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There's a lot in there:
- Labs has a demo of personalized search. Tell us your interests, and then you can move a slider and see the search results change in real-time. This gives you a good look at how search can be improved by knowing what the user is interested in.
- Labs also has a new feature called Web Alerts. When the Google search results or new results change for a term that you enter, Google will drop you an email to let you know. Both webmasters and regular users can enjoy this. :)
- There's a brand new user interface. The UI team made tons of little changes make the UI cleaner and faster to get search results.
- Searching in Google News will now show thumbnail photos in the results.
Plus my personal favorite that I haven't seen mentioned yet: numrange search. For example, suppose you want to search for results about Mt. Everest, but you're actually interested in things like the base camp and events that have happened at a certain elevation. If you do the search
everest "21000..21500 feet"
A few nice things to notice about numrange searching: in the example above, you notice that it works with phrase quotes. And if you check out the search results, you'll see that we can match a number even if it looks like 21,300 instead of 21300. It also works correctly with dollar signs. I was at a book sale this weekend and I actually saw some dude scanning books with a bar-code scanner attached to his phone. I noticed that the phone was a Motorola and the scanner was a Symbol. I did a quick Google search when I got home and found out the the scanner was a PSM20i. Cool. Now suppose I want to find out how much they cost. I do the search
estate tax $750000..5000000
electron ratio 1800..1900
You get the idea--there's a bunch of new ways to find data that numrange searches unlock. So enjoy the new UI and things like thumbnails in news search results. And have fun playing with personalized search and web alerts and thinking about the future of search. I know we have. :)
Here's another fun way to use numrange search: businesses along a stretch of road. For example, the main little downtown area in Mountain View, CA is along Castro St. It's a great street to walk down and get a slice of pizza, buy a candle, or read a book. So a search like
"100..900 castro" mountain view
The thing that I like about numrange search is that it shows some of the core improvements in our indexing/scoring infrastructure that Google has built behind the scenes. Stop and think for a minute: for the last 9-10 years, most search engines have relied on searching for a simple list of keywords, then processing the documents that match. Searching for web pages that match anywhere in a range of numbers gives a glimpse into more powerful indexing and search capabilities than just matching on a single keyword. Sometimes that power will be visible (e.g. numrange) and sometimes it won't be as visible, but my takehome point is that Google is never content with search as it is today. We're always looking for new types of data to search, new ways to search it, and innovative ways to make that search better. It's one of the reasons I love coming to work every day. :)
Has Google dropped Dmoz? I can't seem to locate a directory link anywhere and when I do a search for specific keywords and get results, there is no link to a directory position on some results that used to exist in the directory.
What's the nature of this change?
Correction: I now see the link to the directory under "more" but it seems to be somewhat buried as you can't get to it via the main page. Even the Google directory page does not show a link back to it.
[edited by: Decius at 7:50 pm (utc) on Mar. 29, 2004]
I wouldn't say that we've made any permanent decisions, but for now reaching the directory will take that extra click on the "more>>" link.
I only hope this wasn't done by Google to sell more Adwords. Commercial sites in the ODP that don't rank high on the SERPs, but are listed in the ODP, also were easier to find with that directory cat link. Now that Google has buried the directory such most won't even know it is there, buying Adwords is more critical for such commercial sites.
<added>However, just about any local country site shows the new design. But Google.com just won't change in Firefox. Not even when going into images, groups, directory, or doing searches I _never_ did before.</added>
If the reasoning is that nobody ever used it - surely the Groups tab was used less often?
Or - surely there's room for an extra tab (or should I now say link)
Googleguy there is no mention of Mozilla, et al, at: [google.com...]
[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 3:00 pm (utc) on Mar. 30, 2004]
[edit reason] sorry guys. Do it for one - we'd have to do it for all 200 tool sites... [/edit]
The thing that I like about numrange search is that it shows some of the core improvements in our indexing/scoring infrastructure that Google has built behind the scenes.
Sure, that is all well and good, but when are you going to give us full regex searches? ;)
I actually spotted numrange this morning when I first noticed the changes. Extremely cool! I probably wasted 1.5..3 hours playing with it. I could have used this several times in the last year.
I'm not sure if I like how it works even inside quotes, but I don't have a good way to fix it that a normal user would understand either.
Note that while Google.ca in English has the "more" link, in French there is still a link to the Google Directory ("Annuaire") on the main page, without a "more" link at all (the new look is there, though). Other country Googles may be done in the same way. Is this long-term, or haven't you finished translating the Options page yet? ;)
<added>Of course, neither has a Froogle link (which I assume is US only), so even on the English version there is space for a directory link.</added>
However, I agree with rfgdxm1 about the links from a specific SERP to the specific directory category. It was a nice feature that searching for J.Q. Bumbledurp would make a link to the Authors/B/Bumbledurp, J.Q. category show up under one site and the Shopping/Doorknobs/Designers/J.Q. Bumbledurp category under another. I think it helped users expand and contract their searches, and replicating it will take a user a whole lot more than one click, so I think it was more elegant when the link was returned directly on the search page.
*my two cents*
edit - Totally off topic, sorry, I just couldn't leave it alone:
link:www.overture.com - 42,600 results, no show in search
link:www.overture.de - 40 results, second place in serps. Doesn't entice an english speaker to click, even though it actually redirects to [content.overture.com...]
I dunno, something seems wrong.
The highlighting of words in longer URL wordblocks has already been noted e.g. widget highlighted in www.Eurowidget.thing.
On my major keyword, the plural is irregular, e.g. widget & widgettes. Previous to the new UI, a search for widget, or widgettes produced *exactly* the same results (due to stemming).
Now the singular and plural produce different results,
I do better on the singular now, I assume because only the singular appears in my URL, i.e. I am eurowidget, not eurowidgettes. The widget part of my URL is certainly highlighted on the new Google page.
So now on the singular I get a boost, but on the plural I drop back again.
Seems these Google folks just can't help fiddling :)
(probably a good move though, as it weakens those URLs designed purely with SEO in mind i.e. long hyphenated word strings, rather than URLs designed to look good / sound good / appeal to the surfer e.g webmasterworld)
the site-operator can now be used alone. before a search for
site:www.example.comwould give you an error-message asking what keyword you'd be searching for. now the search "site:www.yahoo.com [google.com]" gives 46,000 results, almost just like "site:www.yahoo.com yahoo [google.com]" did before.
regarding ODP: i can understand that the directory tab/link was nuked (the landing page itself wasn't very useful, especially as there is no real search-for-categories feature).
however i really miss the category links in serps. especially when researching topics where i wasn't familiar with the specific keywords (not being an english speaker often doesn't make that easier) the directories were EXTREMELY useful. what a pity.
It also works correctly with dollar signs.that's cool but what about the euro sign?