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Google new Search Options Panel: Love it!

In a blog post yesterday, Google’s search team announced their new Search Options Panel.  I am kinda loving it already.

The video does a great job explaining and it will work nicely in instruction with both students and teachers.

These new search options offer us yet another way to demonstrate thinking about searching through refining, filtering, and mining results.

I test drove the panel’s feature on an information literacy search.

Click on show options and the panel appears.

The Wonder Wheel is kinda wonderful as a concept mapping visual strategy for exploring related topics.

The Timeline feature allows users to visually select a time frame for their results and examine the chronological concentrations of documents relating to the search.

Click on Related Searches to display a list of suggested search terms. In this case, I was led to content from AASL and ACRL.  Sadly, it was not smart enough to discern information fluency as a relevant alternative term.  This feature, combined with the Wonder Wheel, will however offer useful supports for learners who have not yet developed the vocabulary or context needed for sophisticated searching.

The results pictured below for Hurrican Katrina, in related search and timeline formats, reveal how useful these new tools might be for learners in examining the timeline of a story and in exploring such related terms as contemporaneous other hurricanes.

The search panel also allows users to see all results or to conveniently filter for videos or forums or reviews.

Users may opt to display images from documents on the display list or choose to see a greater amount of text.  (I believe this added text is called rich snippets.)

Google Squared, designed to present research in organized columns and rows, will launch next week. 

Just a couple of weeks back I posted a little ode to Google News Timeline.  My kids are hooked and I look forward to sharing the new features this week.

What’s the philosophy here?  Google is trying to meet the user where he or she lives.  Danny Sullivan, who live blogged yesterday’s Searchology press event, shared this from Google presenter, Udi:

The real goal should always be to solve the user’s problem.

If users can’t spell, it’s our problem. If they don’t know how to form the syntax, it’s our problem. If there’s not enough content, it’s our problem.

In other search news, the much-anticipated WolframAlpha Computational Knowledge Agent is due to launch any minute now.  I’ll keep you posted!

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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