Google Enables Search Filter for Animated GIF Images

Remember all those weird animated images (usually .gif format) which are often funny and got a new lease of life on Google+ for a while? It seems Google wants users to be able to search more easily for animated images. A new update that is rolling out on Google search, allows a new option in image search. Just under Images on Google Search, and look up under Type and a new filter called “Animated” is made available.

Google Animated Images

The animated images shown are mainly GIF format images. Earlier if you had to search for animated images, users had to use a search operator filetype: (Read about most commonly used search operators on Google).

Though I assume there would be significantly more people using the new search filter than there were who used a search query like “filetype:GIF India”.

The new search filter actually might end up being useful as a traffic generator for some websites. There are always useful things that can be illustrated or explained using GIF images. Also looking at my social networking feeds I am guessing there still must be a lot of people searching of animated cat images or something similar.

Do drop in your comments.

Asterisk: Get Personalized Results From Your Favourite Sites

Recently I came across this new search tool, that allowed me to search for related links from a list of custom selected websites. The new service called Asterisk Search works as a plugin on Firefox and Chrome. While visiting a webpage, if you want more related information, we just have to select the text and click on the Asterisk symbol.

Personalized Results Asterisk

Features of Asterisk Search

  • Install the GoAsterisk pluging for your browser. It supports Firefox and Chrome at the moment.
  • Highlight text from the webpage you are reading. A small asterisk symbol will show up.
  • Click on it and some results will show up on the left-hand column. There are some popular sites already added like Wikipedia as sources.
  • I could remove these sits and add and customize the sources as I wished. So next time I am reading something, I can simply search from the sites I want to look up rather than all of them.

The only downside of Asterisk is you need to register before you use their service. But you can easily sign-in with your Twitter, Facebook or Google accounts.

If you liked using Asterisk Search, you might also like to check these 5 online tools to search for similar images.

Do try out Asterisk and drop in your comments.

Link: Asterisk

Google Testing Horizontal Search Options on Search Results Page

Google search options are very useful if you want to refine the search. Most people who use Google tend to ignore the various search options on the left-hand column.

This is how Google search results page looks at the moment.

Today, I came across a new design by Google for its search results page. The options on the left hand column were neatly tucked away at the top, above the results.

This new change seems to mimic the way Google search results show up on mobile or tablet browsers.

I liked the new horizontal bar showing the search options, because it makes it easy to access. Usually in the long left-hand column format, the options show up one after another and that means users have to scroll up or down to get to navigate and choose different options.

This new design seems to be a lot more intuitive.

Have you seen your Google search queries showing up in such a design? Did you like the new horizontal search options design? Do drop in your comments.

Compare Bing VS Google Search Results: BingItOn

Microsoft has a neat little web tool, that allow users to compare the results between its own Bing search engine and Google. The site is aptly named BingItOn.com.

In other words, its a challenge by Bing to Google. It is suggesting that people are using Google not because it has superior results but because it more popular.

The point of the website is let users carry out 5 search queries and get results from Bing and Google side by side.

BingItOn: Compare Bing vs Google

Users then select which results page is better among the two. The trick behind it is users are selecting their their preferred search results without the knowledge of it being from Bing or Google.

I have always wondered if we are using Google over Bing just out of habit, but Google atleast to me, seems to give more relevant and current results compared to Bing.

I took the BingItOn face-off and found that Google ended up winning 4 results to 1 for me. But the site does claim that twice the number of users preferred Bing over Google.

I used simple terms like my own name, information on local restaurants, favorite movies, books and musicians.

Is Bing really better than Google?

In my opinion, I have found Google being very useful especially for local queries and also for looking up news. Google might be better with local results in India compared to Bing as compared to the United States or Europe.

Added advantage to Google is that a lot of people who are using it for search are already logged into the Gmail account. This allows Google to tailor results based on search history of that person.

Give BingItOn a try and leave the results in your comments. Also let us know if this will encourage you to use Bing instead of Google?

Link: BingItOn

Restrict Google Country Specific Redirection Page

Google redirects their homepage to a country specific domain based on the user’s IP address. For example, if I am in India and type in Google.com, I am automatically redirected to Google.co.in.

While this is a very useful feature, especially while carrying out a local search, it is desirable to shift to Google.com page and carry out the search.

Restrict Google’s Redirection Page

You can also restrict Google from redirecting you to a country specific search or results page by appending the URL with “/ncr”.

So for example you can type in “google.com/ncr” in your browser and you will not be redirected to a local domain like say “Google.co.in”.

Hence no matter wherever you are in the world, it will restrict Google from redirecting you to a country specific page.

NCR is a abbrevation of No Country Restriction. Thanks to Gokul for the tip.

Do try this out and drop in your comments.

Link: Google NCR

Is Google’s Experiment of Gmail in Search Results a Bad Idea?

Google is testing out a new feature, which is going to attract a lot of criticism and attention form privacy pundits. The new search experiment will show Gmail results on the main Google search page.

See the image below, it is an example of the new experiment. The search results show up as usual, but a drop down on the right-hand side shows results from Gmail.

The idea has a few people getting anxious about it being a major privacy issues. If people perceive it in a negative way, it might end up being a bad idea for Google. But I think showing as much information on the search page is actually a great idea.

Why showing Gmail in Search Results is a Great Idea!

