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Surprise! Google Debuts Smarter 'Search Options'

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- Google debuted several new search features for users here at its Searchology event for the media. Highlighting the releases is Search Options, a new features live today that gives users more control over the results they see.

The releases are the latest part of Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) efforts give users a richer view of results, said Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience at Google.

"It's about really knowing what you're looking for," she said. "We're trying to look at the whole problem."

In addition to the typical results you get in the center of the page for a search a new Search Options link in the left column. Under Search Options you can select results by date including the most relevant results in the past 24 hours, past week and other ranges. You can also select from a range of the most recent images. "It's a different way to look at the Web," said Nundu Janakiram, associate product manager at Google.

Separately, the search giant also announced smart "rich snippets" which give the users more precise information on results. A search for a product like a specific camera, for example, would include rich snippets within the few lines of text that summarize results. A rich snippet in this case could highlight four stars and the name of a site that reviewed the product. Similarly, a search for a person, might show a rich snippet of text with a line from their LinkedIn profile so you know it's the right one to click on.

"We're getting help from Webmasters and the HTML on the page," said Kavi Goel, a Google product manager for Rich Snippets.

Google said it's now supporting two open standards, quick tags and RDFa markup. "It gives Google a much better understanding of what's on the page."

These so-called microformat markups are not only useful to Google, but will help "make the whole Internet smarter," Goel said.

Later this month, Google said it will Google Squared, which it demoed today. Like Rich Snippets, Google Squared looks at the metadata in Web pages and pulls what relevant information into a rich table of results. In a demo, a search for "small dogs" results in a table that included a column of photos of different dogs with information in other columns specific to each breed.

Users can also edit and add to the results.