What's New in Search - July 2010

JULY 2010

New Features in Google Image Search

Google is rolling out a bunch of new features for Google Image Search in late July. These features include the “similar images” and “similar colors” refinements, dense tiled layout, instant scrolling (just like Bing’s), larger thumbnail previews, hover pane, new image landing page, and optimized keyboard navigation. The similar images feature uses labels on other images across the web to classify unlabeled images, According to the example used in Google’s blog, an unlabeled image of a certain subspecies of leopard could be identified as belonging to a particular species based on the labels of the other leopard images online. The similar colors refinement works by taking your query (i.e. “brown bears”(, scanning its image database for images of bears, recognizing the images that have brown bears in them (as opposed to brown backgrounds or other brown objects), and returning images of brown bears to you.

Google Acquires Metaweb

Google has acquired Metaweb, a company that maintains an open database of “12 million people, places, and things in the world.” These can be anything–movies, books, companies, cities, actors, etc. Google plans to use the acquisition to help it organize data and, ultimately, more accurately search the web for very specific search queries, such as “colleges on the west coast with tuition under $30,000.” It’s also worth noting that Bing already integrates Metaweb’s Freebase data into its search results, so Google is playing catch up to some extent.

Yahoo! Begins Testing Bing Search Results

Recently, Yahoo! began testing organic and paid search results from Microsoft’s Bing. In this image, the results powered by Bing are shown in the two yellow boxes, while the rest is still provided by Yahoo!. According to Yahoo!, the test can be scaled up to include as much as 25% of U.S. search traffic and will use several different product configurations. Yahoo$ will also be testing Bing organic and paid results in Yahoo! Mobile soon. Assuming the tests go well, Yahoo! expects that Bing will power its organic results for desktop and mobile in August\September and paid results by October.

Bing Rolls out Bing Entertainment

In the latest release of Bing’s search index, Microsoft has focused on upgrading the search experience for music, gaming, movie, and TV-lovers. Thus, Bing Entertainment was born. Using the Bing Entertainment portal or by simply searching at Bing.com, you can find song lyrics, play full-length MP3s for five million songs, search for and instantly play 100 games (like Bejeweled), search for and watch full-length TV episodes from over 1,500 shows, find the TV schedule for your area\provider, and find movie information, including reviews from your favorite critics, real-time Twitter and Facebook comments, and traffic and driving directions. With the new features, Bing matches Google in some areas (like music), while exceeding Google in others (like games). It’s great to see competition back in the search market and even better to see that competition is driving a better user experience.

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