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This article was published on January 17, 2009

Google just changed search. Again. Four ways.

Google just changed search. Again. Four ways.
David Petherick
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David Petherick

Scotsman David Petherick is a director & co-founder of several companies, and provides social media strategy & visibility services. Scotsman David Petherick is a director & co-founder of several companies, and provides social media strategy & visibility services. David became known as ‘The Digital Biographer’ after a 2007 BBC radio interview, speaks Russian, wears the Kilt, and is a co-author for the books 'Age of Conversation 2.0, & 3.0'.

Search never stays still. Neither does The Next Web Blog. Today, we found out that Google, where search is the core of its business, have added a link to new experimental features to its home page, which show options that can be added to the ‘standard’ search.

The most dramatic of these is probably ‘Alternate views for search results‘ which, due to its nature, gives you different search results and rankings in different views of the same search query. So Search Experts take note: Page 1 of Google now has at least four different results!. Your site can be #1 in one type of search, but be invisible in others.

The standard Google search results page now also has “News about search term” appended to your search results as you can see below.

google experimental search

Google’s New ‘Alternate View’ Search Types

It is worth taking a look at this new feature for searches that include:-

  • Search Results in Timelines [try this]
  • Search Results on Maps [try this]
  • Search Results in ‘Info Views’ which allow further refinement ‘on the fly’ [try this]
  • One-click returns you to ‘Standard’ List View

You can obtain these views immediately using the standard google search interface by adding “view:map” “view:timeline” or “view info” following your search term – so rather than a search for ‘the next web’ you search for “the next web view:timeline”.

internet conferences view:map - Google Search

I’d recommend you check out these new search views, and also ensure that your site’s metadata is structured to ensure you appear in these new formats of search results.

david petherick view:timeline - Google Search

There are also three other experimental search features at present – web conferences view:info - Google Search

  • SearchWiki with sound – when you remove a result from your personal results, toy can have a sound effect play along with the animation whenever you remove a result. The sound is recorded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
  • Keyboard shortcuts – use your keyboard to navigate results – so J Selects the next result, K Selects the previous result, etc.
  • Accessible View – As you navigate, items are magnified for easier viewing. If you use a screen reader or talking browser, the relevant information is spoken automatically as you navigate.

Google continues to innovate and to develop its search technology, and in my view these new experimental features show that it’s still the very best at delivering search results. It’s also a wake-up call for you to ensure that the information on your web pages is given proper semantic structure – or meaning – because that will be a crucial differentiatiator as the amount of data online increases.

(Screen shots created from UK access to by David Petherick using plasq‘s Skitch)

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