June 16, 2011
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For all the talk about Android at last month's I/O developer conference, search is what butters Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) bread. The search king knows it, too, and yesterday it introduced new features to improve the user experience and set itself apart from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) .
- Voice search. Google teased this idea in beta around the time Mozilla introduced Firefox 4. The difference is, in March, Google was talking about speech-to-text. Now, Big G is enabling voice search on the desktop in a manner similar to how it does on a smartphone.
- Instant Pages. This is a preloading mechanism that builds on the accuracy improvements created by Instant Search. The idea, Google says in a blog post, is to preload pages even as searches are completing. That way, when you click a highly rated result, there's no wait time for the page to appear. (Expect Google to patent this idea if it hasn't already.)
- Search by image. Users can either link to or download an image to kick off a search. Think of it as Google Goggles brought to the desktop. The service was hit-and-miss in a couple of tests -- a Samsung smartphone was correctly identified, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wasn't -- but the idea is nevertheless intriguing.
Google also revamped its mobile search app to make it look more like the desktop version. New features include previews, a "plus" button for getting additional details on a query, and additional tools for finding local results, News.com reports.
All three features are interesting, but it's Instant Pages that I think could be the game-changer, and it sounds as if it'll be built directly into Chrome's rendering engine. Would the increased speed move more people to adopt Google's browser? Are you already using it? Please vote in the poll below and then leave a comment to tell us what you think of Chrome and Google's search technology.
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