Firstly, lets talk about privacy. The users have to be signed into their Gmail account while searching. Also I doubt, Gmail will show the results without giving users a choice.

Also the results will be shown in a toggle format, which will allow you to see the results only when you want them to be shown on the results page.

Google is basically trying to get all their products to work with their search page. It means being able to search the internet and your personal e-mail from a single source. I think it already shows results from maps and social (Google+) in the search page.

If you are interested in trying out for the new experiment, you can visit their Gmail Field Trial landing page.

I have opted in but the feature is still not switched on for me. When it does, I will surely write a follow up post and then maybe write about privacy concerns if there are any. ;-)

What are your views? Do you think showing email on the Google search page is a bad idea? Do drop in your comments.

Link: Gmail Field Trial

Google Introduces SIRI Competitor “Enhanced Voice Search” for iPhone

One of the major upgrade announced to the Google Search app, with Android 4.1 (Jellybeans, was its enhanced voice search feature. It allows users to speak into the phone a search query and get results spoken back to them.

Yes! It was considered Google’s own version of SIRI, which is a voice assistant app introduced with iPhone 4S.

Today, Google uploaded a video that shows the voice search working with an iPhone.

Note: The video is up but the updated version for iOS will be available in the next couple of days.

Apple’s SIRI as competition to Google!

I doubt Apple, realistically thought of SIRI as a competitor to replace Google. But a primary search feature, that is “NOT Google” on the iPhone, might have started ringing enough alarm bells at Google.

So now with enhanced voice search app, Google seems to have got SIRI covered. The only problem is how much will people actively use it instead of SIRI.

Google has recently pushed the Chrome browser for iPhone /iPad users too, which could be an alternative to Apple’s own Safari browser. Apple too is introducing a new Maps feature with iOS6 update. It will replace, Google Maps as the default maps application.

As long as these two companies are competing with new features and innovations, instead of law suits, I guess the customer is winning. ;-)

Have your used Google’s enhanced search feature on your phone? Do you think it is as good as SIRI or better? Do drop in your comments.

Link: Google Enhanced Voice Search

Google Introduces Scientific Calculator on its Search Page

Google has many search tricks up its sleeve. For instance we use it as a calculator or even a unit converter. Google has recently updated both its calculator and unit converter to make it more interactive.

All you need to do to launch it is type in “2+2” on its search bar to fire up the new scientific calculator web app.

Considering how common scientific calculators are as free apps on almost all platforms, one could wonder what exactly was Google was trying to do.

But being a web based app on the search result page itself, the calculator can be used across platforms even on mobile phones and tablets.

Also as most smart phones and even Chrome on desktops allow voice input, one could potentially use this app without the need to type in stuff.

Google’s Recently Upgraded Search Features

Google has recently introduced a lot of new and interesting search features. If you search for “1 kms = miles”, it shows up new interactive unit converter. It means users do not need to type in search queries for converting units over and over again.

Another useful search feature is “google.com/movies”. It will show up a list of movies playing in theaters from around your city.

Also you can check up on international flight arrivals and departures with its Flights search feature.

Along with these search features you might also like to check using different operators on the Google search.

Limit Search Results on Twitter from Users You Follow

I have always liked using Twitter a lot more than Facebook or Google+. It is a open platform and a constant stream of information on what is happening around the world. Most importantly it is not a network of friends and leaves it upto every individual user to decide what sort of network they want to build.

One problem I have always had with Twitter is the lack of search capabilities. Searching for older tweets is very difficult and sometimes impossible. If Twitter has to remain relevant and useful it has to get better at its search capabilities.

Today Twitter announced many improvements to its search features. These include spelling corrections, getting related suggestions and most importantly searching for a query by limiting the results from your followers. Just login to your Twitter account on the browser and search for a query.

Twitter Search Followers

As you can see from the above screenshot, Twitter now allows searching for results from the people you follow.

These search features are available on the Twitter website and the official Twitter apps for iPhone and Android. That probably means Twitter might not be extending this feature on TweetDeck. That would be disappointing news for TweetDeck or third part app users.

Do drop in your comments.

Bing partners Britannica Encyclopedia to create its own Knowledge Graph

Bing has announced a partnership with Britannica Encyclopedia, to give more relevant information for certain search queries in the search page itself.

This means using Bing, I could quickly find out some simple details about certain famous people or even certain things like a plant, animal or place. This sounds a lot like Knowledge Graph which was introduced by Google few days ago.

I decided to check out what Bing is offering with its tie-up with Encyclopedia Britannica. Below is the search result for a search term and I have highlighted the Britannica entry in the results.

Few things that stand out is that the link is not exactly at the top, which would have been very useful.

I carried out more search queries and found that Wikipedia entries almost always show up above the Britannica ones. It also has a lot less information that Google Knowledge Graph shows as you can see in the image below.

Google shows its Knowledge Graph results more prominently than Bing is showing up Britannica results. I wonder what exactly Bing is trying to do here but fixing these results at the top could be a good start as users are more like to actually look them up.

Interesting to note that Google tends to rely quite a bit on Wikipedia for its Knowledge Graph content while Bing has decided on Britannica. It is well known that Wikipedia was pretty much responsible for the decline of Britannica Encyclopedia’s printed editions.

Do drop in your comments.