Google Intros Two Search Features

Google searchGoogle introduced two new improvements to search results this week: better search refinements and longer content snippets.

Better search refinements tap into algorithms, mathematical calculations and semantic technology to help searchers seek and find information faster through keyword queries.

The technology that makes up this feature scans and processes Web pages in real time, sending each through a series of equations to generate associations to better understand related concepts from search queries. The technology mines million of documents and bits of data.

The algorithms check for useful information and attempt to make sense of keywords and patterns on each Web page. "We have a window of a tenth of a millisecond to process the information," said Ori Allon, technical lead for the Search Quality Team at Google. "We can do this with help from the great work others have done here at Google. You can imagine the parallel of work being done here."

The technology determines what makes sense in the context of queries, Allon said. The plan is to integrate the technology into other Google applications, but the Mountain View, Calif. company chose to work on search refinement first after observing people typing long queries in search boxes and not getting adequate results.

Now that this technology has been rolled out, user search history does not play a role in generating recommendations in search results, which had concerned some privacy advocates, Allon said.

Longer snippets -- the second improvement that Google rolled out this week -- expands the length of keywords that appear under each link in the search results when queries have three or more terms. This gives searchers an at-a-glance view at the context of each word in the search query. It also allows the person searching on the keywords to determine the correct page to click through without actually clicking on the results.

These longer search strings are intended to give people the opportunity to find what they seek with greater accuracy. But Google's mission to help people find information faster has some believing that shortening the time it takes for consumers to find information in less searches reduces the number of opportunities that brands have to reach consumers through organic and pay-per-click ads. Microsoft has been working on something similar in Live.

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