Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is rolling out a new design for its popular search engine. The company replaced its left-handed sidebar, which was introduced in 2010 with tabbed search options. Google's new design makes the appearance of searches consistent across platforms (i.e. smartphones, tablets, desktops) and it makes room for some interface changes, including its "Knowledge Graph."
The Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Knowledge Graph was launched earlier this year and is designed to let "you to search for things, people or places that Google knows about—landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art and more—and instantly get information that’s relevant to your query. This is a critical first step towards building the next generation of search, which taps into the collective intelligence of the web and understands the world a bit more like people do," writes Google on its blog. "Google’s Knowledge Graph isn’t just rooted in public sources such as Freebase, Wikipedia and the CIA World Factbook. It’s also augmented at a much larger scale—because we’re focused on comprehensive breadth and depth. It currently contains more than 500 million objects, as well as more than 3.5 billion facts about and relationships between these different objects. And it’s tuned based on what people search for, and what we find out on the web." The idea is to help users find information quickly and accurately. The Knowledge Graph can reportedly tell the difference between language usage (e.g. Taj Mahal the place versus Taj Mahal the artist), provide a summary relevant to the key facts you would likely need for that query, and provide interesting details about the subject that may give you a deeper insight into the subject matter.
Some users have called Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)'s high degree of personalized search results "a little spooky," but the company has been slowly "learning" its users for years. Its Knowledge Graph, and many other recent changes, like allowing users to see results from their Gmail accounts when they do a search or providing teh ability to search by voice command in some mobile applications, is just an extension of that. Google's new search engine interface will allow the company to exploit those pieces of information more efficiently going forward.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) hit a high of $670.75 in pre-market this morning after introducing the change, up from a close yesterday of $667.12. It may be a bit of a slow start but the company's technology is bound to push it even further ahead of the competition. Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), for instance, does offer half the features Google has unveiled recently and neither does Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)'s Bing service, which has risen to be one of Google's strongest competitors. Realistically, Google may have just raised the proverbial search engine bar on this one.