life.
Donna Bogatin (ZDNet News)