Google Gesture Search for Android on Google Maps?

Last week, Google published a paper on a way of navigating on touch screens by tracing out alphanumeric characters. For instance, if you have a list of contacts on your screen, and want to move down to a name that begins with the letter L, you would trace an L on your screen. Looking for a song on your playlist, you might handwrite on your screen the first couple of letters from the song title.

Six examples of gesture searches on a touch screen, from the Google patent on Glyphs.

The paper is Gesture Search: A Tool for Fast Mobile Data Access (pdf), and it tells us that Gesture Search is presently in use by hundreds of thousands of users, with a mean rating of 4.5 out of 5 for more than 5,000 ratings.

A Google patent application published October 14th, Glyph Entry on Computing Device, provides a number of details that the paper doesn’t, including a look at how this gesture navigation system might be used to navigate maps from Google Maps.

Continue reading “Google Gesture Search for Android on Google Maps?”

The Expertise of Google Custom Search Engines vs. the Wisdom of Crowds

This is the third and final (for now) part in a series on Google Custom Search Engines, and how information from custom search engines might be used in Google’s Web search.

In the first part of this series, SEO and Assumptions behind Web Searches, I described some assumptions search engineers often make that are challenged by a recently published Google patent application, Aggregating Context Data for Programmable Search Engines.

Quickly, those questioned assumptions are:

  1. Search Engines should avoid using information from external sources in learning how people search
  2. User data collected about a searcher’s past searches and browsing behavior can help identify the intent of that searcher during new searches
  3. User data collected about specific searchers, queries, and web sites can also be aggregated to help understand the intent behind a search

Continue reading “The Expertise of Google Custom Search Engines vs. the Wisdom of Crowds”

Google Quick Scroll – Good or Evil?

If you have the Google Toolbar installed on your browser, you may soon start seeing some odd behavior at times when you click on a search result.

For some pages, Google might deliver you to a page and may display a popup/information box on the bottom right of the page that covers part of the page. That information box may show one or more excerpts of text from one or more parts of the page that are “relevant to your query,” like in the following image:

A Google quick scroll popup/information box that showed up on a page I visited on a search for a search for google quick scroll toolbar.

If you click on one of the text excerpts, your browser will deliver you to the part of the page where that text appears, and possibly highlight the relevant section.

Continue reading “Google Quick Scroll – Good or Evil?”

Are Google Custom Search Engines Influencing Google Web Search?

This is the second part of a series on Google Custom Search Engines.

Why spend so much time looking at Google Custom Search Engines? Here are a few reasons which I’ve written about in previous posts:

  • Google Subscribed Links, which can be created in Google Custom Search Engines, sometimes appear in Google’s Web Search even if you don’t subscribe to those links.
  • Google’s patent describing their Trust Rank approach explores how the kind of labels used as annotations by trusted sources (such as some Custom Search Engine builders) might influence web search results.
  • Another patent application from Google explains how labels, which can be created in Google Custom Search Engines, might affect the classification of Web pages by Google, and help to define query refinements that appear above Web search results, as does an additional granted Google Patent describing how Google might be Filtering search results using annotations.

Continue reading “Are Google Custom Search Engines Influencing Google Web Search?”

Assumptions behind Web Searches

This is the first in a series of posts on Google Custom Search Engines.

If you’re interested in how search works on the Web, you may want to spend some time exploring Google Custom Search. It enables you to create a site search for an individual site, or a customized search engine on specific topics that may focus upon a number of sites that you can select.

There’s another reason to start looking at Google Custom Search Engines, or CSEs. A recently published patent application from Google describes how the Search Engine may use information from CSEs to influence what we might see in Google’s Web search. This post is an introduction to the topic, and it covers how search engines attempt to identify the intent behind queries and web pages.

The patent application, Aggregating Context Data for Programmable Search Engines, includes a fairly well written statement (for a patent application) about one of the difficulties that search engines face when trying to come up with results to show searchers in response to queries. I thought it was worth sharing here, and it provides a nice introduction to a longer exploration of how Google CSEs might be used to improve web search.

Continue reading “Assumptions behind Web Searches”