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Google search goes universal

In a revamp of its industry-leading Internet search engine, Google Inc. today introduced a “universal search” application that blends video, images, news, books, and local search results.

People searching for “I Have A Dream,” for example, will not only be able to get information about the Rev. Martin Luther King’s famous civil rights speech, but also view a video clip of the speech and scroll through books about King’s speech on Google’s search pages.

“Let’s face it,” said Marissa Mayer, the Google vice president for search results and user experience, when people type ‘big wheels races’ into Google, they want to see some action… They want so see some crashes.”

The new universal search application, meant to drive more traffic to Google products like its YouTube video clips, is the most radical of several innovations rolled out at a press briefing at the company’s headquarters.

Others include contextual navigation links on the top of search results pages letting users drill down into news, weblogs, images or other categories of information most relevant to their queries, a navigation bar on the top of Google’s home page that takes people to Google’s e-mail program, and a site where people can view the company’s latest experiments, like time lines or map views, and incorporate them into personalized search engines.

All told, today’s moves mark an acceleration of the company’s efforts to draw more computer users into the Google environment for longer periods of time just as rivals Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are stepping up their own search products.

If it can use these kinds of things to increase its relevance, Google can further increase its market share.


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