Google issues search game changer

LONDON - Google has implemented a number of changes to its search product including Guided Navigation in its results page, which will impact the way consumers research information and products online.

Starting this week, when performing a basic Google search a 'Show Options' tab appears on the results page, which allows users to customise their queries to include more videos, images, forum results, reviews or a historical timeline and related items.

These search filters are presented on the left hand side of the page and respond to user actions to enable further 'tuning' of the search.

Two other interfaces, the Timeline and the Wonder Wheel, allow users to interact with their search results on a level not previously possible on Google.

The Timeline is a graphical representation of the volume of returns over the total time period for which there are relevant results, for example between 1840 and 2009.

Users can click on the graph to narrow the results by decade. From there they can narrow by year and finally by month, reducing the number of results to a more manageable figure.

The Wonder Wheel further helps users to refine their search using Google's related search terms in an easy to use Flash tool.

This is a shift from the Google's previously stated position that the interface of its results page should solely focus on the search box.

Essentially, Google is offering the opportunity to sift and refine search results in order to narrow down returns without refining their original terms.

Search coupled with Guided Navigation is already employed by a number of major websites, such as Amazon.com and Tesco.com, which have seen improvements in key areas such as user engagement, page views, sales conversion rates and order value/basket size.

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