Earlier this morning Google announced two new features that they believe will help users find what they are looking for, even if they aren’t exactly sure. Google has always been a hotbed of innovation, so it should come as no surprise that they have added new features. The two features are an expanded list of useful related and searches, and the addition of longer search result descriptions in certain situations.
Refinements to the Search Results
If you type in a search query that is quite general, Google will now list at the bottom other related searches. For example, if you were to search for the “principles of psychology”, Google offers principles of some of the major disciplines of psychology, as well as links to 19th and 20th century psychology, where the principles of those eras are available.
This won’t help a user who has a very specific query, however if a user is after general research, or is looking to learn more, this could be a useful tool.
Longer Snippets for Specific Searches
When a user is delivered their search results, there is a 3 line summary of the page that the link will lead to. If the search is for a longer query (more than 3 words), you will now be delivered more information, to ensure that you are going to a page that contains the specific information you are after.
Here is an example from the Google Blog:
Suppose you were looking for information about Earth’s rotation around the sun, and specifically wanted to know about its tilt and distance from the sun. So you type all of that into Google: [earth’s rotation axis tilt and distance from sun]. A normal-length snippet wouldn’t be able to show you the context for all of those words, but with longer snippets you can be sure that the first result covers all those topics. In addition, the extra line of snippets for the third result shows the word “sun” in context, suggesting that the page doesn’t talk about Earth’s distance from the sun.
These two additions are going to help searchers at both ends of the spectrum- those who know exactly what they are after, and those that need a little direction. There is always talk of a competitor to Google attempting to take their market share, however with these constant improvements (and lack of originality by the competitors), I don’t believe this will be occurring any time soon.