The official Google Search blog
The evolution of search in six minutes
November 28, 2011
This summer we posted a video that takes a peek
under the hood of search
, sharing the methodology behind search ranking and evaluation. Through this methodology, we make roughly 500 improvements to search in a typical year. As we often discuss, that’s
a lot of change
, and it can be hard to make sense of it all.
Following up on our last video, we wanted to share with you a short history of the evolution of search, highlighting some of the most important milestones from the past decade—and a taste of what’s coming next.
Our goal is to get you to the answer you’re looking for faster and faster, creating a nearly seamless connection between your questions and the information you seek. That means you don’t generally need to know about the latest search feature in order to take advantage of it— simply type into the box as usual and find the answers you’re looking for.
However, for those of you looking to deepen your understanding of how search has evolved, the video highlights some important trends:
With Universal Search—which returns results like images, videos, and news, in addition to webpages—we’re helping you find all different kinds of information in the same place. We’ve continued to make search more comprehensive, enabling you to find products, places, patents, books, maps and more.
Today on Google you’ll find more than just a list of links to websites. You’ll find Quick Answers at the top of the page for a wide variety of topics, including flight times, sports scores, weather and dozens more. As our technology gets better, we’re beginning to answer
for you, right on the search results page.
The Future of Search:
We’ve also been focused on developing faster ways to search and save time, whether we’re shaving seconds off searches with
or helping you search from your phone with
. Searching should be as easy as thinking, and the future looks bright!
As part of making the video we also created a timeline of search features. It’s
not the first timeline
we’ve done, but I think this one does a nice job of categorizing the different kinds of Universal Results and Quick Answers we’ve added over the years:
The timeline depicts the approximate dates when we launched particular search feature enhancements. You can also download a larger image by following this
It’s been exciting to be part of the evolution of search over the past decade, and we’re thrilled about what’s in store next. If the past is any indication, we don’t know what search will look like in 2020, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it looks nothing like it does today.
Posted by Ben Gomes, Google Fellow
The “Pride of Australia” and his search story
November 23, 2011
In February 2011, Queensland, Australia was hit by Cyclone Yasi whose resulting floods devastated many towns and submerged roads and homes. With streets and landmarks under water, Queensland helicopter pilot Mark Kempton and his team faced the gloomy prospect of being unable to identify and rescue stranded Aussies. Armed with his mobile phone, Mark turned to Google Maps to navigate the area and locate people in distress. He and his team worked around the clock throughout the crisis and rescued 43 people from rooftops and treetops in the town of Grantham.
At Google, we’re constantly inspired by our users and honored that our products can play a small part in helping them achieve the extraordinary. Yesterday, Mark Kempton was recognised with the 2011
Pride of Australia
Award for Heroism. Congratulations, Mark!
Here is Mark’s search story:
Posted by Lucinda Barlow, Head of Marketing, Google Australia and New Zealand
Some thoughts on personalization
November 23, 2011
about personalization in search, but I wanted to take the time to lay out our broader philosophy. First, it’s important to understand what personalization is, and what it isn’t. It isn’t, for example, the entire context of the search: the way pages link to one another, the words on documents on the web, the language of the query, etc. Context is so foundational in search today that without it, search results would be almost meaningless.
Personalization is a narrow class of context. It’s the context of you, the searcher, including your interests and your network of contacts. This special kind of context has a subtle, but important, impact on search results. Personalization is understanding who you are to give you the best answers, and is definitely not about making search results look like your reflection in a mirror.
Context in search
Before I delve into what personalization is really all about, it’s important to understand the value of “context” in search. Think about how you communicate with other people in your daily life, even strangers. For example, if you're standing at a bus stop and you ask, “Excuse me, when is the next one?” -- there are certain things you expect in response. You expect a response in English, and you expect information about this particular bus route. You also expect that if you ask a follow-up question like, “How much is the fare?” -- the answer will be about the bus. You can expect all those things because the person you’re talking to knows the context of the conversation.
