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Three Cool New Google Search Features

Internet SearchGoogle announced three new search features this week that I for one, can’t wait to try.  The first of the three that Google revealed is Instant Search which is going to give us even faster results when actively searching for something on the web.  This one doesn’t have my heart pumping quite as fast as the other two simply because they already return pretty darn fast results but it still is a very ‘nice to have’ feature.  As a blogger, I’m all for speeding up search and by the same token, research.

The second new feature is very cool indeed.  Google is bringing voice search to our desktops.  If you use voice search on your mobile device already, you already know that this is a very fun feature.  It enables search by way of speaking to the Chrome browser and off it goes.  (Yes, you need to be using Chrome in order to check it out.)  This new feature will be extremely handy for multi-taskers or those who have accessibility needs for one reason or another.

You do still need to launch Chrome and click on the microphone manually (unless you have other software to do that part) but imagine if you will, what it will be like when you can do those two things by voice control?  You’ll be able to drive your searches from across the room or while your hands are otherwise completely occupied!  I’m thinking of an example such as  cooking, have your hands in the dough or stirring the risotto and desperately need to check a recipe.  You could be in the middle of any manner of things and want or need to do a quick search and this feature could be a godsend.

If you want to try it out, (in Chrome) just look for the small microphone symbol to the right of the search box and click that…then simply let Chrome know what you want to search for by speaking it aloud.  Not to worry if you don’t yet have a microphone symbol.  Google says it will take several days to get these new features rolled out to all users.  Just hang in there a few days and then give it a whirl when you can.

The third new feature that really gets me going is for Google images.   We are going to be able to drop an image directly into the images search box and Google will let you know where it was taken (given that it is a known location and not your dining room or backyard, of course).  I’m extremely excited about this new feature as I have a number of photographs that I would very much like to better identify and this will (I hope) help me out.  In fact, I know someone who has a very old, unsigned oil painting with no knowledge of the origins and we are hoping that this new feature might shed some light on its history.

For that matter, you might be able to use this new feature to identify all manner of items or possible treasures.  Imagine if you will, that you have a hand-me-down cha cha from your family…something with a pattern on it that might make it identifiable or what if you want to know what breed of dog you just saw in the park.  It sounds as though all you will need to do is snap a pic and dump it into Google to learn more.  It just seems to me that this new feature has SO much potential that I can’t wait to play with it.

A fourth feature (I know, I said three but if you’ve read this far, you deserve another) announced today is Google’s new “Me on the Web” tool that alerts you to mentions or data leaks of you on the web and allows you to more easily find the tools to remove information leaked.  If you are concerned about your privacy, this could be a very handy tool for you.  You can read more about it in this PC World article about “Me on the Web“.

Can you imagine everything you might do with these new features?  If you have access to them already and can give them a whirl, we’d love to know what you are able to do.  Please leave a comment and share.

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68 Responses to Three Cool New Google Search Features

  1. Linnea August 3, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    Hi Hans,

    Isn’t it amazing? They are coming up with stuff we “need” that we didn’t even know we wanted. :)
    Go figure. At the risk of sounding a bit like “what have you done for me today”… I can’t wait to see what’s next.

  2. Linnea August 3, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    Hi Emma,

    You are most welcome.
    I would love to hear what you think of the photo ID feature if you do get a chance to try it out.

  3. Stevie Smith August 5, 2011 at 6:17 am #

    Hello Linnea

    Thank you for that. I have been using google chrome a lot more ever since firefox major “upgrade” and I saw the microphone. To be honest I never actually used it but it’s pretty cool development and I can see how it would help.

    On the third new “thang” I can see the appeal but I have some reservations as it would use a technology that could virtually catalog just about anything, even people due to face recognition. It is a technology that could change the world as we see it and through our privacy upside down. It’s ok to be able to see where that picture of the Sistine chapel was taken, but I can imagine how this can spill over to everything including the locations of family portraits.

    Keep the Smiles,


  4. Dewane Mutunga August 6, 2011 at 8:18 am #


    That image search feature sounds really cool, it definitely stood out most to me. The “me on the web” features sounds akin to using Google Alerts. I’ll have to look more into that one and see how they differ.

    Thanks for the info!
    Dewane Mutunga recently posted..How To Create Offers That SellMy Profile

  5. Andy Nathan August 6, 2011 at 9:40 am #


    I thought instant search had been out for a little while. I have had a similar feature like this for the past few months.

