This week in search 5/13/11

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, you can find what you’re looking for more easily, as we introduced Google Images with sorting and made Google Instant available for even more people.

Sort by subject in Google Images
When you’re searching for an image, sometimes it can be hard to describe in words what you’re looking for. Now when that happens, you can use Google Images with sorting to find that image more easily.

Let’s say you’re searching for a picture of [flowers]. It’s such a broad topic that instead of browsing through all the different results, you can click “Sort by subject” in the left-hand panel and your image results will be organized into related categories. The categories help narrow down your search and pinpoint what you need, whether it’s roses, lilies or tulips.

Instant on iPad and in Italy, Spain and Germany
This week, more people will experience the speed of Google Instant as it rolls out over the next few days to everyone in Italy, Spain and Germany, whether you are signed in or not. Additionally, if you’re an iPad owner and searching on, you can now see search predictions and results as you type.

Are you feeling lucky?
If you’re feeling lucky this Friday the 13th, see how fast you can try and solve today’s A Google a Day puzzle at

This week in search 5/6/11

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, you can get live stock quote updates, check out the top 40 doodles designed by incredibly creative students around the U.S. and visualize what one day of searches on Google looks like around the world.

Live streaming updates for stock quotes
When you search for a ticker symbol on, you’ll immediately see financial information right on the results page, but you used to have to refresh the page to get updated stock quotes. Now, you no longer have to refresh the entire page to see the latest price; instead you’ll see live streaming updates of that stock quote. For some markets, including the NASDAQ and NYSE, these quotes represent the latest real-time market data (be sure to read our disclaimer about real-time data).

The updates will appear in green or red as the stock price rises or falls.

U.S. Doodle 4 Google top 40 finalists announced
The judging results are in! The 40 student finalists in this year's Doodle 4 Google competition were announced this week and online voting opened to the public. With more than 107,000 submissions, the creativity of the K-12 students that participated was remarkable. Be sure to vote for your favorite doodle between now and May 13 at 11:59pm PDT. The student that wins will receive a $15,000 college scholarship and a $25,000 technology grant for their school, and see their artwork appear on the homepage on May 20.

Search Globe visualizes searches around the world
When you’re searching on Google, people all over the globe are searching at the same time, in hundreds of different languages. With the new Search Globe, you can see what one day of Google searches around the world looks like. The height of the bars depicts search volume in that region, and each different color represents the language of the majority of queries in an area. Because of the 3D graphics, you need a WebGL-enabled browser, like Google Chrome, to see the Search Globe.

Enjoy your weekend, and remember to keep your search skills sharp by trying to solve today’s A Google a Day question at

This week in search 4/29/11

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, you can find what you’re searching for a little faster, whether it’s a recipe, the time of the royal wedding or a local prayer time.

More relevant predictions in Recipe View
In the past, when you searched in Recipe View on Google, you’d see the same search predictions that you’d see on the main web results page, which wasn’t always helpful for specifically food-related searches. Now when you search in Recipe View, you’ll see more relevant search predictions. For example, typing [c] will give you predictions for [chicken] or [cake] versus [craigslist] or [cnn], and typing [co] will predict [cookies] or [coconut]—and maybe inspire you to make coconut cookies. This feature is currently available in English, with more languages and local delicacies to follow.

Rich snippets for prayer times
Rich snippets are the brief descriptions you see beneath search results that summarize what's on a webpage and provide you with more information before you click on a site link. For example, if you search for [events], you’ll see a list of upcoming local events on the results page.

Now, in addition to rich snippets for events, reviews and people, you can find local prayer times quicker and easier in your results. For example, a search for Islamic prayer times in London will show prayer times and locations. As more sites around the world use rich snippets for prayer times, you’ll start seeing results for additional cities.

The technology is open for use by religious organizations from any faith, and is particularly useful for Islamic prayer times, which are measured according to the movement of the sun. If you have a site with prayer times, you can update your site using the rich snippets format specified in Google Webmaster Central.

Google Instant in Japan
Searchers in Japan will now be able to see search predictions and results appear as they type. Google Instant will be available for everyone in Japan over the next few days, as well as for those typing in Japanese on other domains that currently support Google Instant.

Time for the royal wedding
The highly anticipated royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton had many people setting their alarm clocks to watch the live broadcast from Britain—which meant figuring out exactly what time the ceremony would be in your local time zone. To make it easier to tune in at the right hour, searches related to the royal wedding displayed a box at the top of the results page with the time of the wedding in your local time zone; this info was available in 23 languages. Congratulations to the happy couple!

