Monday, February 26, 2007

Google PlusBox

Google aims at giving users the most relevant content in search result pages. Larry Page, co-founder of Google, stated that a"perfect search engine," is defined as something that, "understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want.". Long ago, Google displays OneBox above search results which are information Google identifies as most relevant to specialized information like weather and stock quotes. In the past few months, they extend this idea to something bloggers name it 'PlusBox' or 'ManyBox' which basically is similar information provided in OneBox displayed in an expandable box after individual search results. Currently, PlusBox works for stock quotes, in-site search, maps and directions, related blog posts about corporates, etc. Lately, they experimented videos on PlusBox which means users can play videos hosted in popular videos sharing sites (e.g. YouTube and Google Video) on the search result page. Here is how users benefit:

  1. Some users might be searching for simple answers to they query like an address of a hotel or wanting to watch the famous mentos in coke experiment. Conventionally, they will have to search, click on the top ranked results, redirected to a external site and then look for what they want again. With PlusBox, you never need to leave the search results page yet getting the most relevant information.
  2. In some cases, PlusBox displays more related internal links for a certain site which gives users a basic idea of what the site is going to provide and thus helps them quickly narrow down targeted sites.
  3. As mentioned above, PlusBox might show related blog posts or other related information which means users who are still struggling with what they are what to search for can have a glimpse of information beyond their query.
Apart from PlusBox, Google is actively doing experiments with a site called searchmash which integrates all sorts of results (e.g. image, blogs, wikipedia, videos) in one page. Google Operating System forecasted that Google might add in a Google Scholar PlusBox that shows information about scholar papers: the abstract, the number or quotes, the number of pages and links to Google Scholar. I would suggest:
  • Google Books PlusBox that shows books that mentions the keyword as well as information about the book such as table of content, preview of selected pages and search within book.
  • Google Image PlusBox that will display images within a site that Google think is related to the search term.
  • Google Paten PlusBox which is similar to the Books PlusBox but shows related patent information like patent summary, citations and drawings.
While Google is marching towards its ultimate goal as a 'perfect search engine', more testing will go on.

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