It’s often said that Twitter’s big advantage over Google is its ability to allow you to conduct ‘real time search’ – if an event is happening right now, you don’t search Google, you search Twitter.
But today Google has announced a series of features that, while still not offering real time search, take it just that bit closer. For me it is the most significant change to Google’s core service in years.
Here’s the video:
This week, while talking to my students about the ability to search by date in Google, the computer assisted reporting blogger Murray Dick mentioned how unreliable the feature was, so I wouldn’t get too excited.
What is new, however, is the ‘recent search’ facility, which brings up results from the past hour or two.
Perhaps most significantly, the intuitive nature of the controls makes it much easier to find relevant information – and has obvious uses if you are a journalist only interested in recent reports. I tried it with an event I attended today and the results were clearly better than a generic search.
The ‘Timeline’ feature is particularly useful – you can now drill down to a specific period, allowing you to do the opposite – rule out recent reports – if, for example, you’re looking for background on someone currently in the news.
Also useful is the horrendously multicoloured ‘Wonder Wheel’ which will generate related terms that you can browse through.
So, a search for ‘Paul Bradshaw’ brings up online journalism, journalism blog, Press Gazette and Birmingham City University – an obvious way to get an overview of the areas and companies a person is connected with, and drill down to information about those.
‘More text’ will give expanded descriptions of results; you can choose to include images from the pages; and it is easier to switch to searches of video, forums and reviews.
Also worth noting is that Google appear to now be supporting microformats: this means you can filter reviews by sentiment, and more easily disambiguate people in searches.
It also means you should be looking at using microformats for your own content, of course…
If you can see any other applications of Search Options, or find any features I’ve not spotted, let me know.
UPDATE 2: ZDNet spots the addition of public comments on search results. Very interesting.