It seems strange to be talking about bringing what is already available on your mobile phone to your desktop, but that is exactly what Google is doing wih a couple of new functions it has added to its desktop search site – as well as adding the next step in instant search.
The first new addition is Voice Search which has been available on nearly all mobile OSes for a number of years. It will now roll out in the Google Chrome browser where users will begin to see a small microphone icon in every Google search bar. Click on the microphone, speak and voilà. Initially it will be only available with the latest version of Chrome combined with a built-in or attached microphone and only works in English. Check out the video below to see it in action.
The next ‘new’ addition to Google’s desktop search is Search by Image. Since 2009 the Google Goggles app has been allowing mobile phone users to point their cameras at whatever they see and get corresponding search results. Next to the microphone on images.google.com, you’ll now also see a little camera for the new Search by Image feature. If you click the camera, you can upload any picture or plug in an image URL from the web and ask Google to figure out what it is. Search by Image is rolling out around the globe in 40 languages and Google will also be releasing Chrome and Firefox extensions that enable you to search any image on the web by right-clicking.
The last update to the desktop search experience from Google is Instant Pages. Last September we saw the introduction of Google Instant and this is an extension of that function. Instant Pages can get the top search result ready in the background while you’re choosing which link to click, saving you yet another two to five seconds, on top of the saving from Google Instant, on typical searches. “Instant Pages will prerender results when we’re confident you’re going to click them. The good news is that we’ve been working for years to develop our relevance technology, and we can fairly accurately predict when to prerender,” said
Finally Google also announced a new range of shortcut icons for its mobile Google homepage. “With more searches happening when people are on the go, we’ve noticed an increase in searches for nearby places. To make it easier for people to search for what’s around them, we’ve introduced new shortcuts to commonly searched local categories, like restaurants, coffee shops and bars, in the form of icons on the mobile Google homepage.”