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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Google Search Add-Ons aka Subscribed Links

Google-watcher Ionut noticed that Google’s “subscribed links” feature as part of the Google Co-op strategy is being partly rebranded to the simpler name “Search Add-ons”... and can now be found at the bottom of the Google preferences page, too.

These add-ons are a kind of opt-in oneboxes; for instance, you can add the Flight Tracker onebox and then when you search for e.g. airport delays, a green box above the organic results will display instant information, if available:

[Current US airport delays: There are currently no airport delays being reported ...]

Google’s default selection of add-ons presented on the preferences page – visible when you’re logged in – is weird though. It seems to be automatically ranked by popularity, but the second example is the “Unix Manpages” add-on with the listed sample search queries being “man getcwd, man ls, man tar, man grep.” How many regular Google users will skim this and falsely figure that Search Add-Ons are way to complicated for them? (Admittedly, if you happen to visit Google’s preferences page you’re probably already in the power user minority, but still.)

Update: For some reason, Google now removed the Search Add-ons section from the preferences page. [Thanks Ionut!]


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