The ever growing brain that is Google...

Smarter Search

The ever growing brain that is Google...A couple quick things to point out on Google’s search capabilities these days, that are also some interesting hints at where search is going.

The first is a new “sort by subject” feature, which lets you organize your results on image searches based on categories. Say, for example that you do an image search on dogs. If you click the “sort by subject” link to the left, you’ll see your dog image results grouped into beagles, german shepherds and pugs. This particular feature relies on algorithms that help build relationships between different images on the web. Pretty cool stuff.

The second new feature is Google’s “faceted search” feature, which they are demonstrating by allowing you to do filtering of search results for recipes. Check out the Recipe View page by typing in some ingredients. This particular feature is enabled by recipe publishers like Big Oven and others marking up their recipes in microdata, microformats, or RDFa. It’s a cool demonstration and sneak peek at the semantic web that will soon be arriving in a web browser near you. This article by Tim Berners-Lee on The Semantic Web in Scientific America from 2001 is a classic if you want a good overview (purchased required).

I highlight these two new features because: a) they’re both really cool demonstrations of what’s coming; and b) they are examples of the two different ways in which search is getting smarter – computer algorithms on the image search and human-guided mark-up of content.

Things are just starting to get really interesting in search.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

– Arthur C. Clarke