Despite progress being made by Microsoft’s Bing—which is now starting to handle queries for Yahoo—Google is showing few signs of sitting on its laurels in the Internet search arena: the company has recently confirmed it is testing dynamic search results pages that change their content on the fly as users type and refine their queries. And the company is continuing its acquisition spree, pulling visual search engine Like.com into the fold for an undisclosed amount.
A Google spokesperson has described dynamic search results pages as one of many “experiments” with search interface the company might be running at any given time: SEO consultant Rob Ousbrey is generally credited with being the first to document the occasionally-sighted feature. The dynamic search results page changes as users type, enabling them to refine their queries on the fly without the hassle of executing several searches. The idea is to let users get to the information they want faster: search engines have long offered query suggestions and refinements as sidebar links or as drop-downs from their search boxes; dynamic queries would take that one step further if rolled out as a standard feature. However, one downside to dynamic queries might be responsiveness: folks on high-latency or low-bandwidth connections might find the feature’s attempts to constantly fetch new results make Google sluggish and difficult to use.
On a related note, Google has acquired Like.com, which has focused on developing visual search technology focused on ecommerce of so-called “soft goods” like fashion, shoes, clothing, and accessories. “We’ve developed technology that lets us understand visually what terms like “red high-heeled pumps” and “floral patterned sleeveless dress” mean and created algorithms to understand whether those pumps complement or clash with that dress,” Like.com writes on its Web site. “We see joining Google as a way to supersize our vision and supercharge our passion.” Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed; Google apparently plans to integrate Like.com into its own commerce efforts, like Google Product Search.