The Full March Madness Bracket Shows In Google Search Results

I suspect that most college basketball fans will be following the NCAA College Basketball Tournament on TV and via their favorite bracket contest website, but they could follow it via a simple Google search, too, if they want. As Google's Dan Vanderkam shared this afternoon on Twitter, certain college hoops-related searches are now showing the entire NCAA tournament brackets. You can see it via searches like [march madness], [ncaa bracket] and even just [bracket]. By default, it shows eight games from round one this week ... err, "round two" by the NCAA's weird current system ... [...]


Google Testing “Sources” Area With Info About Movies, Books, People, Music & More

new girl Last November, Google tested a new "Sources" section in its search results, in the third column where ads normally appear. It seems the testing is underway again, showing extended information about actors, films, musicians, people and more. It also seems likely everyone may see this extended information soon, and that it's the "search refresh" the Wall Street Journal wrote about in March finally arriving. Experiment Confirmed I noticed these appearing yesterday in my own search results, and Google has confirmed that there's an experiment happening: We're always experimenting with ways to im [...]


WSJ Says Big Google Search Changes Coming? Reality Check Time!

reality-sign-featured The Wall Street Journal is out with a story saying that Google is about to make one of the biggest changes in its history of offering web search, providing more direct answers and gaining "semantic" smarts to understand more about what words mean. I'm scratching my head, since Google already does this. Methinks Google's PR has exploded in ways it didn't expect. Beyond Blue Links! From the story, we learn things such as: Over the next few months, Google's search engine will begin spitting out more than a list of blue Web links. It will also present more facts and direct answers to queries at [...]


Google: No Longer Guessing About Celebrity Sexual Orientation

anna paquin Wondering if some celebrity is Gay, Lesbian, Straight or Bisexual? Plenty of people do and turn to Google to find out. But the search engine just stopped offering direct answers about these questions, after they became more noticeable. Google's "Best Guess" About Sexual Orientations Here's an example of one of the answers that were being shown, in response to a search for is anna paquin gay: You can see that Google provided a direct answer: "Best guess for Anna Paquin Sexual orientation is Bisexual." This worked for Paquin and other some other celebrities up until a few hours ago, when [...]


Bing “Action Buttons” Lets You Book Flights, Rent Cars & More

bing-action-buttons-featured Bing announced a new feature in the search results named "Action Buttons." Action buttons give you quick links to perform specific actions on specific web sites. IF you are searching for an airline, the Bing action buttons may include items like check flight status, book a flight or check in to a flight. If you are searching for a car rental company, Bing may offer you action links to rent a car, find locations or contact the company. If you are searching for a hotel, Bing may offer you action links to book a room, locations and their reward program. Here are some pictures: [...]


Slashtag.it: This Is What Google, Bing & Yahoo Should’ve Done To Speed Up Search

tortoise-hare-featured There are lots of different ways to speed up searching. Google, Bing and Yahoo all offer browser toolbars -- no need to visit their home pages, just search wherever you are. Google and Yahoo both have their own versions of "instant search," where search results appear as you type. Google's Chrome web browser lets you search right from the browser address bar. And they all fall short of my new favorite search tool: Slashtag.it. If you're really looking to search faster, this is the way to do it. Slashtag.it isn't a search engine; it's an interface that lets you access several dozen se [...]


Watching The World Series Through Google, Bing & Yahoo’s Eyes

The first game of the World Series is underway, as I write this. Curious about how it's going, I turned to the search engines to see if they'd knock it out of the ballpark with some instant answers. Yep, if you're a San Francisco Giants fan. Not so much, if you're a Texas Rangers fan. Google & The World Series Batting first is Google, where I did a search for giants, as a Giants fan might to get the score: Nice. Just what I wanted, the current score right at the top of the page, where the first arrow is pointing at. You Got Footballolate In My Baseballbutter! Notice the second a [...]


Bing Has A New Look, Now Hosts Deep Content In Search Results

While Bing is throwing a star-studded party to announce changes to its entertainment-based search results, there are several other changes that deserve a close look, not the least of which is the amount of deep content -- including full articles with thousands of words -- that Bing is now hosting in its search results. More on that in a bit. Look & Feel Let's start with the overall new look and feel that Bing has announced. The biggest change is that search options -- or, Quick Tabs in Bing-speak -- have been moved from the left-side column to immediately under the search box at the top [...]


Search Engines Get World Cup Fever (Some More Than Others)

The biggest sporting event in the world is underway and, if you're unable to follow along on TV, there's plenty of coverage of it online -- including all of the major search engines and Twitter. Here's a look at what you'll find on the web if you're looking for a football/soccer fix. Google Google seems to have been the last to rollout its World Cup information. Earlier today, I wasn't seeing anything special for searches like world cup schedule, but Google is now showing a list of upcoming matches. Still, Google is offering far less than Yahoo and Bing (see below) when it comes t [...]


