The Feature Google Killed The + Command For — Direct Connect — Is Now Dead

google-plus-signs-600 Cast your mind back to November 2011, only a few months after the launch of Google+. That's when Google made one of its biggest Google+ification moves. It demoted a long-standing search feature involving the plus symbol so that searchers could instead more easily reach new "Google+ Pages" that had been launched. Today, this "Direct Connect" feature is forgotten and broken. How Direct Connect Worked When Direct Connect launched, Google promised that people could go directly to popular pages on Google+ by beginning their searches with a + sign followed by a few characters of the page's name. F [...]

Top 10 Search Modifiers: Why They Matter, What They Are & How To Use Them

Search Modifiers Google is working hard to improve search, and it's doing such a great job that the general public doesn't seem to be noticing. With the inclusion of personalization, localization, customization, and with the depth of data Google knows and understands about the average user, it’s easy to overlook how much goes into making a useful (intuitive) search. Especially when you factor in how little the average person understands Google, or how Google search actually works. Yet despite Google’s improvement, or perhaps because of it, people seem to be losing their ability to perform advanced s [...]

Bing Autosuggest Adds Brands, Movies, Albums, Places, Software, Teams, Animals & More

bing-search-featured Bing announced they have expanded their search autosuggestions to add more than seven new categories. Bing added autosuggest completions for brands, movies, albums, places, software, sport teams, animal species and more. This is in addition to Bing adding people, search history, news and more over the years. The example given by Bing is searching for the word [pitbull]. With this search, you may want results for the artist (a person) or the dog (a breed). In this case, Bing will serve up thumbnails with both the person and the dog. Here is a screen shot: Antonio Gulli, Principal D [...]

Google Drops Another Search Operator: Tilde For Synonyms

google-tilde-operator-gone Google has quietly dropped another search operator, the tilde (i.e., ~) search operator. Google Operating System blog noticed the lack of support for the tilde operator over the weekend. Reportedly, Dan Russell, a Search Research Scientist at Google, confirmed Google dropped the feature. Dan said the feature was dropped to "lack of use." Dan told Alex from Google Operating System: Yes, it's been deprecated. Why? Because too few people were using it to make it worth the time, money, and energy to maintain. In truth, although I sometimes disagree with the operator changes, I happen to agr [...]

Google Drops “Translated Foreign Pages” Search Option Due To Lack Of Use

google-translate Google has quietly dropped the "Translated Foreign Pages" search filter from the Google search options menu. Google tells us the option was removed due to lack of use, but they say they are still committed to making the Web available to as many people, in as many languages, as possible. The translated foreign pages search option enabled searchers to restrict the search results to specific languages only. So, if you want to search for something in English and then show results for that search result in French, you could have used this search option for that. Dan Russell, Google's Search R [...]

The Real Reason Google Wonder Wheel Died: It Was A Pain To Maintain

google-wonder-wheel-featured Several weeks ago we reported that Google had taken the Wonder Wheel service offline. Its removal was a surprise to all its users including the many K-12 educators. A Google spokesperson old us that Wonder Wheel was removed due to the "initial stage" of the Google website redesign but did not share any info when we asked if and/or when Wonder Wheel would return. Now, let's jump to the other day when I came across (by accident) a Google Help Forum post by a Google employee that was posted only two days after our Search Engine Land item. It provides a different explanation than Googl [...]

Official: The Google Wonder Wheel Is Gone

google-wonder-wheel-featured A Google spokesperson has informed Search Engine Land that the Google Wonder Wheel feature has been taken offline. The spokesperson said that the search tool was removed due to the "initial stage" of the Google site redesign announced earlier this week. The Google Wonder Wheel along with a number of other search refinements were formally introduced at the 2009 Searchology event but actually became available as part of a test a couple of months earlier. Wonder Wheel was used by SEOs, SEMs, and advertisers as a way to visually identify relationships between a search term(s) and related [...]

Google Instant, Meet Yahoo Instant – Er, Yahoo Rich Search Assist

Yahoo is following Google by rolling out its own version of Google Instant, with a twist. Called "Rich Search Assist," the feature automatically shows results as you type, though only in the top half of the page. Meet Rich Search Assist The screenshot below shows an example of this: As you type, Yahoo suggests search topics using its preexisting Yahoo Search Assist service. But now, next to the suggestions, Yahoo flashes up a closer look at the first result you'd get for each topic. As you move down through the other suggestions, the preview changes to match those. The short vid [...]

Yahoo Offers Handwritten Searching In Taiwan, Hong Kong

If you thought instant search suggestions and results was fun, get a load of this: At Yahoo Taiwan and Yahoo Hong Kong, searchers can handwrite their search queries and Yahoo will try to match the handwriting to letters, and then show suggested searches. It's all described in this Yahoo blog post, complete with screenshots showing how users can begin their search by using a "handwriting panel" next to the search button. Yahoo says that's the Chinese language character for the first letter of Lady Gaga's name. To the left of what the user has drawn, Yahoo shows six possible character [...]

Test: Google Updating Search Results As You Type

Rob Ousbey documented on video how Google is testing a feature where the search results on the page are updating as you type your search query. This is a form of search query refinement and Google Suggest that dynamically modifies the search results on the page as you type. Here is his video: The internet was buzzing about this feature over the weekend. I personally find this to be just a bit overboard. It makes the page jump around, I feel it can lead to confusion and other issues. Google sent TechCrunch a confirmation, calling this one of their many "search experiments." [...]

