Search’s Up, Dude: Google Shows Off New Tools

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At its second annual “Searchology” event at its Mountain View California headquarters, search engine giant Google showed off new tools and capabilities it hopes will augment its almost universally-used Internet search feature, enabling users to get the information they want more quickly, whether that’s fast facts, the latest information, or producing automated search reports.

First up, Google unveiled Search Options, a new feature that’s available immediately on the main Google search engine that enables users to quickly categorize search results by format (for instance, forum postings, videos, or product reviews) as well as by date. Search Options also provides ways of viewing search results separate from Google’s famous “list of links,” including a timeline view and a Flash-based “wonder wheel” that shows queries and terms related to a current search.

Google is also making an effort to make the “snippets”—the little bits of text and information appearing below a search hit—more relevant. Google’s new “ruch snippets” aim to extract and display more useful information than a standard preview. For instance, a snippet of a restaurant review might include a star rating and information about its pricing. Rich snippets are enabled by publishers including easily parseable information in their HTML markup that Google can find and extract; expect gaming rich snippets to become another little pocket industry associated with Google, much like so-called “Search Engine Optimization.”

Google also showed off a new tool called Google Squared, due to debut later this month via Google Labs. Instead of presenting links to Web pages and other resources, Google Squared tries to present facts and information about a query from all over the Internet in spreadsheet format: instead of presenting links, Google Squared presents the data without forcing users to click through.

All told, it’s good to see Google trying to innovate its core search product; by emphasizing so-called “real-time” searches, Google is hoping to make its search more relevant to mobile and constantly-connected individuals who are looking for the most-recent information or postings…and it’s no surprise, since those folks represent some of Google’s most ardent users.

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