If a search engine doesn’t understand context, results become very strange very quickly. Imagine the bus stop scenario without any understanding of context:
You: “Excuse me, when is the next one?”
Search results: “The next NFL football game will be on 11/20 between the Bills and the Dolphins”
You: “How much is the fare?”
Search results: “Taxis in New York City start at $2.50.”
Context is subtle, and it’s not easy for a computer to replicate the kind of contextual understanding humans have in everyday conversation. Yet, despite the challenges, over the past decade context has become a foundational part of search, and it’s hard to imagine search without it:
What is the language of the search query? The query language is an incredibly basic, yet important signal we rely on to determine the right results to serve. If you type a search in French and we return results entirely in Swahili, you’ll be changing search engines very, very fast.
Where was the search conducted? If you’re looking to order a pizza, and we send you off to a pizza parlor on the other side of the country, you’ll be waiting a long time for delivery.
What search queries did you type immediately before this one? If you say to me “I’m looking for a card game,” and I say to you, “which one?” and then you say “Dominion,” and then I say, “The card game or the power company?” … you’d be pretty frustrated. It’s the same with search.
Personalization, a special kind of context
“Personalization” is a special kind of context; it’s the context of you. For example, what are you interested in, who do you care about, and what do you search for regularly? In addition to the contexts mentioned above, we personalize search results in a couple specific ways:
Past search activity:
personalization, we make search results more relevant to you based on your interests, as revealed through the “context” of past queries and clicks. We look at both “pattern” (which site do you generally visit for a given topic) and “preference” (which topics do you tend to be interested in). For example, if you’re an apple farmer who frequently visits sites about apple varieties and farming techniques, we’ll be more likely to show you results about apples the fruit rather than Apple computers. If you’re signed out, we’ll
still customize your search results
based on up to 180 days of past search information linked to your browser using an anonymous cookie.
, we improve your results by relying on the context of your friends, family, coworkers and other people you may care about across the web. We’ll sometimes improve the ranking of results if they’re more likely to be relevant based on your social connections. We’ll also highlight your connections by showing their names and pictures in the results when they’ve published or commented on content, for example by clicking the +1 button.
Transparency and choice
As helpful as personalization and context are in serving you the best results, we also want to provide you with transparency and meaningful choices about how you use our services. Transparency and choice aren’t just an afterthought, they’re a core aspect of our products.
In many cases, transparency and choice are critical to getting you the right answer. For example, when it comes to
, you need to be able to change your settings in order to even read the search results you find. Similarly, with location, sometimes our best guess is incorrect, so we provide a prominent setting in the left-hand panel to
change your location
In other cases, we understand that some people simply prefer a less personalized experience. That’s why, for example, you can specify a generic location like “United States” as your location. It’s also why you can always see and manage your Web History, pause it, or turn it off entirely. Even if you’re signed out, you
can still opt-out
of activity-based personalization. When it comes to Social Search, we provide an easy way to
manage your connected accounts
, as well as a
with a complete list of the people you’ll find highlighted in your search results.
Our philosophy on personalization
Our goal as always is to give you the answers you’re looking for as quickly as possible. The best answers might include some tweaks and tuning based on your interests, and they might include some perspectives from friends and colleagues, but undoubtedly the best answers from across the web will still be highly relevant. We hear from our users again and again that they value the opinions of experts and authorities, and that’s a big part of why they turn to Google.
The science of search is not advanced enough yet to provide a purely personal experience. We aren’t confident enough, for example, to say that you’re interested in the New York Times and not the Wall Street Journal. However, even if our systems improved so much that we could return only a single source, and it would be the source you like the most, we’d still want to provide a variety of sources and opinions. Our users value diverse viewpoints and serendipitous discovery in search results.
We also know from experiments that our best guess about what you’re looking for is sometimes incorrect, so we need to provide you with alternatives. Is the search [smx] looking for the Search Marketing Expo, the Southern Motocross Club, Santa Maria Airport (SMX), the Samsung SMX F50 camcorder, the North Legion SMX snow bike, the Honda SMX, SMX optics, the SMX 22 submarine, SmX Cinema Solutions, or something else entirely? That’s why we have algorithms in place designed specifically to promote variety in the results page. It’s also why we almost always provide you with a list of search results, rather than just one.
