Google Goes All-In With “OK, Google” Hands-Free Search

google-conversational-search-featured The evolution of voice-controlled search into a virtual personal assistant took another step forward with Google's announcement that all Android-powered devices (KitKat or above) will now respond to the "hotword" OK, Google. Users can initiate a search or control and carry out any function on the device simply by saying "OK, Google" first and then asking the question or stating the command: "Call XYZ . . . open my email": Starting today, you can say “Ok Google” on your Android device whenever the screen is on or your device is charging. If you’re reading your email, browsing the web [...]

DeepMind Buy Another Google “Moonshot” Of Sorts

DeepMind logo Re/code offers some additional insight into the $400+ million acquisition of artificial intelligence (AI) startup DeepMind that was reported last week. The people at DeepMind will apparently work with the search team at Google but not exclusively: Or as search is known at Google today, the “Knowledge” group, so-called because it no longer just finds keywords on web pages, but instead connects larger concepts. Knowledge is led by Google SVP Alan Eustance, but DeepMind will work closely with a team led by Jeff Dean, a near 15-year Google veteran, best known for his work on distributed syst [...]

Google Finally Discontinues The Blocked Sites Feature

google-blocked-sites-1327326754 After over a year of the blocked sites feature not working, Google has officially declared they are discontinuing the feature -- two months after Google promised it would return. Google introduced blocked sites in March 2011 after struggling with various ways to allow searchers to block sites from showing in the search results. Google has tried browser extensions, SearchWiki and several other methods over the year. Now, the only way to block search results is with Google's official Chrome extension, or maybe some unofficial extensions for Firefox or Chrome. Google said: The Blocked S [...]

A Year Later, Google’s Block Sites Feature Remains Blocked

google-blocked-results-1326447832 In 2011, Google rolled out a feature allowing searchers to block web sites they don't like from appearing in its search results, which drew great attention. That got dropped last year, when Search Plus Your World was launched last January. A year later, Google says there are no firm plans for it to return. Google's Blocked Sites Feature The block feature, which was released in March 2011, placed a small "block" link next to any result in Google's listings: Clicking on that link prevented any pages from that web site from appearing again in your results at Google. At the time, Googl [...]

Of “Magic Keywords” & Flavors Of Personalized Search At Google

magic-keywords-featured When is personalized search not personalized search? A recently discovered shift on how Google may alter your search results based on what you -- and others in aggregate -- previously have searched for may have you wondering how to answer that question. To understand the latest development, I think it's helpful to go back and review the "flavors" of personal search that Google has, flavors that often all get mixed together. Let's dive in. Personalization Based On Geography Google has long had personalized search, where various factors are used to provide results tailored to the individual [...]

Why Google “Personalizes” Results Based On Obama Searches But Not Romney

google-algorithm-search-featured Do a search for "Obama," and you might find your subsequent queries for things like "medicare" seemingly personalized based on your initial Obama search. Do the same for Romney, it is doesn't happen. Is Google biased toward Obama, as some are now writing? No. Is it the "filter bubble" of personalization out of control? Perhaps not. In fact, it doesn't even appear to be personalization at all. The news of how searching for Obama can influence your subsequent search results came out in a Wall Street Journal story today, which conducted a battery of tests to explore the phenomenon. This follo [...]

Survey: People Largely Negative About Google’s Personalized Search Results

google-user-sad-frustrated-featured Last month, market research tool provider Ask Your Target Market surveyed 400 US adults about their attitudes toward personalized search on Google. The results were reported today in eMarketer's email newsletter. We went back to the source to check out the survey and discovered that the majority of respondents expressed ambivalence or outright dissatisfaction about Google's new more personalized search results. The first question asked was about the primary search engine used by respondents. Primary search engine: Source: AYTM, n=400 (1/12) Then the survey explored respondents [...]

Google: Ability To Block Sites From Search Results Will Return, But When?

Blocking Factors The ability to block web sites from search results disappeared when Google's new Search Plus personalized results format launched this week. Blocking was a feature added with great fanfare last year. Google says it will return, but the timing is uncertain. How Blocking Worked Previously, search results had a "Block All" link that appeared below them: Selecting that option would cause all pages from the site you blocked to be dropped from your future search results. This option no longer appears. Return Of Blocking Will Take "Some Time" We noticed the feature had been dropped e [...]

Google Announces Shutter Of Knol, Gears, Search Timeline & More

Google has announced the shutting down of several Google services from the Google Search Timeline to their knowledge site, Knol. Here is a list of services Google is closing in the near future or has already closed: Google Bookmarks Lists closing on December 19, 2011, which leaves searchers with no way to recoup their Google starred results. Google Friend Connect is shutting down March 1, 2012 and sending people to Google +. Google Gears will lose all support on December 1, 2011 but Chrome now has offline support. Google Search Timeline is currently not working anymore. Google Wave [...]

Blocking Sites Within Google Goes International

Google announced that the blocking sites feature introduced in the US based results in March this year, is now available internationally. Google's Johannes Henkel said "starting today, you can now block sites on most Google domains." Here is a picture of blocking Matt Cutts blog in Google France: As discussed before, there is a dashboard to manage sites that you block. So you can add new blocked sites, remove sites you blocked and so on. Google did not specify which international Google properties this does not work on, but they did say it should work on "most Google domai [...]

