Google Search This week 01 May 10

This week there are number of new search enhancements:

Brand refinements in search results

Sometimes when searching for product information on Google, you may not know some of the brand names relevant to your particular search. For example, if you’re taking on a new river-rafting hobby, it’s quite likely you don’t have a clue about kayak manufacturers just yet. So, it easier for you to find the brands other people consider useful for popular product searches. So this week you can find a search refinement that calls out brand names related to your query in a single line above the rest of the results. Determined algorithmically, these highlighted brand names may help you find what you’re looking for faster, and make your research and shopping experience all the more enjoyable.

Example searches: [wedding dress], [digital camera] and [stroller]

Virtual keyboards in Google search

Typing a search query on a keyboard that is not designed for your language can be a challenging (if not impossible) process. To help overcome any difficulty you might face when using Google search in another language, starting this week you’ll see a small keyboard icon next to the search field on both the Google homepage and on the search results page when using Google in one of 35 foreign languages. Check out our announcement, which includes all of the languages currently supported.

Example keyboard search in Greek: [flowers]

“Similar” pages on results page

Here’s a new feature that makes it easier to discover the variety of choices available on the web. They offered the “Similar” link on search results for a while now as a way to find new websites similar to ones you already use and like, but it hasn’t been too visible. Now, for queries for sites similar to the first search result might be helpful, a small block of similar sites will appear at the bottom of the results page. Clicking on the “Pages similar to” link at the start of the block will take you to the full list of similar pages.


More example searches: [american lung association], [tobacco-free kids], [earthquake info center]

New Image Search for iPhone and Android devices

When searching for images on your mobile device, speed and quantity of the images are important parts of a good experience. A New redesigned Google Image Search for mobile, based on iPhone 3.0+ and Android 2.1 devices that makes it easier for you to see as many images as possible when searching on your mobile phone. Now, the thumbnails are square to maximize the number of images you see on the screen. In addition, you can swipe to see the next or previous page of results. And for when you want to see a larger version of an image, we’ve introduced a special image viewing page with black background that both emphasizes the image and includes fading buttons. We hope you enjoy!

Visit google.com on your iPhone or Android device and tap on “Images” for these examples: [mount rushmore] or [lady gaga]

Mobile Place Pages

We launched Place Pages last fall to help provide relevant and informative information about places on Google Maps. We’ve now optimized that same experience for Android-powered devices and iPhones in the U.S., so when you’re on the go, you’ll be able to quickly view location information, customer ratings, hours of operation and summarized restaurant reviews. You can also get full-screen, dynamic maps to quickly help you see where the restaurant is within the neighborhood you’re in.

Stay tuned for next week’s post on the latest releases, enhancements and news about search.

Google search: Integrating virtual keyboards in Google search in 35 languages

You’ve spilled coffee on your keyboard. The a, e, i, o, u, and r keys have stopped working. Now try to search Google for the nearest computer repair shop. The pain of typing on this broken keyboard is similar to what many people searching in non-English languages feel when trying to type today. Typing searches on keyboards not designed for your languages can be frustrating, even impossible.

Google user research has shown that many people are more comfortable formulating search queries in their own language but have difficulty typing these queries into Google. (Try typing नमस्ते on a keyboard with English letters.) To overcome the difficulty they face in typing in their local language scripts, some people have resorted to copying and pasting from other sites and from online translation tools. But there’s an easier way — a virtual, or “on-screen” keyboard, lets you type directly in your local language script in an easy and consistent manner, no matter where you are or what computer you’re using.

Virtual keyboards let people type directly in their local language script and don’t require any additional software.


Last year, to make text input easy for people across the globe, Google introduced a virtual keyboard API through code.google.com. This allowed developers to enable virtual keyboards on any text field or text area in their webpages. Today, we are taking this effort one step further by integrating virtual keyboards into Google search in 35 languages.

A virtual keyboard on www.google.am to input Armenian text (the query term is [armenia])


If you use Google search in one of the languages listed below, you’ll see a small keyboard icon show up next to the search field, on both the Google homepage and search results page. Clicking on that keyboard icon brings up a virtual keyboard in your language. You can input text by either clicking on the on-screen keyboard or pressing the corresponding key.

You can find out more information on how to use the virtual keyboard in our help article. If you use Google in a language not listed below and feel that your language will benefit from a virtual keyboard, let us know by voting for your language. We hope virtual keyboards help you find information more easily — especially those of you who speak/type/read in non-Latin scripts.