It’s clear that personalization will remain an important trend online that will provide benefits to people around the world, and we think it’s important to be thoughtful about our approach to make sure we get it right. We see tremendous potential to make search better by understanding what you care about. The faster we can get you to answers, the more time you’ll have to learn about diverse perspectives and form educated opinions.
Posted by Amit Singhal, Google Fellow
Preparing for food, family and football this Thanksgiving
November 23, 2011
There’s a lot to look forward to at Thanksgiving--pumpkin pie, turkey (or
for some people), time with the family, football, and giving thanks. But the holiday can also be stressful if you’re the one preparing the big dinner. Even if you’re planning to get away, traveling during the holidays can seem more like a headache than a vacation, especially when
42.5 million Americans are expected to travel this Thanksgiving
To help reduce some of the stress so you can spend more time enjoying the occasion, here are some search tips to make your life a little easier.
Tackling the turkey:
Prepare a Thanksgiving meal for even the pickiest of eaters using
in the left-hand navigation bar, where you can search for recipes based on an ingredient, cooking time and/or calorie count. You can search for a [
] recipe without sourdough or a [
] recipe that is less than 500 calories and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. It's also a great way to find new, creative dishes for those leftovers, like [
thanksgiving leftovers shepherd's pie
] instead of the usual [
Convert units of cooking measurements.
Now you have your recipes, but you may need to triple or even quadruple the serving size because you have a lot of people coming over. To quickly do the math and convert different units of measurement, you can enter your desired conversion into the search box. For example, you can find out [
how many tablespoons are in a cup
] and instead of measuring out 16 tablespoons of sugar, you can just measure out one cup of sugar.
Taking care of your travel needs:
Find flights for your holiday travel using Flight Search.
Whether you’re looking to book a last minute holiday getaway or planning ahead for New Year's, our
Flight Search feature
helps you plan your trip quickly and easily. If your travel dates are flexible, Flight Search can even help you
decide when to fly to get the lowest price
. How does [
] for New Year’s sound?
Track a flight.
While waiting for family or friends to arrive, you can quickly see if their flight is on time just by searching the name of the airline and the flight number, such as [
] to see that Aunt Mary has landed in Chicago on time.
Enjoying the rest of the day:
Check the score without leaving the table.
If you can't watch the big football match-ups on Thanksgiving day but want to know the score, sneak a peek on your mobile phone by searching for [
green bay packers
] or [
san francisco 49ers
] to quickly see the score.
Entertain the kids.
An important detail to enjoying your well-cooked meal is making sure the kids’ table doesn’t erupt into a food fight. Keep the kids entertained by searching for [
Thanksgiving coloring pages
] on Google Images, printing them out, and leaving them on the table with crayons. Just make sure there are enough crayons for everyone!
For some people, the perfect way to cap off a filling turkey-and-pumpkin-pie meal is to take the entire family to the movies. Whether you’re catching the new [
Twilight Breaking Dawn
] flick or [
] movie, you can easily check theater locations and showtimes near you by typing [
] into the search box.
Hope you have a happy, stress-free, delicious Thanksgiving!
Posted by Dan Russell, Über Tech Lead, Search Quality & User Happiness
The new Google Search app for iPad
November 21, 2011
(Cross posted on the
Google Mobile Blog
Today, we're very pleased to be launching a significant redesign for the
Google Search app for iPad
. As you can see in our video, whether you're doing research and comparing results, or exploring beautiful imagery, we have added new features to make the app more interactive, more visual and to help you find what you want more easily.
You'll notice that searching is faster and more interactive from your first keystroke. As soon as you begin to type,
starts to display results, so you don't even need to press the search button.
