I have been noticing some subtle and not so subtle changes happening over at Google for the past few days now. Google’s personalized home page has been renamed to iGoogle – search results has started appearing subtly different with new groupings and they had started putting more links in the classic Google Home Page. To illustrate what I mean check out this search for Jon Stewart – notice the bar showing all the different searches.
I was initially thinking, that this was simply another refining of the search experience and I thought I’d blog about it when I when I saw this announcement at the Google blog.
They have done, what – despite the looks of it – is a pretty big revamp…
Its called Universal Search – and it promises to be a merging between textual search and rich media search that should rock the search engine world and put even more distance between Google and Yahoo (Microsoft is still a distant third IMO). They are calling it the first move in pretty big re-design of their search engine, with a goal towards providing a universal search across all types of content – web, news, images, books, video, blogs, etc. This implies that now not only does your search entries return results for relevant web-links but also relevant new stories, books, blog entries and if relevant videos. From the UI point of view the user sees a white vertical navigation bar that groups the results by category. Vertical search companies better watch out – if Google can pull this off they are in trouble.
It finally reveals the strategy behind Google’s purchase of YouTube – more fodder for the search monster :-) Apparently not enough though since Google has also announced that their video search is going to search against the collections of other properties also.
Another major product or rather a new area is Google experimental. This is an area where new enhancements to the Google Search page is available for people to try out. I especially like the timeline feature and the keyboard shortcuts feature.