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Over the past few months, Google has integrated new search features into their flagship product – the search engine. As it is usually the case, they have added the new search options seamlessly, so that no one will get confused. In fact, I would be surprised if you haven’t noticed them.

The new options help to refine your search to show results in various types and sources (video, blogs, forums, reviews); narrow the time range to show results published within the last few seconds (i.e. real time) or longer time periods; exclude or include pages you’ve already visited; and play around with the way the results are display to show images, more text, plot them on a timeline, and more.

Get started

To see the new Google search options, click ‘show options under the Google logo.

New features -  what

A sidebar, called the option panel will open up next to the result. Let’s see what it offers.

option panel

Filter by type

The first group of options lets you refine the search results to show only certain types and sources of results.

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Videos: The Videos filter returns only video results. Alongside each result there’s a preview thumbnail. The option panel changes to display video related options, such duration, publication date, quality, and only closed caption (i.e. with subtitles).

videos...

Blogs: choosing blogs will return only blog posts. At the bottom of each search result there is a link to other posts by the same blog (not necessarily related to your search) and a link to pages that link back to the search result page, if such exists.

blogs...

Forums: Next, you can get only results from discussion groups by choosing Forums. This will be handy when you have a specific question, because you can ask for further elaboration form the people who’ve already related to the subject.

Reviews: This filter will show results from reviews sites. In addition to the usual results display, you’ll see other aspects of the review, such as rating or a quote of the review about the product or service.

reviews...

Time frame and previously visited sites

The next option group lets you set the time frame for the results. You can choose recent results, which will return real time results. Longer predefined time ranges are also available ““ one hour, 24 hours, a week, and one year. You can also choose a specific date range.

Below that group you can choose whether to get back only Visited pages or Not yet visited pages.

Refine and extend your search

The third group enables you to expand your search or narrow it down by offering related search terms or using alternate displays for the search terms and search results.

Related searches: Adds keywords and search terms that can help you refine your query. These show up as links above the search results.

Wonder wheel: This might be the most extraordinary new feature. The Wonder wheel is an actual wheel that shows up next to the search results. It helps you to extend your search by displaying associated search terms. When you click a term, it immediately suggests more related terms and display related results.

Wonder wheel...

Timeline: The Timeline view adds a graph that illustrates the results over time. This view also groups the results by date. Use it to find information about an event or other historical venue or person in which the time aspect is important.

Timeline...

Images, shopping and more text

Finally, you can alter how the results look like and choose whether to get more or less shopping sites.

Images from the page: This display is helpful to understand the search results with a single glance. It displays an image or two from each page, allowing you to visually comprehend the results without having to read each of them.

Fewer shopping sites/More shopping sites: According to your underlying purpose, you can choose whether to get more or less results from shopping sites. If you choose more shopping sites, Google will display items and prices directly in the search result page.

More text: In the standard mode, Google returns 130 characters of description for each search result (about 20-30 words). Choosing More text overrides this limitation and returns much more text for every search result, making it easier to find the right one.

What do you think of Googles new search features? Are they useful?

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