Once you pick a web page to visit, you'll see the page load on a new, slide-in pane that will layer over the search results. You can slide the pane to the right to get back to your search results, and even keep scrolling through the results as your web page is loading. This allows you to go back and forth from results to web pages quickly to get the information you are looking for.
View search results on the left and a web page on the right in the slide-in pane
Viewing image results in the app is now much more vivid. Tap on any image result to use the new image carousel, which lets beautiful images shine. You'll see the image you selected expand, and you can easily swipe through the carousel to see other similar images.
Swipe through the image carousel
Often you may be looking to find something you have seen before again or are continuing research on a topic. But on a tablet, typing can be a challenge. That is why we have created a visual way to explore your search history. Swipe right to view snapshots of pages you've visited, stacked and organized by search term. You can also manage your search history from this new view.
See your past searches with a new, visual history
With this release, we also brought
to the app so you can quickly compare web pages before you choose your result. Tapping on an icon in the top right of the screen brings you into a visual preview of the pages for your search result, easy to scroll through with the swipe of a finger.
Finally, we added a few extra features that we hope will help you find what you want more easily.
After you've selected a result, a new tool helps you find exactly what you need within a web page. Tap the magnifying glass on the top right-hand corner to highlight the most relevant section of the page. You can recommend pages you like with the new +1 button, right next to the magnifying glass, and help others find relevant sites more easily as well.
Helpful tools while you search
We've also made it easier to find and use your favorite Google services like Google News, Calendar and more in the new Apps menu. Tap on an icon to quickly read an email in Gmail, or share a post on Google+ within the slide-in pane. When you slide the pane to the right, you‚Äôll be right back to searching.
Easily find more Google services
The app is available worldwide for iPads with iOS 4.0+. Download it in the
and start enjoying a faster and more interactive experience now.
Posted by Daniel Fish, Software Engineer
Learn more about Flight Search with three quick tips
November 16, 2011
(Cross-posted on the
ITA by Google blog
With the holiday season closely approaching, you might be looking to book flights to visit friends and family. With our
feature, you can plan your trip quickly and easily with just a few clicks of the mouse.
In response to interest from you, we’ve shot three short videos to share some of our favorite ways the Flight Search feature can enable you to explore travel options. For example, you may know you want to travel and have a set budget, but you’re not sure where to go. You can also easily see when to fly in order to get the best deal, and you can use a scatterplot to view the entire set of results to more easily compare all flight options at a glance.
Hope these tips help you spend less time worrying about booking your flight and more time preparing for the holidays.
Posted by Marcin Brodziak, Software Engineer, Flight Search
Search using your terms, verbatim
November 15, 2011
Behind the simplicity of Google search is a complex set of algorithms that expands and improves the query you’ve typed to find the best results. Automatic spelling correction ([vynal] to “vinyl”) and substituting synonyms (matching [pictures] to “photos”) are just two examples of the improvements we make.
In most cases, Google’s algorithms make things better for our users - but in some rare cases, we don’t find what you were looking for. In the past, we provided users with the “+” operator to help you search for specific terms. However, we found that users typed the “+” operator in less than half a percent of all searches, and two thirds of the time, it was used incorrectly. A couple of weeks ago we removed the “+” operator, encouraging the use of the double quotes, which are more likely to be used correctly.
Since then, we’ve received a lot of requests for a more deliberate way to tell Google to search using your exact terms. We’ve been listening, and starting today you’ll be able to do just that through verbatim search. With the verbatim tool on, we’ll use the literal words you entered without making normal improvements such as
your search by using information such as sites you’ve visited before
of your search terms (matching “car” when you search [automotive])
finding results that match
to those in your query (finding results related to “floral delivery” when you search [flower shops])
searching for words with the same
like “running” when you’ve typed [run]
making some of your terms
, like “circa” in [the scarecrow circa 1963]
You can access the verbatim search tool under “More search tools” on the left-hand side.
In addition to verbatim search, which will be rolling out to all users over the next few days, we’re also applying similar ideas directly to our algorithms, such as tuning the accuracy of when our query broadening search improvements trigger. In the meantime, if you want to search for a very specific term, be that [carosel] or the [etymology of sissors], give the verbatim tool a try.
