Google Blogoscoped

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Google Tabs

If Google keeps adding more tabs to their search, they will run out of space in 2005. That’s what Danny Sullivan thinks in his recent SearchDay newsletter (December 2, 2003). Besides, according to Sullivan, many people don’t even notice tabs.

__| Web | Images | Groups | Directory | News |__

Sullivan’s solution: “invisible tabs”. The search engine will take a behind-the-scenes approach and change result types depending on what the searcher is looking for. Much like AskJeeves already does, looking for “pictures of Charlie Brown” would then deliver images straight-away.

Actually, Google already has a lot of this “invisible tabbing” going. What they currently do is ask politely that if you’re looking for pictures, you should click the image tab (as opposed to AskJeeves,we will actually see images of the Peanuts’ Charlie Brown here). Something similar happens when you enter a question, like “Who is Charlie Brown?”. You will then be asked if you would like to visit Google Answers now (the great service which as of yet stayed tab-less). Or if you enter 3 * 3, you will see the Google Calculator jump into action. Typing “San Francisco maps” will alert the user of the maps service. “News on Bush” automatically delivers some of the Google News headlines preceding the Web results. If Google finds a fitting category, they hand out a link to their DMOZ-based Google Groups. Clicking on the keywords you entered takes you to an online dictionary. Froogle as well is planned to be included in normal Web results.

Of course, “invisible tabs” can also turn bad. If a search query is not taken on a looking-for-this-keywords basis, but rather seen as a command, this would mean the search engine has to know a lot of languages. I’m German, and I might be looking for “Bilder von Charlie Brown”. Unfortunatley the nice butler of AskJeeves doesn’t speak my native tongue. And sometimes, it’s ambiguous. (Just take the search query “Picture of Dorian Gray” – the searcher might well be looking for an online text of this book by Oscar Wilde.) Another point to consider is that e.g. images can be directly offensive; they show actual content before the user makes the conscious choice to follow up on a link. However, I do believe a stronger approach to second-guessing user intentions might be worth a shot. If nothing else, as an option at first.


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!