Since Google’s Inside Search event i’ve been trying to figure if the new Google search stuff is groundbreaking or just convenient. With five new additions to Google search on the desktop and on mobile it’s obviously a great improvement but it’s still left me feeling a little cold.
Without a doubt, image search seems insane - allowing you to perform a Google search with and image, I can’t figure how it would work in practice with a genuine use case though, typically when you have a photo, you took it, so you will know a decent amount about it, more than Google will. All I can entertain is the idea that it will help you identify “mysterious creatures” as the demo video suggests. It would be great for identifying animals, places, people you can’t remember the name of, however Google reports that it simply ‘compares pixels’ and works best with things well documented on the web1, personally I think it’s a bit of a gimmick with no really useful purpose, will it make people use Google over Bing? Hell yeah, like I said it’s a gimmick but it’s not particularly blowing my mind.
One thing that really made me smile was Google Instant for Mobile:
Google is launching Google Instant for Mobile, which is very similar to Google Places, but right on the Google Mobile homepage. The next time you’re out and about, simply launch Safari and visit the homepage to access location based shortcuts that’ll help you find food, drink, fuel, and more with simple tap based navigation. The results are integrated with Google Maps, so you can location based results closest that are ranked closest to you. On top that, you’ll have access to phone numbers, reviews, and directions from a pull down menu under each result.
This sounds and looks slick, to find locations around you, you don’t even have to type, it looks similar to what Microsoft is doing with Bing on Windows Phone 7 with local results, it allows you to get in, get out and things done quicker. I think thats really what we need in the mobile space and is awesome to see Google pushing it. As another addition to Google Mobile search they’ve also made it easier to “to build longer, more complicated searches” which basically allows you to build on your existing search with suggested phrases to refine it, again adding to the get in, get out and things done quicker style that Google Mobile search is going with it means you can simply tap to refine your search rather than spending time typing.
Everything else just feels like a convenience, Google also announced Voice Search on the desktop which seems strange to me, it obviously works well on Mobile devices because you’re mobile, but on a desktop when you’re going to be using the keyboard and mouse a second later anyway, it feels out of place. They also announced Instant Pages:
Instant Pages can get the top search result ready in the background while you’re choosing which link to click, saving you yet another two to five seconds on typical searches.
Although Instant Pages may be a technical feat, it just makes you get places quicker and users wont even pick up on it unless they’re told explicitly it’s Google doing it: they’ll just think its their internet connection.
I respect Google for innovating and releasing this stuff that will put them ahead of Bing, and I really want Google to be “the third half of my brain” but Instant Pages, image, and voice search aren’t doing that for me. I would love to see them keep innovating on mobile search and I think thats where Google can grow in terms of search intelligence, knowledge and logistics with them knowing where you are and what you’re doing, and I know they’ll get there in the end, but i’d prefer it now.