    In regards to the image search that is just cool! I have images where you never really know where they came from.


    Andy Nathan recently posted..Launching A LinkedIn Introduction ExampleMy Profile

  6. Yorinda August 6, 2011 at 11:50 pm #

    Hi Linnea,

    interesting information you are supplying.
    The instant search seems to want to do the thinking for me as I am typing things into the search box. Yes it is very quick.

    Thank you for explaining the dropping a photo into the search, will have to try that sometime

    Thanks again for sharing this.
    Yorinda recently posted..What is the Meaning of Freedom?My Profile

  7. CJ Priestley August 7, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    It is always interesting to see what big G will come up with next, personally I would rather see cool features from time to time than some sort of slap but that’s Google for you.

    The instant search is pretty cool,it definitely can give you more options than you would have thought possible in your search for answers but on the other hand I also have to wonder what if any sort of SEO damage there might be with the instant search. I had no idea about voice search within Chrome but I am not surprised considering the features in Google Voiceand in Gmail, and on most cell phone. although it is an interesting feature I will stick to Firefox as I have heard of G doing some spying ala “big brother” type stuff and seems just a bit too invasive privacy wise.

  8. Kyle @After High School August 8, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

    How are we supposed to keep up with all of this stuff! Haha Those are some pretty cool features I must say. Nice post and good job of keeping up on all of the upcoming tools that we will soon have in our hands.
    -Kyle Quinlan
    Kyle @After High School recently posted..After High School: Financial Education Lesson #2My Profile

  9. Linnea August 9, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    Hi Stevie,

    Great point on the privacy angle. I’ve been thinking of it primarily as a locator for “external” type photos but yes, you make a great point about privacy and I suspect that is part of the “angle”. The more photos that are uploaded for checking, the greater their database becomes. It is an interesting way to compete with Facebook photos but bottom line can be a bit threatening.

  10. Linnea August 9, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    Hi Dewane,

    I agree with you about the alerts. The average user wouldn’t necessarily now about alerts so perhaps this is just a friendlier version posted on the dashboard where more day-to-day users may find and access it. If you learn more, we’d love for you to share… Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Terrific Tonya Heathco August 10, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    Linnea, I knew something was happening at Google because of the recent interesting activity I’ve been experiencing with the search box. I begin to type in seizure disorder and it brings up everything about Seattle or sea turtles. Quite frustrating as I have to input this term several times before Google gets the hint. I am amazed though at the speed with which Google tries to change my mind about what I am searching for. No more hitting “enter” or the search button….

    You are a Blessing-
    Terrific Tonya Heathco
    National Seizure Disorders Foundation
    Terrific Tonya Heathco recently posted..NSDF Helps Children Adjust to Seizure DisorderMy Profile

  12. Linnea August 10, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Hi Andy,

    Yes, it has been available for a while. This update was simply (HA ~ “simply”) to speed it up even further. Results come back so fast it’s hard to imagine that they can be sped up at all.
    I think we all have some of those odd pictures around. This may turn out to be a very useful feature in time.

  13. Linnea August 10, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    Hi Yorinda,

    You are very welcome. I hope you have fun playing with it.

  14. Linnea August 10, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Hey, CJ.

    I’m with you. I actually use Firefox myself due to the extensive list of add-ons that I use on a daily basis however, I do use Chrome as a backup and second browser. (I’m usually working on more than one thing at a time and find that if I don’t use two browsers, I wind up with too many tabs open, ultimately crashing Firefox.)

  15. Linnea August 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    Hi Kyle,

    It seems almost impossible, doesn’t it? Either being part of a sharing community or narrowly specializing are really the only ways to do it well otherwise, there is far too much for any one person to keep up with alone.

  16. Linnea August 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    Hi Tonya,

    UGH. That doesn’t sound like a good result for you at all. I hope Google learns quickly from your history so you don’t have to do that for long. It’s a wonder you don’t get the word “seize” as well. Best of luck with that Tonya. I guess that’s the sort of thing we give up for speed and convenience (although you wouldn’t agree to the convenience part at all). If you get a chance, come back and give us an update.

  17. Andy Nathan August 17, 2011 at 5:41 pm #


    Just a heads up that your site is not letting me go other pages.

    Andy Nathan recently posted..I Messed Up Big Time!My Profile

  18. Linnea August 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    Hey Andy,

    Thanks for the heads up and I’m sorry for the glitch.
    Not sure what is going on as others have been able to visit but I’ll definitely check it out.

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