Languages with integrated virtual keyboards
Albanian
Arabic
Armenian
Basque
Belarusian
Bosnian
Bulgarian
Catalan
Croatian
Czech
Finnish
Galician
Georgian
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Kazakh
Kirghiz
Macedonian
Malayalam
Mongolian
Persian
Polish
Russian
Serbian
Slovak
Slovenian
Swedish
Tatar
Thai
Turkish
Ukrainian
Uzbek

Posted by Manish Bhargava

Google search Similar Pages in your search

Its time for New features in Google Search.

Google constantly improves its search algorithms, but not many people notice the changes. Last year, Google has updated the feature that finds similar web pages: it now returns up to 200 pages and the results are much better.


Even if Google shows a link to this feature next to each Google result, few people click on “similar” to find related web pages. That’s probably the reason why Google decided to show at the bottom of the search results page an OneBox with pages that are related to the top result, but only if the pages are likely to be helpful and only for navigational queries.

“Since we’ve been continuously improving this feature and we think it’s really useful, we’re now going to start showing these alternative sites more prominently,” explains Google.



The feature is only available in the US and it’s an alternate way to show a list of related searches. Instead of showing similar searches, Google displays a list of pages that are similar to the top result.

If you’re wondering how Google manages to find related pages, read this article.

Google Search Now includes specific TV show episodes

Search for specific TV show episodes
As more and more full-length content is going online,Google are making it easier to find the content you want by providing a more structured experience when you search for TV shows. This week, Google launched a way to search for specific TV show episodes as part of this effort. Now, when you search for your favorite TV show in Google Videos, check the lefthand toolbar for “Episodes”. By clicking on the links in the Search Options panel, you can browse by season to see all episodes, and drill down to see all sources for a specific episode.


Example searches: [desperate housewives] and [the simpsons]

Image support for RSS gadgets

For many of you who use iGoogle as your homepage, RSS feeds are a great way to get the latest news content, blog updates, recipes and celebrity gossip. And because pictures enhance the online experience, this week we added image support to our iGoogle feed gadgets for people in the U.S. Google now support “Slideshow view” as well as “Headline and lead story view.” You should notice the change now on your iGoogle page, and you will be able to edit the display setting of each feed by choosing “Edit settings” in the dropdown menu for your feeds.

Slideshow view


Headline and lead story view

Example feeds: [CNN], [the economist], [entertainment weekly], [national geographic]

Google Places

Also this week we announced that the Local Business Center is becoming Google Places. With one out of five searches on Google related to location, we wanted to better connect Place Pages (which launched last September for more than 50 million places globally) to a tool that enables businesses to manage their Google presence. With this change, business owners will benefit from several new ways to expand their online presence, while making it easier for you to make better decisions about local shopping. From real-time coupon updates to interior photos of businesses on place pages, these ongoing enhancements will make local search all the more useful to you. The launch of Google Places is just the beginning of Google becoming more local. If you’re a business owner and want to learn more, check out google.com/places.

Example place page: [mission mountain winery]

Hope you enjoy this week’s features. Stay tuned for what’s next!

Posted by Marissa Mayer, VP Search Products & User Experience

Problems with Language Keyboards Now Use Virtual Keyboard for Google Search

Google started to show a virtual keyboard next to the search box if you use Google search’s interface in a non-Latin language like Arabic, Russian or Greek.

“Our virtual keyboard allows you to enter the precise search terms you want, regardless of the language keys on your physical keyboard. It can be helpful for people who use one of the many non-Latin script-based languages that require special characters,” explains Google.

Here’s an example of virtual keyboard for Mongolian:



The nice thing about Google’s virtual keyboard is that, after clicking on the keyboard icon next to the search box, you can use the keys from the virtual keyboard or you can use your keyboard. “The corresponding key on the virtual keyboard will be typed in the search box rather than the character shown on your physical keyboard.”

An incomplete list of Google domains that show the virtual keyboard: Google Greece, Google Finland, Google Sweden, Google Iceland, Google Poland, Google Russia, Google Ukraine, Google Saudi Arabia, Google Thailand, Google Mongolia, Google India and others.

Google has a lot of useful services for non-Latin languages: Google Transliteration, Google Transliteration IME, Google Pinyin IME, a tool for adding missing diacritics to Arabic text, Google Translate.