As we head into the weekend, don’t forget to try solving today’s A Google a Day question at

This week in search 4/22/11

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 sped up search by bringing more predictions to autocomplete and enabling Google Instant in the new Google Toolbar 7 for Internet Explorer. You’ll also find more personalization for the tools you use most in this new version of Toolbar, as well as in Google News, which we updated with new features to help you find more articles on topics you’re interested in.

More predictions in autocomplete
One of the main ways autocomplete predicts searches while you type is by looking at the most popular searches on Google. This week we improved autocomplete for less common, longer and more complicated queries so that now we make predictions based on the last word or words of your search, getting you results even faster.

For example, previously you wouldn’t have gotten a prediction for [online store with underwater gadgets] since few people have searched for that exact query. But many more have searched for [underwater gadgets], so by looking at just the last part of what you’ve typed into the box, we can now generate a prediction for “gadgets.” You’ll see a dropdown box below the end of your search with predictions for just that word. This change is currently available for all users in English.

Google Toolbar 7 with Toolbar Instant
We continued to bring the speed of Google Instant to more places with this week’s launch of Google Toolbar 7 for Internet Explorer 8 and 9. Once you enable Instant under “Toolbar Options,” you’ll see search predictions and results appear as you type in the Toolbar search box. The new Toolbar also sports a cleaner look, and is more personalized—showing you only the tools you use the most. It’s currently available in English, but we’ll be bringing it to other supported languages over the next week. Visit to download the new Google Toolbar 7.

Automatic personalization and Recommended Sections in Google News
Yesterday, the U.S. English edition of Google News got two new features: automatic personalization and a recommendations gadget. When logged into your Google account, you’ll now see stories based on your news-related web history. For instance, if you click on a lot of articles about baseball, we’ll make sure you get a chance to see breaking baseball news. In the new Recommended Sections in the right-hand column, you’ll see suggested topics to follow based on stories you’ve clicked before. Learn more about personalization features in the Help Center.

Finally, before you head off for the weekend, don’t forget to test your search skills and try solving today’s A Google a Day question at

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:

This week in search 4/1/11

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 a few updates to help people around the world access relevant information. We introduced a new +1 button to help you and your friends find the right results at the right time, enhanced financial search results on your mobile phone, added local domains in new countries and introduced Voice Search in new languages.

+1 to share your recommendations with the world
The +1 button is a new, quick way in Google search to say “this is something you should check out.” Click the +1 button to publicly give a search result or an ad your stamp of approval, sharing your recommendation with your friends and contacts so they’ll find it right when they want it. For example, if you recently stayed at a ski lodge that you loved, you can +1 that webpage and your friend will see your +1 when it matters most to him—when he’s searching for a place to stay in Lake Tahoe.

+1’s are slowing rolling out alongside search results and ads in English on, and in the future they’ll appear in many more places (including other Google products and sites across the web). You can try the +1 button now by opting in at

New financial search results on mobile
When you’re checking on the latest in the stock market, you may be interested in seeing more than just stock quotes. This week we updated the search result format for financial results on iPhone and Android-powered devices. You can now interact with the results in new ways to see a company’s performance over various date ranges, and if you swipe the screen from right to left you can see recent financial news for the company, glance at a market overview and check how the stocks in your portfolio are doing. If you currently have your language preference set to English, just go to and search for a stock ticker symbol to see the new format.

Example searches: [TSLA] [F] [NFLX]

Click different date ranges to change the chart and see a company’s performance over time

Finding similar images
When you’re searching for a picture and find a result that’s close to what you want but not exactly right, you can use "Similar images" to find images that are visually similar to a particular result, so you can get to that perfect result. We’ve updated the index of similar images, so now you’ll find more recent and comprehensive results. Now you can even find similar images for a recent news event, like when Google went Gaga. Try it yourself by hovering over an image search result and clicking the “Similar” link.


New Google domains in Iraq and Tunisia
Yesterday we added two new regional domains in the Middle East: for Iraq and for Tunisia. The new domains make it easier for people to access Google in their preferred language and also to find locally relevant information. This brings the number of local Google search domains worldwide to 184, with 15 domains in Arab countries.

