Google trials new search views


29 Jan 2008

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The familiar Google list of search results could be up for a revamp. Google is experimenting with different search results layouts and is looking for people to participate in trials of its new options.

The idea is to allow users to visualise their search results in new ways, Andrew Hogue wrote on his official Google blog.

The options on the Google beta site, available at http://www.google.com/experimental/index.html, include a Timeline View, where a graph across the top of the search page summarises how dates in your results are spread through time, with higher bars representing a larger number of unique dates. Clicking on a bar will bring results with that date to the top of the listings. A text box to the right helps you narrow the results down to months, weeks and days.

The Map View option aims to help users visualise on Google Maps the key locations contained in their web results. Google speculates that this will be very helpful for finding and locating conferences and events.

“This information is on the web and accessible through regular web search, but probably spread out over many sites and pages. Unless one of these pages has a map, it might be hard to visualise all the locations at once. Map View solves this problem by plotting some of the key locations contained in your web results onto a map,” said Hogue.

Another option on the beta site is Info View. Webpages are still displayed vertically as usual but a new control panel on the right side of the results page allows you to instantly reveal information from a particular webpage that contains ‘Dates’, ‘Measurements’, ‘Locations’ or ‘Images’.

“If you run a search and find many of your results are looking similar, try using Info View. It may highlight the differences between results and help you select the best page for your needs,” said Hogue.

By Niall Byrne

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