Google to 'Suggest' search results

New feature that predicts user's search queries to be rolled out over the next week.

The official Google Blog this week is reporting that the "Suggest" search feature, which lists query suggestions when a user is searching any given subject, will go live over the next week.

The blog, posted yesterday, indicated that Google Suggest will be “graduating” from the company’s Labs department and available by default on the Google.com homepage over the next week.

“We find that by providing suggestions upfront, we can help people search more efficiently and conveniently,” the post read.

Suggest works by attempting to predict a word or phrase as it is being typed into the search bar. For example, typing in “prog” would result in a drop down box listing potential queries such as "programming," "programming languages," "progesterone," or "progressive," the blog said.

The Suggest feature can help users formulate queries when only the stem of a word or part of a sentence is known, and can help reduce spelling errors and save wasted keystrokes.

Google said the suggestions are not based on a user’s personal search history, rather it “uses data about the overall popularity of various searches to help rank the refinements it offers”.

Visiting http://www.google.com will return a user to the ordinary Google search page without Google Suggest enabled.

According to the blog, the Suggest feature started as a 20 percent project in 2004, part of Google’s renowned policy of allowing developers to spend 20 percent of their time working on side projects, and has since expanded to Google Labs, the Google Toolbar, the Firefox search box, Google Maps and Web Search in selected countries, the iPhone, BlackBerry, Youtube, and now Google.com

The latest versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape, Mozilla, Opera and Safari all support the new feature.

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Andrew Hendry

Computerworld
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