For the last 10 years, Google’s display of search results has seen a slow, gradual [some would say glacial] movement. Yes there have been improvements – the display of search results with similar and then cached options allowing for different views of the search results. Or users could resort to Advanced Search – but Advanced really narrows down the search results rather than controlling the display. More recently, Google has added icons to the end of each search that allows users to 1)comment on the search result, 2)promote the search result or 3)remove it [hhmm … more benfit to Google then the searcher].
Then Microsoft introduced Bing, Redmond’s redesigned search engine. Bing didn’t necessarily improve the accuracy or relevance of the search but rather allowed Bing searchers much more control over the search output and display. And Bing has won market share in the search game.
Well it was not a question of if; but when and with what Google would react.
Google Fast Flip – appeared in mid-September
What Fast Flip allows users to do is look at many webpages views on a topic and fast flip through them to find the particular story of interest. It is still a googlelabs.com app and has some restrictions on what can be fast flipped. For example I first tried “Flash GUI RIA” – no go. Then “Flash RIA” – still no go. And then finally just “Flash” and you see the results above. “Dragonboats” got nixed; but “Global Warming” had a full page spread. Since FastFlip is devoted primarily to newpaper and “magazine” websites, this restricted gamut of topics may persist. So expect Google Fast Flip to stay in beta until the service a)gets more traffic or b)improves its breadth. Like Sidewiki, FastFlip shows some very nifty GUI features. See for yourself here.
This week Google introduced Web Options.
Curiously Google does not identify these as Display options. On a standard search these options are hidden. But if you click the “+” icon between Web + Show options at the upper left of your Google search results you will see near instantaneously a sidebar of display options appear. Are they useful – yes indeed. Are they as effective or better than the Bing options? It depends on your choice of what is being searched. Do I expect more refinements from both Google and Microsoft of their offerings ? Yes indeed. The two software development giants are locked in a battle to show who can a)deliver search innovations of use to their customers and b)who can do so quickly. This reviewer thinks that Google has eclipsed Redmond in its ability to develop and deliver Web-based software. Redmond is bound and determined to prove otherwise.