Posted by Corin Anderson, Principal Engineer, Search
Ten recent algorithm changes
November 14, 2011
Today we’re continuing our long-standing
series of blog posts
to share the methodology and process behind our search
. This summer we published a
that gives a glimpse into our overall process, and today we want to give you a flavor of specific algorithm changes by publishing a highlight list of many of the improvements we’ve made over the past couple weeks.
We’ve published hundreds of blog posts about search over the years on this blog, our
Official Google Blog
, and even on my
. But we’re always looking for ways to give you even deeper insight into the over 500 changes we make to search in a given year. In that spirit, here’s a list of ten improvements from the past couple weeks:
Cross-language information retrieval
For queries in languages where limited web content is available (Afrikaans, Malay, Slovak, Swahili, Hindi, Norwegian, Serbian, Catalan, Maltese, Macedonian, Albanian, Slovenian, Welsh, Icelandic), we will now translate relevant English web pages and display the translated titles directly below the English titles in the search results. This feature was available previously in Korean, but only at the bottom of the page. Clicking on the translated titles will take you to pages translated from English into the query language.
Snippets with more page content and less header/menu content:
This change helps us choose more relevant text to use in snippets. As we improve our understanding of web page structure, we are now more likely to pick text from the actual page content, and less likely to use text that is part of a header or menu.
Better page titles in search results by de-duplicating boilerplate anchors:
We look at a number of signals when generating a page’s title. One signal is the anchor text in links pointing to the page. We found that boilerplate links with duplicated anchor text are not as relevant, so we are putting less emphasis on these. The result is more relevant titles that are specific to the page’s content.
Length-based autocomplete predictions in Russian:
This improvement reduces the number of long, sometimes arbitrary query predictions in Russian. We will not make predictions that are very long in comparison either to the partial query or to the other predictions for that partial query. This is already our practice in English.
Extending application rich snippets:
We recently announced
rich snippets for applications
. This enables people who are searching for software applications to see details, like cost and user reviews, within their search results. This change extends the coverage of application rich snippets, so they will be available more often.
Retiring a signal in Image search:
As the web evolves, we often revisit signals that we launched in the past that no longer appear to have a significant impact. In this case, we decided to retire a signal in Image Search related to images that had references from multiple documents on the web.
Fresher, more recent results
As we announced just over a week ago, we’ve made a significant improvement to how we rank fresh content. This change impacts roughly 35 percent of total searches (around 6-10% of search results to a noticeable degree) and better determines the appropriate level of freshness for a given query.
Refining official page detection:
We try hard to give our users the most relevant and authoritative results. With this change, we adjusted how we attempt to determine which pages are official. This will tend to rank official websites even higher in our ranking.
Improvements to date-restricted queries:
We changed how we handle result freshness for queries where a user has chosen a specific date range. This helps ensure that users get the results that are most relevant for the date range that they specify.
Prediction fix for IME queries:
This change improves how Autocomplete handles IME queries (queries which contain non-Latin characters). Autocomplete was previously storing the intermediate keystrokes needed to type each character, which would sometimes result in gibberish predictions for Hebrew, Russian and Arabic.
If you’re a site owner, before you go wild tuning your anchor text or thinking about your web presence for Icelandic users, please remember that this is only a sampling of the hundreds of changes we make to our search algorithms in a given year, and even these changes may not work precisely as you’d imagine. We’ve decided to publish these descriptions in part because these specific changes are less susceptible to gaming.
For those of us working in search every day, we think this stuff is incredibly exciting -- but then again, we’re big search geeks. Let us know what you think and we’ll consider publishing more posts like this in the future.
Posted by Matt Cutts, Distinguished Engineer
The +1 button for Images: See it. Share it.
November 9, 2011
Recommendations from your friends help making decisions on everything easier, from where to eat, to what movies to watch and where to go for your next trip -- and pictures can really help you decide. In March, we introduced the
to let you make recommendations right from your search results page. Now, we’re extending this ability to Google Images.
