Friday, April 15, 2011

[G] This week in search 4/15/11

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 4/15/11

This is part of a regular series of posts on search experience updates that runs on Fridays. Look for the label "This week in search" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

This week we made several announcements that help make search faster, easier and more fun, including introducing a new kind of trivia puzzle where using Google is allowed, continuing to enable Google Instant around the world and adding date annotations on recent Google Images.

A Google a Day
This week we introduced A Google a Day, a new type of trivia puzzle where you can test not just your knowledge, but also your search skills using Google. Questions are posted daily on and in the New York Times above the crossword puzzle. Try your hand at today’s question:

Use to search to avoid real-time spoilers from blogs or Tweets, and follow @agoogleaday on Twitter so you don’t miss any of the questions.

Google Images with Date Annotations
Sometimes when you’re searching for a particular topic, you want to see the most recent images for that subject. For instance, you might want to find images related to the recent Masters Golf Tournament. Searching Google Images will give you a lot of images related to the Masters, but it’s hard to quickly tell which pictures are from this year’s tournament.

This week, we’re introducing a change that should make finding recent images a lot easier—Google Images with Date Annotations. Now, we’ll add date annotations right to the thumbnails of images that were uploaded recently. Try it out on any recent news or event query, such as Charl Schwartzel winning that coveted green jacket.

More Instant results around the world
Bringing the speed of instant search results to new countries, Google Instant is now available for more people around the world. Signed-in searchers in the British Virgin Islands, Ghana, Greenland, Kenya, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda will see results faster with Instant, and French searchers will now see Instant results even when signed-out.

Instant Previews update
Last November, we launched Instant Previews, a quick way to get a visual overview of the search results before you click on them. Since launch, we’ve made a number of improvements that we’re excited to share:
  • Flash is now supported—for most previews, we’ll render a screenshot of the flash component in the preview, rather than just displaying a puzzle piece icon.
  • Instant Previews is now integrated with Google Quick Scroll. Users who have Quick Scroll installed (either as a Chrome extension or as part of Google Toolbar) can click on a highlighted area within an Instant Preview, and we’ll scroll you directly to that section of the page.
  • Instant Previews can now be used on mobile devices, Android tablets, iPads and the Opera browser.
  • Previews support additional result types, including .doc and .ppt files; and video results have a new, playable interface.
Google Search dictionary tool
To help you quickly access definition content, we’ve brought our dictionary feature into the left-hand panel in search. For example, search for [legerdemain] and you can find its definition by selecting “Dictionary” on the left. You’ll also see examples of the word “legerdemain” in context from news, related phrases, synonyms and more. One click on the translation tool brings you to Google Translate for all your bilingual needs. We’re also enhancing other dictionary search features, including a refreshed look for your dictionary look-up queries such as “define legerdemain” and “what is legerdemain” in the search results. Give it a try.

New Google News for Opera Mini
We’ve rolled out a redesigned Google News for Opera Mini in 29 languages and 70 editions to bring people greater mobile access to top stories and news search. This includes an enhanced homepage featuring richer snippets, thumbnail images, links to videos and section content without explicit navigation, a convenient search bar, comfortably spaced links and the ability to access your desktop personalization on your phone. We hope that this will improve the news browsing experience for Opera Mini users around the world, including millions of people using a feature phone as their primary point of access to the web. See it here in the Indian Hindi and Nigerian English versions:

Posted by Johanna Wright, Director, Search Product Management

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