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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Google Improved Search Results Pages

Google rolled out two new improvements to Google search. The first offers an expanded list of useful related searches and the second is the addition of longer search result descriptions - both of which help guide users more effectively to the information they need.

More and better search refinements

Google is now using new technology that can better understand associations and concepts related to your search and offers even more useful related searches (the terms found at the bottom, and sometimes at the top, of the search results page).

For example, if you search for [principles of physics], new algorithm understand that "angular momentum," "special relativity," "big bang" and "quantum mechanic" are related terms that could help you find what you need. Here's an example (click on the images in the post to view them larger):

Now it targets more queries, more languages, and makes suggestions more relevant to what users actually need to know. Additionally, it is now offering refinements for longer queries . You'll be able to see new related searches in 37 languages all around the world.

Longer snippets

When you do a search on Google, each result now starts with a dark blue title and is followed by a few lines of text ("snippet"), which together gives you an idea of what each page is about. To give more context, the snippet shows how the words of your query appear on the page by highlighting them in bold.

When you enter a longer query, with more than three words, regular-length snippets may not give you enough information and context. In these situations, it increases the number of lines in the snippet to provide more information and show more of the words you typed in the context of the page.

For example, 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:

Similarly, if you're looking for a restaurant review that covers all the parts of the meal, longer snippets can help:

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