Google’s need for speed
Google this week ramped up internet search speeds by letting people use speech or images to express what they want faster.
Google engineers also shaved precious seconds off the time it takes for web pages to display after links are clicked on in search results.
“We at Google will not be happy until we make the web as easy to flip through as a magazine,” Google fellow Amit Singhal said in San Francisco. “We measure every millisecond. The time it takes Google to return a result is negligible compared to how long it takes the user to enter the query.”
On the other end of the search, it takes an average of five seconds for a web page to load once a person has clicked on a link listed in query results, according to Singhal.
Members of Google’s search team rolled out its latest innovations crafted to deliver knowledge sought “in the blink of an eye”.
Google enhancements spanned all gadgets, from desktops using Chrome software to browse the Net to the latest Android-powered smartphones or tablet computers.
“In mobile, we are always thinking about how we can make the process of getting those results easier,” said Google mobile engineering director Scott Huffman.
Google added icons to the bottom of mobile search pages that let people do common searches such as for restaurants with a single click instead of having to type in queries.
Google also began letting people build queries with simple “plus” buttons and providing instant previews of search results pages that could be glimpsed with simple swipes of a finger on a touchscreen.
Huffman announced that a Google Goggles feature allowing people with mobile devices to search using pictures now translates languages in photos of text.
Google was taking innovations in mobile and applying them to desktop computers with the addition of voice and image search capabilities, said director of product management Johanna Wright.
“Mobile has opened a world of possibilities,” Wright said.
The option to speak searches was represented by a microphone icon on the Google search page.
Spoken search queries on Google-powered mobile gadgets have grown six-fold in the past year, said Mike Cohen, manager of the California firm’s speech technology team.
“We are trying to change the user’s mental model to make speaking search a basic habit. Accuracy, ubiquity… it needs to be in every language, on every device.”
A camera icon could be clicked to trigger image searches and pictures “dropped and dragged” into search boxes, Cohen said.
Google was also rolling out an “Instant Pages” feature to predict which link a searcher is likely to choose and have that web page pre-loaded for display once clicked.
Google extended its “instant” results to image search, making pages of pictures available as fast as one could type. – The Independent