Google Iraq homepage in Arabic

Voice Search in new languages
This week we introduced Voice Search in Indonesian, Malaysian and Latin American Spanish. With the help of local people in the region, we were able to capture regional accents and conversational speech to more accurately resemble everyday use of the languages. We also made sure to pay attention to languages with different accents, so we could build a version of Voice Search that, for example, could work across the whole of Latin America. With these new additions, Voice Search is now available in over two dozen languages and accents since it first launched in November 2008.

We’re hiring Autocompleters!
On the search team, we’re always looking for new talent. Today, we’re making a big push to expand hiring for Autocompleters. If you happen to be in the market for a new job and have psychic tendencies, we encourage you to consider applying. Watch this video to hear from a real Google Autocompleter.

This week in search 3/25/11

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.

Time is a precious commodity for most of us. To save you more precious seconds as you search, we’ve introduced Google Instant in Places View and redesigned the Google Search app for iPhone for faster, easier searching—whether you’re on your way out or already on the go.

Instant for Places View
As part of our ongoing effort to give you the Instant experience everywhere on Google, this week we’ve enabled Instant in Places View so you can find where you want to go even more quickly. To get to Places View, click “Places” in the left-hand panel; once you’re there, any search you perform will have place and map results that update as you type. We’ll continue to expand Instant to all views, languages and domains over the next few months.

Google Search app for iPhone
The redesigned Google Search app for iPhone, formerly known as Google Mobile App, improves the Google search experience on iOS mobile devices, giving you intuitive gesture controls. First, when browsing through search results or looking at a webpage, you can swipe down to see the search bar to type in a new query or change your settings.

The redesigned home screen of Google Search app

There’s also a new toolbar that makes it easier for you to filter your results—for example, if you only want to see images or shopping results. You can open this toolbar by swiping from left to right.

The toolbar helps you filter your results

Plus, now it’s easier to pick up searching where you left off. If you leave the app and come back later, you’ll be able to get back to exactly where you were by tapping on the lower part of the page. To use the Google Search app, download or update it in the iTunes App Store.

Search in Cherokee (ᏣᎳᎩ)
With translation help from the Cherokee Nation staff and community members, we’ve added Cherokee (ᏣᎳᎩ) as an interface language on Google. You can set Cherokee as your default from the Language Tools page (available to the right of the search box). We’ve also included an on-screen Cherokee keyboard—which you can access by clicking the icon at the right side of the search box—for people who don’t have a physical Cherokee keyboard.

This week in search 3/11/11

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.

When searching, sometimes you have a pretty good idea of what you want to see and what you don’t. With features like Google Instant and Instant Previews, you’re able to quickly scan results to find exactly what you’re looking for. This week’s changes continue to make Google more interactive so you can get to your desired search result even faster—whether you’re on the go, looking for videos or weeding out unhelpful search results.

Instant Previews for Videos
When it comes to videos, people want to spend less time searching and more time watching. That’s why we added an enhancement to Instant Previews—the ability to preview videos. Click once on the magnifying glass next to the title of any video search result in universal or video mode. For some videos, you'll now be able to play through a set of four short segments from the video to see if it’s what you’re looking for (video providers have to opt to make the previews available, so you won't find it for every video yet).

Example searches: [roy halladay], [bi-winning], [heat vs. lakers]

Instant Previews for Mobile
When you’re searching on your mobile device you want to find what you’re looking for fast. Similar to the desktop version, Instant Previews for mobile displays search results in the form of webpage snapshots, so you can visually compare results without having to go back and forth between websites and search results. To use Instant Previews, go to on your Android (2.2+) or iOS (4.0+) device and tap on the magnifying glass next to any search result. You can quickly scroll across previews by swiping with your finger and when you find one you like, tap on the preview to go straight to the page. Try searching for [honeycomb] or [how to poach an egg] on your phone and preview the results to find what’s most interesting and useful to you.

Scroll across Instant Previews of search results on your mobile phone

Hide sites to further personalize your search results
Have you ever clicked on a result and come right back to Google to look for another one? Sometimes, this happens when the first result just isn’t quite right, but other times, it could be because the entire site seemed offensive or of generally low quality. Yesterday, we announced a new option for times like these, so you can further personalize your search results and block sites that you don’t find useful. When you click a result and then return to Google, you’ll find a new link to “Block all results.” If you click the link and confirm it, the domain won’t appear in your future search results.

