Google showcases new experimental search views: map, timeline, info

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google_experimental_labs.pngGoogle has announced a trio of new views for search results, currently in an experimental stage. They provide some useful alternatives to the bog standard “ten results per page” text links many Google users are most familiar with.

Combining Google Search with Google Maps unsurprisingly gives rise to the Map view, which will plot the key locations contained within a batch of search results on a map.

Great for a school project — a slapdash one at least — is the Timeline view, though this potentially needs to be taken as carefully as one would, or should, treat Wikipedia. It lists search results as usual, but plots a timeline graph along the top of the page, showing when things happened (according to the search results). Looks good for an overview of a person, a historical event, or a concept, which can lead to further study.

Finally, the info view features a new control panel to the right-hand side of the regular search results listings. It allows you to change what summary information is displayed beneath each search result. Usually it’s just a couple of lines gleaned from the web page, but now mentions of dates, locations, measurements, and images, can be highlighted instead.

We’ve all probably got used to the standard Google search page, and then been frustrated at the lack of tools for narrowing down search results. While this probably won’t help to filter out junk web sites, it does at least allow for new ways of visualising useful information.

If you want to try it out, visit the experimental search page for more info, or read Google’s official blog entry.

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Andy Merrett