Google Search with Instant Pages
Instant Pages now in the latest build of Chrome
Do@ Reinvents Mobile Search
do@, which launched at TechCrunch Disrupt as a Battlefield contestant and finalist, is changing the way users perform search on mobile. As sites across the web realize that mobile is on the rise, and accessibility on all platforms (iOS, Android, etc…) is key, they create HTML5 versions of their existing sites, essentially making mobile web apps in the process.
Contextual search will be the deciding factor in whether or not users decide to click-through to a result. If I search “Modern Family,” chances are I’m looking to find information about the TV show, and not an in-depth article about how to raise a family (at least not at this time). What do@ does, quite awesomely, is tag a search with generalized topics. For example, “Modern Family” will show: “Modern Family @tv/@internet/@reference.” Depending on what the user selects, results matching the tag will be surfaced.
Results are presented as screengrab previews of the site, with the appropriate search already pre-populated. As you swipe left and right, you can see additional results. Clicking on a result expands the site, and you’re able to fully browse as you would in any other mobile browser. Not what you’re looking for? Hit the bottom left icon in the menu and you’ll be taken back to the search results view. Over each result preview, there are two icons for like and comments, which aid in surfacing more relevant results first in the future. Don’t want to see a particular site as a result? Press the “X” to remove the preview.
Do@ also uses Facebook Connect to add a layer of social search. Like Google and Bing have started employing, results that your friends like and promote surface to the top of the results. Though not as useful until your friends start using the app and liking results, it’s definitely a great feature, especially if it adds Twitter integration in the future.
The app is currently available in the iOS app store, and they plan on expanding to all mobile platforms, as well as have a web-based version of the product in the pipeline.
Google Voice Search
Google has started testing a new voice feature on its homepage for Search. After clicking on the microphone icon, the user can say their search term aloud and be directed to results, assuming the system assumes the right words. Though it’s already a good feature for mobile, and I’m assuming this integration is to help accessibility, it’s interesting to see that this feature requires the user to click to initiate search, even though Google Instant has essentially made clicking or pressing the enter key obsolete.
Google Zeitgeist 2010
2010 has quickly flown by, and we’ll be in 2011 in a few short weeks. Google has just launched Zeitgeist 2010: How the world searched, their aggregation of the World’s most searched terms this year. In addition to their list of the top 10 searches for certain categories, they’ve added an HTML5 visualization to help compare top global events and fastest rising queries.
Google Search Preview
Now when you hover over a search result, or click on the magnifying glass icon beside the hyperlink, you’ll get a preview of the site shown in a tooltip. The preview will show the most relevant parts of the selected site to give the user a better idea of what’s to come upon click-through. In this case, I searched “user experience” and previewed its Wikipedia page. There are also contextual call-outs that highlight some key phrase in the page, but it only seems to be shown on Wikipedia results.