Yahoo Covers The World Cup With New Shortcuts

The biggest sporting event on Earth is a month away, and Yahoo is out of the gates first to announce special shortcuts focused on the 2010 World Cup. Already in place is a general World Cup shortcut, and once the matches begin, Yahoo will have specific shortcuts for countries, groups, and individual matches, like these examples from Yahoo's announcement: These shortcuts will be available on 27 Yahoo sites around the world. Yahoo is also adding World Cup flavor to its toolbar. In addition to tournament coverage, toolbar users can customize the Yahoo toolbar in the colors of their favo [...]


Yahoo Goes Hollywood With New TV, Celebrity Shortcuts

Citing the popularity of entertainment-related searches, Yahoo's search results have gone Hollywood with the announcement of new search shortcuts for TV shows and celebrities. The TV shortcut shows the title and a short synopsis of the next episode, along with video clips and links to see photos, the show's schedule, and an episodes list. All of this content comes from Yahoo TV. Although my LOST example above doesn't show it, Yahoo will occasionally show links in the left column for related actors, shows, or movies. I'm guessing the query [lost] was a little too generic to prompt th [...]


Math Engines: For Multiplying Mixed Fractions, It’s Wolfram Alpha Over Google & Bing

Ah, math. It's why I became an English major. But now math is spinning back around and haunting me in the form of my fifth grader. Last night, I found myself dealing with how to multiply fractions as part of helping with his homework assignment. Um, yeah, I think I remember how. But to be certain, could search engines help as a double-check? Enter the awesomeness of Wolfram Alpha. Doing math through a search engine isn't new. One of Google's earliest parlor tricks was allowing people to enter math problems into its search box and get answers. Indeed, I use it for this more than my pocket ca [...]


Google Adds More Answers & Info To Search Results

Google has announced a pair of changes to its search results pages that make its search results pages more informational and give searchers information they're looking for without having to click away from Google.com. Events In Rich Snippets Adding to last year's announcement of rich snippets for reviews and people, Google has created one for events, too. Using the hCalendar microformat, Google will show information and links to specific events as part of the snippet below a search result. If you offer event listings, check Google's documentation for more on how to use this. Note [...]


Yahoo’s Search Box Gets Smarter

Yahoo has announced a new set of features for its Search Assist service that makes the Yahoo search box a lot smarter. Perhaps the main innovation here is the inclusion of content and information right inside the Search Assist dropdown. For example, do a search for a company's stock symbol, and Yahoo will show real-time stock prices and a couple related links before you even execute the search. Yahoo says similar features are available for queries related to sports, travel, and movies. Search Assist can now also help users reach other Yahoo properties more quickly. For certain qu [...]


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 [...]


Google Fires Back At Bing, Launches “Explore Google Search”

I wrote earlier that it was probably driving Google crazy to see people "amazed" that Bing is doing stuff that Google itself has long offered. Now Google's fighting back. The first shot? A new Explore Google Search page. Google's had help pages like this before. For example, this one still remains, showing various special features such as the ability to get weather results. But this new page is being featured right from the Google home page: The page frames many of Google's features in an easier-to-read format: And it comes with an introduction highlighting how serious G [...]


Translation: A New Instant Answer From Bing

The Microsoft Translator Blog announced that translation is now an instant answer in Bing, Microsoft's new search engine. Here are some examples: Google added limited translation as a OneBox over a year ago. But it seems like both Yahoo and Ask.com do not have smart answers for translation. Hat tip to LiveSide for spotting this. [...]


Big Upset: Live Search & Ask.com Win Kentucky Derby Search

The major search engines are often quick to point out occasions when they've done a good job anticipating searchers' needs and providing instant answers to search queries right in the search results; see this Live Search announcement about instant Oscar Award results as an example. But when they miss an opportunity? That's someone else's job. And over the weekend, Rick Duncan did just that when he compared Google, Yahoo, Live Search, and Ask.com to see how they handled the search phrase, who won the kentucky derby. The results? Duncan says Live Search was the winner from his Sunday mo [...]


And The Oscar For Best Search Engine For Oscar Winners Goes To … Microsoft Live & Ask.com

I've written about how hard it is for people to break the Google Habit (and see here) and consider other search engines. But breaking the habit can be done, and Microsoft's Live Search shows an easy win for this type of thing in response to a search for oscar winners. Check it out -- the actual winners are shown right at the top of the page: Microsoft talks more about this special feature in a blog post from Friday. And similar to Microsoft, Ask.com also provides direct answers: Now compare those to what you get on the same search over at Google: No actual answers, n [...]


Can Searchers Find The Superbowl?

Google Hot Trends can be a fascinating look at what has suddenly peaked the interest of Americans, and today everyone wants to know about the Superbowl. 35 of the 100 spiking searches have the word [superbowl] in them, and another 27 are Superbowl-related (including game-food recipes and team details). So how do searchers fare in finding out what they're looking for? Superbowl start time Google Searchers are most interested in knowing what time the game starts and what channel to watch it on. The number one search (and the most descriptive) is [what time does the super bowl sta [...]


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