Google Searches Experience Some Improvement Tweaks

There is little doubt that Google is the dominant force in today’s search engine market. This does not mean, however, that they should sit back and relax. Luckily for many users of the popular search engine, Google believes in improvement, as evidenced by some recent tweaks made to improve the usability of its search engine that were announced on the company’s blog on Friday, April 16.

In all, there were three major improvements added to Google’s search engine capabilities. The first improvement comes in the way of localized Google Suggest.  Although localized Google Suggest was introduced to users last year, it was done so only in a manner that would suggest localized sites on a per-country basis. For example, users in London might see different suggestions than users in New York. 

This time around, however, users in the United States can experience a more enhanced version of localized Google Suggest that will offer results based on the largest metropolitan area they are closest to. So, if a person in San Francisco types in “bart,” they could likely be searching for information on the region’s Bay Area Rapid Transit system, rather than sites related to the popular TV character, Bart Simpson. 

Another example would be a web surfer in Miami who begins to type “dolphin” into the search form, which would now yield suggestions related to the area’s local football team, rather than the animal itself. These localized suggestions, new to users within the United States, should definitely add a little speed and ease to searches, and might help them find what they are looking for in a more streamlined manner.

The second major improvement to Google’s search engine revolves around spelling enhancements for names. As of right now, users in the United States will be the first affected by the name spelling improvements, with more enhancements coming in the near future for global users. The name spelling enhancements were made due to the fact that several people have names that are difficult to spell.  With that in mind, Google has added some extra clues within their suggested search queries to help users find what they are looking for. 

For example, a suggestion such as "matthew devin oracle" could be given, with “oracle” added at the end as a possible clue or suggestion to the user. Another example could be “simon tung machine learning,” with "machine learning" added to the end as a specific suggestion to the searcher. Considering the difficulty with spelling many names, these added enhancements should help users when searching for people, as they give added clues for the context in which the search is being performed.

The third and final search enhancement comes in the form of spelling auto-correction. While in the past Google used the “Did you mean” link at the top of results in the event of a misspelling, the search engine will now send users directly to the intended spellings’ results. This will happen when there is an extremely high probability that the user misspelled the word, saving them time by omitting the need to click the “Did you mean” link at the top. This correction has been made globally, spanning 31 different languages.

Despite its current dominance, it’s nice to know that Google’s minds are still churning out new ideas for improvement that should not only help them retain their current market share, but also keep users satisfied.

For more on Google’s search engine improvements, visit: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2010/04/google-impro

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