Monday, 22 June 2009

Google’s Wonder Wheel

by Allen Gibson

It may have escaped your notice, but did you know Google has just been running a major experiment in their search results? Their search results will now, say for the query ‘money’, display a link in the top blue bar which will read “Show options...” Click that, and a bar laden with options will expand to the left hand side of the page.

The options include some features that you would not have seen before now. You can now filter your search results to display web content that has been updated as recently as within the previous 24 hours. You can also target your search to look for matching results within videos, forum entries, and reviews, as well as sort those by relevance or date. Furthermore, you can choose to receive snippets or the full text on pages as well as have the results just find images only. There’s also a timeline feature as well as suggestions to improve your search. Starting off as an experiment that was viewable by users on a selection of IP addresses, these latest features continue to bring new dimensions to how we find information on the internet. Gone are the days of scouring page after page of Google results; you can now find exactly what you are looking for, faster than ever.
One of the most interesting of Google’s new gadgets is their “wonder wheel.” This shows an interactive web which starts off with your original keyword in its centre and will list all the related terms around it. Clicking on a related phrase will then create an extension to this web that will also be encircled listing yet more related terms. And whenever you click on those terms, the web results continually grow to reflect your current topic of focus. This may be more gimmick than useful, but we are now seeing how flexible searching is developing, which is particularly useful as the number of websites grow by the thousand each day.
If you want to try out this out yourself, all you need to do is go to and begin a search, afterwards you will see “Show Options” link, click it and start your filtering. How often you will use it, let’s see, but when the time comes you will know its there and maybe even find yourself narrowing results before you even know it.

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