Friday, October 26, 2007

SearchMash Goes Flashy

SearchMash, the experimental site operated by Google to test new searching experience, had a recent upgrade. Instead of the previous simple HTML version, they launched a flash version which is very unlike Google's usual practice of keeping things simple. However, SearchMash is still kept ad-free. The new interface is a complete makeover adding more interactive elements.
Here is how it looks like when you search for 'iPhone':
SearchMash implements Snap Shots preview technology so that a preview is shown on the right (which is called the 'preview area') together with site information as well as other typical functions such as search within site and go to cache page. You may navigate the results by clicking on them, using the arrow keys on your keyboard, or by scrolling. To open a result, you will have to double-click. And when you open a result, SearchMash follows you by adding a frame at the top:
To go to image results, simply click on the 'Image' tab and without loading the entire page, only the search result section would reload. You will still get a preview of the site that hosts the image as well as the size (width and height) and file name:
And just like web search, you will have to double-click the image to open results. For video results, I personally think it is the most useful and user-friendly. Instead of a preview, you can actually watch videos hosted on YouTube or Google Video on the right using the embedded player without leaving the results. Useful information about the video such as the title, author, duration and description are also shown. Similarly, you navigate by either clicking, using arrow keys or scrolling:
SearchMash brings Google Maps right into the search results. They kept the familiar interface and everything works exactly the same expect it is much faster and interactive:
SearchMash also provides more specific searches such as Wikipedia and blog search. You can see them by clicking on the "More" menu. You can view your search history, change your search preferences in the menu on the left.

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