Google unveils new search features

Google rolled out new web search features on Tuesday and an update to its “Sky Map” that can allow users of its cellphones to figure out which constellations they are looking at in the night sky.

Google’s new “Search Options” lets users “slice and dice” search results, narrowing them down in time to results from the past 24 hours, the past week or the past year, for example.

“Search Options” also allows users to confine their search results to videos, product reviews and forum posts on a particular topic.

Search results can also be viewed on a timeline displaying their popularity over time.

“We want to help our users find more useful information, and do more useful things with it,” Marissa Mayer, a Google vice-president said in a blog posting about the new features unveiled at Google’s California headquarters.

She described “Search Options” as “a collection of tools that let you slice and dice your results and generate different views to find what you need faster and easier”.

Google also previewed a new tool called “Google Squared” which is to become available later this month.

“Unlike a normal search engine, Google Squared doesn’t find webpages about your topic — instead, it automatically fetches and organises facts from across the internet,” Google said.

Google also showed off an update to “Sky Map,” an application for the T-Mobile G1 phone which uses Google’s Android software.

The application uses global positioning system and compass data and the date and time to figure out what celestial objects the device is facing at a given moment.

“If it is pointed towards Venus, for example, users will see a labeled map of the sky with Venus and the objects surrounding it on their screens,” Google said.

“As users move their phones, the map displayed on the screen adjusts accordingly, enabling them to point their phones at the sky and discover what they are seeing [or could be seeing], wherever they may be.” – AFP

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