The next time you do a search that would normally return results from a site you’ve blocked, you’ll see a message telling you that results have been hidden from view. You can also manage your list of blocked sites from a separate page, which is accessible via your Search Settings, when you block a site, and when you see a blocked results reminder.

This week’s changes are designed to give you more control over the information you find on Google, so you can quickly decide what’s most useful to you and get to the result you need. Information has been exploding on the web for years now, whether it's real-time, video or blog posts, but one thing has stayed the same—your time. That's our inspiration for coming to work every day: to look for new ways to help you pinpoint exactly the information you need in seconds.

This week in search 2/11/11

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.

With features like Instant, the dynamic left-hand panel of tools, voice search and Google Goggles, search is becoming more interactive all the time. You don’t just type and query and hit enter: you can speak your search query, and whether typing or speaking, you can search in a kind of conversation, with the results and search tools updating dynamically based on just a few characters. This week’s changes all continue to make Google more interactive and responsive to your intentions, whether you’re looking for a vector graphic file for a presentation, getting Google Instant results or looking for a fun distraction in the middle of the workday.

Instant satellite and terrain maps on Google results
We love the satellite and terrain views you can get in Google Earth and Maps, but shouldn’t you be able to get those views right away on the results page without having to click through to Maps and then click the “satellite” or “terrain” option? Well now, when you’re looking for these specialized map views, you’ll get them instantly on your main results page. For example, if you search for [honolulu satellite map], you’ll see the city’s lush green interior and deep blue ocean right in your search results. Click the map to jump directly to a larger view.

Example searches: [satellite map of moscow], [yosemite terrain map]

New ways to find Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG) files
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVGs) are files that describe how to draw the basic elements needed to create an image: elements like lines, circles, polygons and more complex shapes. Unlike the images typically returned by most search engines (for example, JPG, GIF and PNG), SVGs can be stretched to any size without the quality of the image suffering. This makes them ideally suited for things like clip art, maps, logos, flags and scientific diagrams. In December, we announced we were starting to return SVGs in our results; more recently, we made it possible to refine your search to exclusively return SVGs. Click “Images” in the left-hand panel, then "Advanced Search” and then select the SVG filetype. If you want to impress your friends, you can also add “filetype:svg” to any normal search, such as [graph theory filetype:svg]:

Example searches: [world map filetype:svg], [flag filetype:svg]

Chrome Instant ready for prime time
If you haven’t yet tried Instant on Chrome, now is a great time to check it out. Instant on Chrome arrived in the stable build last Thursday, which means it’s ready for prime time. Chrome brings the Instant experience to a whole new level—not just search results, but also webpages begin loading as soon as you start typing. To try it out, download the latest release and enable Instant in the “Basics” tab of Chrome’s options.

Celebrating Jules Verne’s birthday by diving into the depths
We’ve been having fun with some unique and interactive doodles lately, and this week was no exception. On Monday visitors to Google were invited to navigate the Nautilus and dive down into the depths. Pull the lever or tilt your computer (side note: who knew my laptop had an accelerometer?) and the Nautilus will follow. If you missed the doodle, you can still play with the underlying graphic in full view and HD!

It turns out you can do a lot of wild things on can talk to it and, sometimes, you can play games right on our homepage—but at the end of the day, the most important thing you can do is find the best answer to your question.

This week in search 2/4/2011

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 it got just a bit faster to find the right things to buy and the right places to go, with a little help from Google—and your friends. Simply type a few characters and get Google Instant results in the “Shopping” view, and find recommendations from your friends with Hotpot in search results.

Instant results in the “Shopping” view
Now you can shop faster than ever and get the speed of Google Instant when comparing prices, looking for nearby stores and learning about products you want to buy. For example, if you’re searching for a cast iron skillet, we’ll start showing you relevant pans as you type [cast iro...]. Click “Shopping” in the left-hand panel and try searching for [sweater wrap shawl], [android phone] or anything else.

Now results will appear as you type in the “Shopping” view and in Google Product Search

Hotpot recommendations in search results
Earlier this week we added Hotpot recommendations to regular search results on Google. So now, if you’re looking for restaurants in San Francisco, you can simply search Google for [restaurants sf]. If a friend has rated a particular place, you might see her opinion right beneath the listing. We also expanded Hotpot to 38 new languages so people can share their favorite places around the world.

Hotpot recommendations from your friends now appear right in your usual search results

Whether you’re cooking at home or dining out, we hope this week’s updates help you find what you’re looking for just a little bit faster.