Let’s say you’re looking to summit Mount Kilimanjaro and want to inspire a few of your climbing buddies to join you. You search for [mount kilimanjaro summit] and switch to Images mode to find rows and rows of photos testifying that this peak can indeed be conquered. By hovering over one of the images, you can quickly recommend this photo to your friends by clicking the +1 button.
Once they’re on board with the trip and start searching too, you’ll be able to quickly spot images they’ve recommended -- you’ll see annotations on the images they’ve +1’d on your search results page.
As with the other +1’s, you’ll need to create a Google+ profile before you can start +1’ing images. Your image +1’s will appear in the +1 tab of your profile, where you can see all of your recommendations in one place and delete those you no longer feel strongly about. To see +1’s on the image results page you’ll need to be logged into your
Posted by Xiaorui Gan, Software Engineer
Powering a new job search engine for military veterans
November 7, 2011
(Cross-posted on the
Official Google Blog
Public Policy blog
Earlier today, President Obama spoke about the importance of
helping returning military veterans find work
. Thousands of businesses have committed to hiring military veterans and families and as part of this nationwide effort, starting today, job seekers can visit the
National Resource Directory
(NRD) to search more than 500,000 job openings from employers around the country.
We have been working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide a customized job search engine for the NRD, using
Google Custom Search
technology. This custom search engine uses the power and scale of Google search to constantly crawl the web, looking for
on sites like
to identify veteran-committed job openings. An employer can easily add a job posting to NRD simply by adding that markup to their own web page. As pages are updated or removed from the web, they’re automatically updated and removed from the system, keeping the available job postings on NRD fresh and up to date.
If you’re an employer, you can find
on how to participate on
. In addition, organizations such as local veterans' groups can help people find jobs by adding a veteran-committed jobs
to their websites.
We’re happy to contribute to this important initiative and hope businesses use this opportunity to connect with veterans seeking employment.
, Product Manager, Search
Giving you fresher, more recent search results
November 3, 2011
(Cross-posted on the
Official Google Blog
Search results, like warm cookies right out of the oven or cool refreshing fruit on a hot summer’s day, are best when they’re fresh. Even if you don’t specify it in your search, you probably want search results that are relevant and recent.
If I search for [
], I probably want information about next summer’s upcoming Olympics, not the 1900 Summer Olympics (the only time my favorite sport,
cricket, was played
). Google Search uses a freshness algorithm, designed to give you the most up-to-date results, so even when I just type [
] without specifying 2012, I still find what I’m looking for.
Given the incredibly fast pace at which information moves in today’s world, the most recent information can be from the last week, day or even minute, and depending on the search terms, the algorithm needs to be able to figure out if a result from a week ago about a TV show is recent, or if a result from a week ago about breaking news is too old.
We completed our
Caffeine web indexing system
last year, which allows us to crawl and index the web for fresh content quickly on an enormous scale. Building upon the momentum from Caffeine, today we’re making a significant improvement to our ranking algorithm that impacts roughly 35 percent of searches and better determines when to give you more up-to-date relevant results for these varying degrees of freshness.
Recent events or hot topics.
For recent events or hot topics that begin trending on the web, you want to find the latest information immediately. Now when you search for current events like [
occupy oakland protest
], or for the latest news about the [
], you’ll see more high-quality pages that might only be minutes old.
Regularly recurring events.
Some events take place on a regularly recurring basis, such as annual conferences like [
] or an event like the [
]. Without specifying with your keywords, it’s implied that you expect to see the most recent event, and not one from 50 years ago. There are also things that recur more frequently, so now when you’re searching for the latest [
dancing with the stars
] results or [
], you’ll see the latest information.
There are also searches for information that changes often, but isn’t really a hot topic or a recurring event. For example, if you’re researching the [
best slr cameras
], or you’re in the market for a new car and want [
subaru impreza reviews
], you probably want the most up to date information.
