Google draws upon rival ideas with search changes

Mar 24, 2009 By MICHAEL LIEDTKE , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Google Inc. prides itself on setting trends, but it appears to be copying some of its smaller rivals with the latest refinements to the way it displays Internet search results.

After months of testing, tweaked its technology Tuesday to occasionally display longer descriptions of Web sites in response to search requests consisting of several words. The expanded snippets will contain three or four lines from Web sites instead of the usual one or two lines.

The switch is designed to give Google's audience a better sense of what information a Web site has even before users click on the link. It's something lesser known search engines already have been trying to do, either by posting longer descriptions or providing capsule snapshots of the Web pages that show up in their results.

In another minor change, Google said it has improved its formula for posting suggestions pointing to other topics that might be tied to a search request.

For instance, entering "principles of physics" into Google's search box will generate the usual list of 10 results on the first page, punctuated by a group of links at the bottom suggesting eight other related subjects such as "big bang physics." Now, however, Google thinks it can do a better job of deciphering complicated search requests and will highlight some suggestions near the top of the results page instead of the bottom.

This clustering concept was popularized years ago by IAC/InterActiveCorp.'s Ask.com and has since been copied by other search engines. Google's upgrade was hatched by Ori Allon, who joined Google in 2006 after selling a search startup called Orion to the Mountain View-based company.

Even as it appears to be catching up to Ask.com, Google also may be trying to stay a step ahead of its biggest rival, Corp., said Danny Sullivan, who heads the Land newsletter.

Microsoft has indicated it plans to introduce new ways to suggest searches to its users, giving Google more of an incentive to upgrade its own system, Sullivan said.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: UK: Former reporter sentenced for phone hacking

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google search gets semantic

Mar 24, 2009

Google on Tuesday modified its globally popular Internet search service to understand relationships between words, as the company bids to better grasp what Web users are looking for.

Google buys new search algorithm

Apr 10, 2006

Google has acquired a new, advanced text search algorithm invented by an Israeli studying at Sydney's University of New South Wales, it was revealed Sunday.

Recommended for you

Study shows role of media in sharing life events

3 hours ago

To share is human. And the means to share personal news—good and bad—have exploded over the last decade, particularly social media and texting. But until now, all research about what is known as "social sharing," or the ...

UK: Former reporter sentenced for phone hacking

10 hours ago

(AP)—A former British tabloid reporter was given a 10-month suspended prison sentence Thursday for his role in the long-running phone hacking scandal that shook Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

Evaluating system security by analyzing spam volume

11 hours ago

The Center for Research on Electronic Commerce (CREC) at The University of Texas at Austin is working to protect consumer data by using a company's spam volume to evaluate its security vulnerability through the SpamRankings.net ...

Surveillance a part of everyday life

12 hours ago

Details of casual conversations and a comprehensive store of 'deleted' information were just some of what Victoria University of Wellington students found during a project to uncover what records companies ...

European Central Bank hit by data theft

12 hours ago

(AP)—The European Central Bank said Thursday that email addresses and other contact information have been stolen from a database that serves its public website, though it stressed that no internal systems or market-sensitive ...

Twitter admits to diversity problem in workforce

15 hours ago

(AP)—Twitter acknowledged Wednesday that it has been hiring too many white and Asian men to fill high-paying technology jobs, just like several other major companies in Silicon Valley.

User comments : 0