Google Disables Some Nationality-Based Search Suggestions

Google has crippled its search suggestions tool for some search terms that refer to particular races and/or nationalities of people. The company says it's a deliberate move based on Google's policy against violence and hate speech, and not a technical bug like the one that led the phrase "islam is" to be disabled earlier this year. More on that in a moment; first, here's what's happening. Searches for some queries that combine a race/nationality and the word "are" are no longer showing any Google search suggestions. You can see below that typing "muslims are" into Google's search box shows [...]

Bing Adds Search History To Auto-Suggest

Bing has announced that it's using your search history in its auto-suggest feature. In a post on its Search Blog, Bing says that "44% of non-navigational search sessions last longer than 1 week," meaning the inclusion of previous searches in auto-suggest adds to the convenience factor of searching similar topics/queries over time. Queries from your search history will appear in purple, while other queries will show in blue. The auto-suggest box offers options like "Manage History" and "History Off" for searchers who don't this feature enabled. [...]

Google Maps’ Search Suggestions Get Personal

Google has announced that it's now personalizing search suggestions that appear on Google Maps. It's an odd announcement to me, because I'm almost sure my maps search suggestions have been personalized for some time now. One thing that I haven't seen before, though, is the explicit notice beneath the suggestions that things have been personalized. You have to be signed in to your Google account and have Web History enabled for this to work. Mike Blumenthal raises the good point that having actual personalization in Google Maps would be a bigger improvement. [...]

Bing Updates Autosuggest With News & Trending Queries

Bing's autosuggest feature now provides more current suggestions as you type a query. Bing says that it's added "breaking news and hot trending queries" into autosuggest, with updates being pushed out every 15 minutes. So, for example, start typing "orange county" into Bing and the autosuggest feature will show a couple terms related to today's extreme weather. Bing hopes to improve some of the 45% of queries that it says "result in either a user conducting an immediate re-query, or abandoning the page altogether." But this is somewhat of a catch-up move, at least where Google is [...]

Google Changes How It Handles Synonyms

In a post on the Official Google Blog, Google opens up the curtains a bit on how it handles synonyms in search queries and results. It's a fairly detailed peek inside one aspect of Google's search algorithms -- an aspect that Google says affects a lot of searches: "...our measurements show that synonyms affect 70 percent of user searches across the more than 100 languages Google supports. We took a set of these queries and analyzed how precise the synonyms were, and were happy with the results: For every 50 queries where synonyms significantly improved the search results, we had only one trul [...]

Google Loses French Lawsuit Over Google Suggest

A French appeals court has ruled against Google in a case about the appearance of negative words in Google Suggest. According to the French legal site, and reported by BigMouthMedia, Google has been ordered to remove the word arnaque -- which translates roughly as "scam" -- from appearing as a Google Suggest term on searches for the Centre National Privé de Formation a Distance (CNFDI). Google argued that its Suggest tool is automated and based on the use of an algorithm applied to actual search queries. Google won the original lawsuit, but the appeals court didn't agree. I [...]

Islam Is … Blocked By ‘Bug’ In Google Suggest

Google says it's working to fix a bug in Google Suggest that is blocking search suggestions related to Islam. As The Next Web has reported, typing Islam is into Google shows no terms from Google Suggest. But replace Islam with a number of other major religions -- such as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. -- and Google Suggest shows a variety of terms, including many negative ones like ... is a lie, is false, is a cult, etc. The discrepancy between how these religions are portrayed and the lack of suggested terms for Islam is led some to accuse Google of favoritism. Not so, Google [...]

Google Adds Visited Pages, Past Hour & Fewer Shopping Sites Filtering

You like it! You really like it! It being the Google Search Options feature that Google added to its search pages back in May, the company says. So as a reward, Google is adding options to filter out (or highlight) pages you've visited before, pages that Google's found in the past hour and a toggle to show more or fewer "commercial" listings in its results. My companion piece, Up Close With Google Search Options, does exactly as the headline says. It will take you through ALL the Search Options that Google's offers in great depth, including the new ones. But for those who just want [...]

Up Close With Google Search Options

Now that Google Search Options has added new features, I thought it was a good time to revisit how everything works -- and in some cases, doesn't work. Let's get up close and personal with all the filtering options! NOTE: See Meet The New Google Look & Its Colorful, Useful "Search Options" Column for important updates on how Search Options described below now work. By the way, this is a long article. If you want a digest of what's new today, then see the much shorter companion piece, Google Adds Visited Pages, Past Hour & Fewer Shopping Sites Filtering. Using Search Options [...]

Meet The Google OneBox, Plus Box, Direct Answers & The 10-Pack

Google's "normal" listings show the title of a web page, a description of it (also called a "snippet") and the web page's URL. However, Google also has other listings that appear within search results that are designed to give access to some of its specialized search tools (such as news search), to allow more information to be shown than a standard answer provides or to show answers directly within the search page. Here's a short overview to these alternatives. OneBox Results OneBox results are when Google shows information within a special unit, often with images associated with [...]

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