There are plenty of cases where results that are a few years old might still be useful for you. [
fast tomato sauce recipe
] certainly saved me after a call from my wife reminded me I had volunteered to make dinner! On the other hand, when I search for the [
], a result that is a week old might be too old.
Different searches have different freshness needs. This algorithmic improvement is designed to better understand how to differentiate between these kinds of searches and the level of freshness you need, and make sure you get the most up to the minute answers.
To clarify, when we say this algorithm impacted 35% of searches, we mean at least one result on the page was affected, as opposed to when we've said
impacted in the past, which means changes that are significant enough that an average user would notice. Using that same scale, this change
impacts 6 - 10% of searches, depending on the language and domain you're searching on.
Posted by Amit Singhal, Google Fellow
Highlighting journalists on Google News
November 2, 2011
(Cross-posted on the
Google News Blog
Great journalism takes more than facts and figures -- it takes skilled reporters to knit together compelling stories. Knowing who wrote an article can help readers understand the article's context and quality, see more articles by that person, and even interact directly with them. Whole communities can form around prominent contributors, which is why we started showing
information about content creators
next to their material in Google Search.
Accordingly, Google News is rolling out more information about journalists over the next several weeks, starting with English-language editions. When reporters link their Google profile with their articles, Google News now shows the writer’s name and how many Google+ users have that person in their circles. For the lead article for each story, Google News also shows that reporter’s profile picture and enables readers to add them to their Google+ circles right from the Google News homepage.
If you are a journalist and would like to participate, please follow the instructions in our
. If you are a reader, we hope you enjoy learning more about the faces behind the news.
Posted by Eric Weigle, Software Engineer, Google News team
A new way to get information about real-world places
November 1, 2011
I love eating out with my friends and trying new places, but one of the most difficult questions you can ask me is "Where do you want to eat?" Today, we’re making a few improvements to Google search that will make it a lot easier and faster to answer this question. For example, I mentioned to a friend that I’ll be visiting Boston, and he suggested that I check out a barbecue place called Redbones BBQ in Davis Square. Since I don't know that restaurant, I do a quick search for [redbones bbq] to see if it’s a place I’d like.
When I do, I see the same familiar search results page but I notice that there's now a new panel to the right of the results -- where previously only a map appeared -- with much more information than before. I see two images with
, the Street View mascot, below the map so I click on the first one. This instantly takes me to an immersive
360-degree interior view
of the restaurant, as if I were virtually teleported to Redbones.
I pan around and see that it's a cool colorful restaurant with a nice, comfy feel. What's more, when I go back to the search results panel and click on the second image, I’m able to look around the outside of the restaurant and get a sense for the neighborhood via the familiar Street View experience. I’m beginning to really like this place! Further down the panel, I see the price range indicating it won’t be too expensive and an “at a glance” summary that tells me Redbones has great beer and pulled pork sandwiches -- and menu links if I want to see more. Thanks to this helpful information right on the search results page, I’ve quickly been able to make my decision: I’m going to Redbones for a pulled pork sandwich.
Even if I’m not looking for a particular place by name, I can learn about places and quickly decide which ones are right for me. If I want to find a bar near Redbones for a few drinks after dinner, I can just search for [bars davis square] and get a familiar list of results. Only now, scanning the list and comparing places is easier than ever, since the
instant preview feature
will show the same detailed information about the various bars when I hover over the “>>” symbol to the right of each result. After just a few seconds perusing the additional local information for different places, I know that Joshua Tree has a great beer selection and that the Orleans has live music but is a bit farther away.
This new type of layout may appear on the search results page for a range of real-world places -- restaurants, hotels, local businesses, landmarks, museums and more. Of course, the local information that appears will vary depending on what’s available online. So the next time you plan your visit to the
New England Aquarium
, you might be able to check out their opening hours, get directions, and find the nearest transit stops, all from a simple Google search.
In the coming weeks, you’ll start seeing the improved local search experience in more than 40 languages. Give it a try and start discovering new local favorites, near and far!
Posted by Jim Müller, Tech Lead
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