{ Thanks, Kherlen and Zorgloob. }

Google : The art of search results

We’re always honored and often surprised by the many ways people can be inspired by Google. Take for example artist Ken Solomon, who has done a series of watercolors of Google Image Search results, like this one:

Ken’s “Google Portrait – Warhol 2”

Just as societies preserve important documents and works of art, archivists and historians are now developing ways to preserve digital ephemera, from tweets to book drafts, as part our cultural and global history. On a small scale, Ken is doing just that, and we’re intrigued by his creative method of preserving moments in time. We may not have majored in art history, but we like the “meta” quality of Ken’s paintings of search results for pop artists. From Brillo pad boxes to Google in under 25 moves…?

You can see more of Ken’s work on his website. And if you live in New York, Ken is exhibiting these pieces in a one-man show at the Josée Bienvenu Gallery until May 15.

Posted by Emily Wood, Google Blog & Twitter team

What’s New in Google Search This week 4/16/10

Rich Snippets for recipes

Rich Snippets are the brief annotations you see beneath search results that summarize what’s on a webpage. In addition to Rich Snippets for reviews, people, video and events, this week we unveiled a new Rich Snippets format for recipes. This means that when your search results include sites with recipe content, you might see quick facts pertaining to the recipe in your search results, like preparation or cooking times, right on the search results page.

If you have a site with recipes and want to be sure Rich Snippets show up in search results for your page, check out our documentation on how to mark up recipe information as well as our general help articles on Rich Snippets. Bon appétit!

Example search: [baked ziti]

Enhancements to real-time search

This week, we launched a new feature in real-time search that gives you the ability to search and replay the public archive of tweets on Twitter. While real-time search usually focuses on what’s happening now, our new feature is helpful for viewing the history of what happened in the past and how people reacted to a particular topic on Twitter. You can zoom into any point in time — from a year, to a month, to a half-hour — and “replay” tweets from as far back as February 11, 2010 (and soon, as far back as the very first tweet on March 21, 2006). To try this feature out, click “Show options” on the search results page, and then select “Updates.” You’ll notice a new chart at the top of the page, where you’ll be able to adjust the time range of the tweets you’d like to see. We hope you enjoy your trip down the 140-character memory lane.
Example search: [museum of modern art]

Oftentimes, there’s great new content published to the web that everyone is talking about at one particular time. So, to help you find those sites, we also recently launched the top links for a set of update results, showcasing some of the top URLs that Twitter users are talking about based on a particular query. To view these links, click “Show options” on the search results page, and then select “Updates.” You’ll see a list of links on the right-hand side based on your query.

Example search: [ipad]

Google Suggest and spell correction enhancements

We’ve recently made some enhancements that make it easier and faster for you to get the most relevant answer using Google search. We’ve begun to tailor Suggest to U.S. metro areas, so you’ll find that the suggested queries are more locally relevant than they used to be. Try searching for [parks in], and you’ll most likely see suggested search queries for parks that really are in your neck of the woods.

In addition, we’ve improved our spelling correction feature. Sometimes, when you search for something that we’re highly confident you’ve misspelled, we’ll take you directly to the search results page for the correct spelling without asking “Did you mean…?” This week, we made this feature available in 31 languages across over 180 domains across the globe. We’ve also made some changes to how this feature deals with misspelled names. We realized that often when you search for a person’s name, you include descriptive words (say, the person’s profession or company) that can provide valuable context. We use these extra descriptors to offer you better suggestions, so you should soon find this feature for names more useful.

Example search: [jordin farmer lakers]

Stay tuned for more updates next week.

Posted by Gabriel Stricker, Director, Global Communications & Public Affairs

Google Search Now search with fewer keystrokes and get better spelling

Today Google announcing three enhancements to help you input your searches more quickly and easily: more localized Google Suggest, improved spell correction for names and auto-correction for 31 languages.

Feel at home with Google Suggest
Last year we launched localized Google Suggest by country, offering relevant popular search queries tailored for different regions. However, just as people in the U.K. often look for different things than people in U.S., we’ve found that people in Seattle tend to look for different things than people in Dallas. So last week, we rolled out a version of Google Suggest that is tailored to specific metro areas in the U.S. You may notice that the list of queries beneath the search box will seem more locally relevant than it used to:

  • In San Francisco [bart] is probably not Bart Simpson; it’s probably Bay Area Rapid Transit:

  • In Chicago it’s easy to find out about your local NBA team:


Spelling enhancements for names
While Suggest can help you find good queries, sometimes you can get stuck because of misspellings. That’s why for years we’ve offered corrected spellings for mistyped searches (with the “Did you mean” link). We’ve steadily improved this spelling technology over time, but recently we made some big strides in correcting misspelled names.

