Google’s Searchology Unveils Lots Of New Stuff

By Nathan Weinberg

Google held today an event in Mountain View they called “Searchology” where they unveiled lots of new stuff, certain to cause a lot of excitement on the internet. I’m still digesting it, will update this post several times before it’s done.

Keep in mind that last year Google held this event as their Press Day, and it gave us Google Trends, Google Co-Op, Google Desktop 4, Google Notebook. In 2005 they called it the Factory Tour and launched the Google Personalized Homepage (now iGoogle). In other words, everything’s going to sound good, some of it will be huge in the long run, some of it will be useless looking back next year.

Mike Arrington has a liveblog of the day’s events. He shows an eye-tracking study Google did, showing how searchers focus on an “F”-shaped pattern over the top four results.

Udi Manber, who was CEO of Amazon’s A9 search engine, showed off something new: an auto-translating search engine. The engine, set to launch soon, will let you type in a query in your language but search in other languages.

For example, if you want to search for info on the Koran, since you know a lot of that info will be in Arabic, you tell the cross-translating Google to search in Arabic, too. You type your query in English, Google will search the English index, then translate your query into Arabic, search the Arabic index, translate the Arabic results into English, and give you a page of results, in English, containing results from both languages. Brilliant!

Marissa Mayer also announced Universal Search. Google will be combining a number of its different search engines (books, local, images, news, video and web search) into its regular search results. They’ve already started doing it with News and Local search, and are now calling it Universal Search and plan to take it much further, in order to bring this information closer to searchers.

Google is also integrating more video sites into Google Video, including Metacafe and five or six others. Great! Now Google Video can be a great search engine, and YouTube a great video site. Do what you do best.

Google also announced the Google Universal Navigation Bar, the bar we’ve seen atop some UI tests, which will now be official on all Google properties. It has main links to the top Google properties relevant to where you are (in web search, other searches, in Gmail, things like Calendar) and a VERY long drop-down with everything else.

Finally: Google Experimental, a one-stop shop for features Google is testing for its search engine. You can try out the newest Google prototypes, and supposedly add them to your regular Google search (although I don’t see a button for that now). Right now it has four experiments:

Timeline of search results, arranging them by “when”. I have needed this so badly! Test query.

Keyboard shortcuts, letting you select results and do other things without touching the mouse. Test query.

Left handed search navigation, adds a sidebar with related queries and contextually chosen other search engines. Test query.

Right hand contextual navigation, same as the previous one, but much smaller and with fewer links, on the right side. Test query.

Very cool, everything. Unlike last year, we’re seeing stuff that’s for the most part useful, and some of which is just great.

Search Engine Land has a number of articles drilling into all the new features.

May 16, 2007 by Nathan Weinberg in:

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