Google unveils ‘instant previews’ for searches


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Google just keeps upping the ante for search engines -- this time with some visual pizzazz.

The company debuted its Google Instant Previews search feature Tuesday, which provides a snapshot image of a search result’s webpage, a visual method of flipping through results quickly.


This added function comes on the heels of the launch of Google Instant in September, which predicts users’ queries as they are being typed out. Instant Previews is intended to increase the ease of finding a desired web page by providing a graphic overview of a search result and highlighting the most relevant sections.

To use the feature, a user will click once on the magnifying glass next to the title of any search result and a image of the page wil appear on the right. After activating the feature, a page preview will appear after hovering a cursor over any other result.

‘Google Instant Previews is intended to help with the second half of the search,’ said Raj Krishnan, a Google project manager for web search. ‘Once you get results, how do you pick the out the results most relevant to what you’re searching for?’

Throughout the day Tuesday, Instant Previews will be launched on the Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer Version 8 browsers in the U.S. The function will also roll out internationally on Tuesday except in countries with ‘right to left languages, like Arabic, Persian and Hebrew, which will launch a little bit later,’ Krishnan said.

Engineers are also working on adapting Instant Previews to smart phones.

In testing, Google found that people who use Instant Previews are about 5% more likely to be satisfied with the results they click, Krishnan said.

--Shan Li



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