New Features For Google Search

For those of you that missed Google’s announcements earlier today, feel free to take a peek at my notes. There are some exciting things going on in the Google-sphere!  I’d love to chat about these new features and your opinions, so feel free to use the comment section as a discussion forum!

Firstly, and probably most exciting in my opinion, search by voice and image.  Later today, Google will be rolling out the ability, across Chrome, to search using images and voice.

Search by image started with mobile phones, using Google Goggles.  Users were able to take photos using their smartphones and perform basic Google searches.  Now, you can upload images and, basically, ask Google to figure out wht the image is, or where it can be found. To take advantage of this tool, visit, which was rolled out globally today.

Google assumes search by image will work best for images that are well documented.  As an example, Google reps stated that famous buildings would likely do well.  Images that aren’t ‘well known’ probably won’t work as well, at first.  This makes me think that image search will  be better utilized when looking for widely known places and products, which may mean a slow take off.  Those types of things are already pretty easy to find. Google noted, in regard to privacy, images will be treated with the same privacy constraint as other queries.

I’m interested to see how the ability to search by images will affect search.  How will we target images?  How will we negate irrelevant images? What the heck will my search query reports look like?!  Nonetheless, I’m excited to see the implications, positive (hopefully) but also negative, because the innovation is nothing short of amazing.

As far as search by voice, I have hesitations.  Does anyone use Google Voice?  It is hilarious to read Google’s translations of my voicemails.  They are notoriously horrendous.  Note: Google Voice is NOT the same as Voice Search but I’m sure the technology is the same. Here’s an example of Google Voice’s translation. The words Google is certain about are in black, gray means it isn’t sure.  Hint, the message had nothing to do with alcohol:

Still, if you want to give voice search a try and you’re using Chrome, you’ll start to see a little microphone in every Google search box. Simply click the microphone, and you can speak your search.  You can even use voice search on your mobile phone!  This is handy, because you don’t have to try to type on those tiny little keys.  Still, I wonder how accurate their translations are.  Also, voice search is currently only available in English.

Google Instant Pages is a feature that allows pages to load at a fraction of the speed of normal download rates.   Although pre-rendering has been around for a long time, Google claims Instant Pages is different because it executes javascript and downloads all stylesheets, so that everything is ready for the user, rather than just the basic HTML that other browsers sometimes pre-render.  They also note that Google Instant Pages would be useless without their ability to predict the searchers needs and wants because only one page per search will load as an Instant Pages page; this will most likely be the first organic result.

Google Instant Pages is currently in developer mode in Chrome, for those interested.  You can also download the beta release of Chrome, which includes Instant Pages.  Google expects to roll out Google Instant Pages in mobile form within the next few weeks.  Google assumes other browsers will pick it up soon.  Unfortunately, advertisers are still using the ‘regular’ load time. As they experiment more, they will apply it to advertisers but no dates or times were given.  This disappoints me and I wonder how the slower load time for ads will effect advertisers.  Will searchers favor organic results, if advertisers are noticeably slower?

When asked about the impact of Instant Pages on advertising, Google claimed that they have been seeing a good CTR, stating “as people save more time they search more which has a positive effect on our business ” I assume that in this case, they were speaking of advertisers privileged with the ability to test Instant Pages load times. When asked ‘How often can you predict Instant Pages?’, Google reps responded, “As we hone into all key factors, the number of times we predict confidently is far more than we originally thought.”  Not a very confident statement, if you ask me.  I’ll be interested to see how often the page selected as an “Instant Pages page” is the correct page that the user is looking for.

Later today, Google will also be rolling out Google Instant for images, mobile auto complete, query building, and Russian translation for Google Goggles.

Google plans to release all of their new features in a toolbar, which will allow users of other browsers to reap the benefits of Google’s innovations.  They also, of course, plan to roll out the features to all other Google devices including androids and Google TV.  There was not a time frame given.  To read more about Google’s announcements check out their official blog.