Google has just rolled out a host of new features, including the addition of trends and forum posts in search results and a revamped local search and desktop sync for mobile.
One of the new additions is a feature that makes it easier for searchers to find forum posts or related discussions. The idea is to help users navigate sites that tend to have a large number of posts on a specific topic.
“When several different discussions on a site are relevant to your query, we indent them under the primary result and include the date of each post,” writes Johanna Wright, Google director of product management, in a blog post. “So for instance, if you search for ‘getting from rome to florence’ you will see, below the third result, a list of relevant discussions on various ways to get between these cities.”
Google’s goal is to provide users with a “deeper view into the relevant content available on sites throughout the Web – even when that content spans multiple pages or discussions.”
Also recently integrated into search results is the company’s Hot Trends data, which lists the fastest rising searches on the Web at any given hour with related information.
With the Hot Trends addition, Google queries that match one of the top 100 fastest rising search terms will return results with a graph at the bottom of the page with more information, for instance, how popular the query is and how fast it’s rising over time.
“To coincide with this change, we’ve also reduced the number of trends listed on the Google Hot Trends homepage to 40 from 100. This feature, however, will show up for any query that matches the top 100. We hope this change will make for a simpler user experience, and help you focus better on the top, most interesting content,” write Aaron Wise, associate product manager and Hiroshi Kuraoka, product manager, in a blog post.
On the mobile search front, Google just issued a revamped local search that integrates with Google Maps on a user’s computer and includes browseable categories that let users search without typing.
Joshua Siegel, product manager, mobile local search team, relayed his experience using it in a blog post about his trip to Hawaii.
“Before I left, I researched places to visit on Google Maps. I signed in to my Google account and starred the places I wanted to go. Once I got to Hawaii, by signing in on my phone, I was able to see the places I starred on desktop Maps under ‘Starred Places.’ I could then click through on place names to visit mobile-optimized versions of Place Pages for Google Maps that include opening hours, reviews, photos and more,” he writes.
“The new category browse feature made it easy to find a place to rent bicycles for a quick tour of the coastline. I just tapped on ‘Entertainment & Recreation’ and then ‘Bicycles’ to execute a search — no typing necessary.”
In other wireless news from Google said it now lets users sync their mobile and desktop search history, eliminating repetitive steps.
“Sometimes I do a search on my desktop computer, only to find that I need to repeat the same search again later on my mobile phone. In the US we’re launching Personalized Suggest for Android, iPhone and Palm WebOS, which makes it really easy to repeat your past searches on-the-go.
“For example, suppose that before I depart for the airport, I quickly check my flight status by searching for ‘american airlines 19’ using google.com on my computer.
“Later, as I am hailing a taxi in rush hour traffic, I can open google.com on my phone, click in the search box, and choose ‘american airlines 19’ from the list of search suggestions,” writes Toshi Tajima, software engineer, Google mobile team, in a blog post.
The service requires users to be signed-in to the same Google account on both the computer and the phone when searching. In addition, Web History needs to be enabled for the Google account.