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by James Perrin on 15th June 2011
Speaking at Google’s Inside Search event, Google fellow and search scientist Amit Singhal presented some new key search features designed to improve search efficiency and accuracy for many of its users.
Mobile shortcuts, instant pages, picture location and voice search are all features which are set to make searching for things that little bit quicker and easier, or so they say.
Mobile and Tablet Updates
First of all, according to TechCrunch Google have launched a new landing page with new homepage shortcuts for their mobile search engines. These simple shortcuts include restaurants, coffee shops, bars and much more. This should make it easier for people to find amenities in their immediate area, regardless of where they may be. Essentially it’s an automated and efficient form of local search for mobile users.
The idea for these shortcuts is to improve local search, so that you hit a one of them with the aim to see for example, all local restaurants in your surrounding area. Singhal has revealed that tablet users are also going to get an updated interface, which includes a larger image search to take advantage of tablet’s larger screen size and the facilitation of an infinite scroll for picture searches.
According to sources, the next big announcement relates to Google’s new Instant Pages, a feature that predicts which website a user will choose from its SERP and begin collecting this data before the user actually clicks on the link. Instant Pages will only be available to start with on Google Chrome in Beta format.
Not to be confused with Google Instant, Instant Pages has evolved if you like from this original idea. Picture the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button; well this is an instant form of this feature that is set to reduce search time by three to five seconds according to Singhal.
Speaking about Instant Pages, Amit Singhal said, “Instant Pages is the next big leap for Google. It will break down big barriers in users’ quest for information. At the end of the day our job is to get the information and knowledge people need in a blink of an eye.”
Following on, Google further revealed a picture location feature that enables users to find out as much information about the picture as possible. So that’s things like the location of the shot, the landmark or the landscape within the picture.
Users can simply drag and drop a picture straight into the search field, or they can upload a picture from their desktop or even copy the image’s URL and paste this into the search box. This could be anything like a holiday snap, or something that you have come across whilst searching. It was stressed though that no facial recognition technology would be used, something that has come under huge criticism since Facebook’s use of the technology [See: Is Facebook's Facial Recognition an Invasion of Privacy Too Far?]
Following on from the success of voice search on android, Google have launched voice search for the desktop. To initiate a search, the user must click on the microphone button which appears besides the search engine box.
Again this feature will be available to Google Chrome users and also Firefox users later this week. To start with it will only be available in English, with other languages being added later.
Amit Singhal expressed Google’s desire to help speed up the process of search for its users, “We’re obsessed with speed. We call speed the killer app. None of us have enough time, and last year’s Google Instant was one of the biggest improvements we’ve made in getting information to users quicker.”
So, there you have the new search features for Google across multiple platforms. Which features will work and which won’t? And ultimately, do you think they will actually help speed up search findings, or slow them down? Have your say below.