Google Buys Twitter Sentiment Analyzer fflick To Support “Contextual Discovery”

Google has acquired fflick, according to TechCrunch. The price is reportedly $10 million. Is it a talent acquisition, a tool acquisition or both? It's both. Using Twitter, the fflick service analyzes and organizes comments about movies: overall, most recent, positive, what your friends have said and so on. This is a very interesting service and it's easy to see why Google might want it. Google developed recommendations service HotPot to help improve Local (after the failed attempt to acquire Yelp). And Google has been doing a kind of sentiment analysis of restaurant reviews on Place [...]

Google Now With Real Time NHL Hockey Scores

The Google Blog announced over the weekend that Google partnered with the National Hockey Leagues's to get real time hockey scores on Google. You can try this yourself for searching on [NHL] or your favorite team while the teams are on the ice. You will notice real-time scores, schedules and team standings plus easy access to game previews, live streams, recaps and video highlights. What is interesting is that these are not a one box result, instead they are enhanced search results. The result is much richer than a standard rich snippet result. Here is a picture of the N [...]

Google Forcing Some Searchers Into 20 Search Results

For some searchers, Google seems to be forcing them into 20 or more search results on a page. By default, Google shows searchers 10 results on a page, but even if that searcher specified 10 on a page, some may be seeing twenty or more per page. Andy Beard and myself are in that test or possibly a weird bug group. When we search, I am on Mac Chrome in the U.S. and Andy is on Firefox in the Poland, we are getting 20 or more results per search results page. Personally, I am getting about 30 results and Andy is getting 20 results per page. Adding '&num=10' to the end of the search URL [...]

Google Adds A Filter For Finding Blogs

Google has added a new filter to its blog search option that makes it easier to find blogs themselves, not just individual blog posts. The filter is part of search, not Google's specific Blog Search service at The filter appears in the left-side menu. When you choose the Blogs option after your search, it defaults to showing individual posts. But below that is the filter to see posts or home pages. While Google's full Blog Search site doesn't have this filter, it does list blog home pages at the top of the search results. And, as you can see, the blo [...]

Google Kills SearchWiki, Replaces It With Starred Results

Google's SearchWiki, which launched 16 months ago to a mix of fanfare and controversy, is a thing of the past. The ability to re-order, remove, and comment on search results has been replaced by a scaled-down version that Google is simply calling "stars" or "starred results." According to today's announcement, the Stars feature will allow users to bookmark preferred pages so that those pages will show up when similar searches are done in the future. Google's example is a search for "nfl": Starred results will appear above and separate from Google's algorithmic results; using this fea [...]

Google Adds “Nearby” Local Search To Options Panel

Google has expanded the choices in its Search Options panel with today's announcement of a tool to refine searches by location. After doing a search and opening the "Show Options" panel, you'll see a new link labeled "nearby." Clicking that link leads to a few refinement options: You can use the default location Google has for you, or type in a custom location for your search. The other option is to select between City, Region, or State-level searches, as shown below. In these images, I've already done a local search on the term "seattle restaurants." This new search refinemen [...]

Google Adds “Page Preview” To Search Options

Google Operating System noticed Google has added a new search option named "page preview." If you go to Google, search on something and click on "show options," you can then look towards the button on the left hand side and click on "page previews." For example, here is a view of a search for apple with page preview selected. As you can see, Google adds thumbnails of the page directly on the search results. Page previews is nothing new to search, did it with binoculars and there are many Firefox add-ons that add page previews to the Google search results. [...]

Google Caffeine: Google’s New Search Engine Index

Google has just unveiled a "secret project" of "next-generation architecture for Google's web search". This new architecture appears to include crawling, indexing, and ranking changes. For the first time, Google isn't simply incorporating these changes into their existing infrastructure or replacing it. Instead, they're providing a developer preview and are asking webmasters and power searchers to try it out and give them feedback. Unlike Google's now-defunct SearchMash, which was intended for search experiments that wouldn't necessarily be incorporated into Google's main web search, the caffe [...]

Google’s Search Suggestions Change On Second Search

I am not sure if this is new, but when you look at the first search suggestions given to you by Google and then look at the second set of search suggestions, Google will change them, assuming you were not happy with the first set of results. Google Operating System just pointed this out and I have never seen it mentioned prior (doesn't mean it hasn't been mentioned prior). Here is an example of this in action: (1) Search suggestions by Google for the word [search]: (2) Then I land on the search results page and try it again, and notice that the suggestions are different: [...]

What Happened To Google’s ‘Commitment To Transparency’?

It's no secret that Google -- and other search engines -- uses a variety of factors to customize search results: your search history, your location, and so forth. If you misspell a word, search engines often guess what you intended to type and show auto-corrected results. But on Google's search results pages, it's becoming a secret when these changes are happening. Google Blogoscoped writes about Google ignoring some search terms altogether (as if it knows better than you what you meant to search for). The example in that post is a search for "dictionary cleaning up suddenly," in which Goo [...]

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