People often search for people’s names — and not just celebrities and old friends. They look for doctors, horse trainers, hang-gliding instructors… the searches are just as diverse as the personalities in your hometown. We’ve noticed that people sometimes struggle to correctly spell names, and it’s not surprising. Names can be complicated and often there are multiple common spellings.

Our new technology is based on the concept that people often know something else about the person besides the approximate spelling of his name. People often include other terms such as “composer” or “lawyer sparta wisconsin” in their search query, which provides valuable context to help us narrow the range of possibilities for the spelling correction. We use these additional descriptive words to offer you better suggestions. Some examples: [matthew devin oracle], [yuri lehner stanford], [simon tung machine learning]. With these improvements you’ll start seeing more useful spell corrections for names.

For now this enhancement is available in our English spelling system in the U.S. We’ll be rolling out the change to other parts of the world and other languages in the coming months.

Spelling auto-correction in 31 languages
Another improvement we made recently to the spelling system is auto-correction. If you search for [aiprt], rather than showing you a link on your results page that says “Did you mean: airport” we’ll take you straight to the results for the corrected search. We auto-correct when we’re highly confident in our correction in order to get you the information you’re looking for that much faster. In the past week we’ve expanded auto-correction to 31 languages across over 180 domains, with more to come.

Did you make a typo while looking for [chocolate strawberries and cream] in Italian? The right word is so close you can taste it:


While saving you that unnecessary click, we make search that much faster.

Posted by Pandu Nayak, Member of Technical Staff

The 2010 tax season story, as told by Google search

Today, April 15, is the due date for federal tax returns in the U.S. Now that everyone’s submitted their taxes in on time (we hope!) we wanted to take a look back at the last few months and tell the story of this year’s tax season through Google search.

Spoiler alert — we’re starting our tax season search story at the end. As the filing deadline has approached over the last few days and weeks, we’ve seen a flurry of search interest about taxes and tax related topics. Compared to search volume from the final week of the 2009 tax season, we’ve seen significant increases in searches for terms like [file taxes] and [tax filing extension]. As of late last week, searches for [file taxes] had increased by 16% from last year. This spike in search interest leading up to April 15 prolongs a pattern of search trends that we’ve seen for the last several years; from 2006 to 2009, searches for [file taxes] rose an average of more than 51% between April 8 and April 15.


Perhaps less expected than this final peak is the sizable spike in search volume that we see several months before April 15, around the time that W-2 forms become available. This occurs in early February and, as you can see below, there’s a noticeable increase in searches such as [get W2 form] that are related to the beginning of the tax-filing.

In general, tax season search trends look pretty similar each year, but if we dive deeper, there are lots of mini-trends to explore, often triggered by unforeseen and/or unique world events. For example, we saw a flurry of search interest following the passage of the healthcare reform bill in March. The sharp increase in searches for terms like [taxes healthcare] and [healthcare tax increase] likely reflected curiosity about the implications of the new law on tax filings.

We saw a similar trend following the tragic earthquake in Haiti. The outpouring of support for victims in Haiti generated increased interest in the details of charitable donations as they related to taxes; searches queries like [haiti donation tax] were noticeably high in January.

Unfortunately, the implications of heightened unemployment levels were also top of mind this year, and we saw an interest in the effects of joblessness on tax payments and tax filing. Queries like [unemployed taxes] and [unemployment tax refund] were noticeably elevated compared to 2009 search volume, in particular around the season’s first spike.


Hopefully, we’ve shed some light on what your fellow taxpayers were interested in over the course of tax season and, via search trends, provided a sense of the different types of events that might affect taxes and tax filing. Until next year!

Posted by Jon Kaplan, Director, Financial Services

Now Enjoy Make your own Search Story video in minutes

Making videos out of Google searches isn’t exactly elaborate Hollywood film-making, but to help everyone get in on the fun, we’ve made a really simple video creation tool, which you can try today.

All you need to do is type in your Google searches, pick some music and — presto! — you’ve got your very own Search Story to share with your friends or showcase on our YouTube channel.

And who knows, if people really like your Search Story, it may end up in a place you never dreamed.