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by Lucy Griffiths on 13th May 2009
Once again the Searchology forum has provided Google with an opportunity to show off their latest search engine developments. And once again, they haven’t disappointed.
This year, four key announcements were made regarding improved search functionality; which, Google will be hoping, should ward off perennial rivals Yahoo and MSN, along with potential newcomers Wolfram Alpha (when it’s eventually released) and Twitter, following the major overhaul of Twitter Search.
During the Searchology announcement, made chiefly by Google’s VP of Search Product and User Experience Marissa Mayer, a number of improved search functions were revealed that should push search engine usability to a whole new level.
The first improvement is one that you can use right now, with the inclusion of Search Options. These additional search criteria allow you to view results in an entirely new way. Sites can now be listed in a number of different views, with varying information on screen and even in chronological order. So rather than simply getting your standard page of highly optimised searches, you may prefer to see related reviews or forums, achieving a more quality-based user-friendly search result.
There are plenty of new gadgets to play around with too, as indicated in the various images. You can access archived information through the convenient Timeline option and marvel at the Wonder Wheel, which charts related searches and companies in an eye-catching graphic.
The next big announcement, particularly where Webmasters are concerned, was with regards to Google’s Rich Snippets search component. Google provide a very detailed article introducing Rich Snippets on their Webmasters blog; but to give a brief overview, this innovation will essentially allow embedded site information and data to form part of the search result. Useful details such as product rankings will be able to form a part of the smart search option; giving users the chance to view a much improved set of results and Webmasters the opportunity to further optimise sections of their sites.
Another innovation came in the form of Google SkyMap. Which, as the name suggests, will allow users to identify the stars they’re currently looking at whilst also guiding mobile devices towards the right coordinates for viewing a selected star or constellation? This one could have far more useful future functions in the future, due to the intelligent GPS technology it uses, but at the moment it’s just a quirky way of enjoying your stargazing a little more.
Last, but by no means least, there’s Google Squared. Still in development, this application will add a whole new intelligent element to the standard search. It effectively works by analysing your search and grouping together related entities and providing statistical data for each. For example, ‘Sports Cars’ might well return a Ferrari, Aston Martin and a Lamborghini; it would then tell you things like weight, engine sizes and costs. You can then add further squares, just as you might with a spreadsheet to accommodate other related searches and categories, in this case possibly Porsche and MPG might be an example of either.
This search technology will undoubtedly provide new challenges for Search Marketers and Webmasters everywhere. However, it should ensure that algorithmically-based searches keep developing and providing Internet users with the best service possible. It’s now down to the competition to react and show their own trump card so as not to let Google walk away with complete search engine supremacy.