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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. marquita herald June 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    Enjoyed your article. I haven’t seen the Instant Search – is that similar to the Wonder Wheel? I love the Wonder Wheel because they give you whole phrases people are using to search your topic – even if the spelling or grammer is off – it’s fun just using it!
    marquita herald recently posted..One Day in the WorldMy Profile

  2. Rick Lelchuk June 21, 2011 at 5:04 am #


    Those are pretty cool new tools. I like the picture one. Don’t know if I’d us the voice activated one, though. I rarely find myself near a computer and a mixing bowl at the same time. LOL!

    Rick Lelchuk recently posted..The Battle: Lead with Product OR Lead with the Business?My Profile

  3. Kevin Martineau June 21, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    Hi Linnea:

    These are all awesome! I wasn’t able to use google voice search on Chrome yet but I am looking forward to trying that out.

    Thanks for highlighting these!

    Kevin Martineau recently posted..Milestones and markersMy Profile

  4. Buddy Hodges June 22, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    Wow!!! I LOVE the incredible tools that Google gives us for free! What a creative company! On the whole I am happy about 21st century technology, and I want to make optimum use of it.

    I wonder how the perception of the new tech tools differs between generations. Some who grew up with the internet may take a lot for granted. Do they know what cc stands for? In a way I am glad that I remember doing things the hard way. It makes me truly appreciate the marvelous tools.

    I remember driving to the library and manually searching through reference books and encyclopedias. I even remember manual typewriters and carbon copies (cc) made with actual carbon paper inserted in between sheets. I remember having to use a rubber eraser or white-out to make corrections on both the original and the copy. Our own set of Encyclopedia Britannica cost several thousand of today’s dollars (adjusted for inflation).

    Although I love the leverage of technology, I do have a bit of concern about privacy and freedom. Do people still read the book, 1984, by George Orwell? Maybe it has been replaced by movies like The Net, The Matrix, Enemy of the State, and Conspiracy Theory.

    The Federal government just announced new rules of engagement for cyber warfare. Wouldn’t J. Edgar Hoover or Senator Joe McCarthy have loved to abuse the vast databases, facial recognition, GPS cell-phone tracking, IP addresses, etc?
    Buddy Hodges recently posted..Leadership by Cheer LeadingMy Profile

  5. Linnea June 22, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    Hi Marquita,

    They’ve actually sped up search. If you look to the toward the top of your returned search results you can see how many seconds (or parts thereof) it took to return your results. Google is just getting faster and faster. I wonder if one day we’ll simply be able to “think” our question and get results :) The wonder wheel is a fun (and very useful) tool indeed.

  6. Linnea June 22, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    Hey Rick,

    LOL! You really don’t find yourself near a computer and a mixing bowl at the same time? Imagine that :)
    As you can likely tell, I was pretty excited about the potential for the new image search as well however, I’ve now tried it a few times and am less excited about it. I do still believe it has great potential however for now, It seems as though they are returning results based on similar colors in the image versus shapes. The few that I tried returned non-related results.

  7. Linnea June 22, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    Hi Kevin,

    I have been able to try it and it is interesting that it does add a slight layer of overhead to your search. It’s not of much consequence but when you first voice your search, Google gives you choices of what it thinks you are saying. You then need to highlight the correct choice to launch the search. I do hope you get a chance to give it a try soon. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Linnea June 22, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Hi Buddy,

    I’m so with you! I do love the age that we live in and think you’ve really hit on something. While I think that we do appreciate advances more fully having seen and done things the “hard way”, I suspect that youngsters will have their own versions that we can’t even fathom. Perhaps theirs will be something like “do you remember when we had to buy and lug big text books to school?” or “Do you remember when we had to tie our own shoes?” Who knows…. :)

    I too, have concerns over privacy and that may be something that is more generational. I do hear about 1984, big brother etc., and the topic does hit the news almost every week so I do think it is a big issue that is as of yet, unresolved. Youth apparently doesn’t quite get it or we wouldn’t be hearing about “sexting” being an issue with them. On one hand, it seems as though all the tracking, GPS etc., could be a good thing by potentially reducing crime or identifying terrorists and yet, in the wrong hands can be a nightmare to beat all nightmares. That does include people like McCarthy and yes, they would have had a field day given the opportunity today.

    Thanks for stopping by, Buddy and for your extremely thoughtful comment.

  9. Dr. Bob Clarke June 22, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    These are all pretty exciting, but I would agree with you that the changes coming to Google Images are really cool. If I understand you correctly, how powerful would it be to drop in some pictures of historical significance or part of your family history and get more information. Wow!

    I also like the last feature you discussed, the Me on the Web. I like the idea of knowing what’s being said about me or my business!

    Thanks for sharing these very cool Google updates!
    Dr. Bob Clarke recently posted..Understand Your Niche: Are You Asking the Right Questions? (Part 2)My Profile

  10. Peter Fuller MBA June 22, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    Hey Linnea

    I am most excited about voice search.

    I can see myself driving around town, seeing a billboard ad and say, where can I find the best pizza within 10 minutes of my location, oh, make that 5 minutes :)
    Peter Fuller MBA recently posted..How to Attract your Niche to your Blog – Day 3 of 5My Profile

  11. Linnea June 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    Hi Bob,

    Agreed although I must say that it seems as though the images are going to have to be pretty well known in order to get additional value. I’ve tested it so far 3 times to see if I could get more info and the images returned were those with a variety of subject matters but appeared to have the same color tone. For my 3 tests, that wasn’t any help so I’m looking forward to doing more and seeing if I can in fact, get some good info back.

    Yes, it is a very good thing to keep track of what is being said about you on the web. I do hope you have fun with these and perhaps you’ll come back and share what you’ve learned.

  12. Linnea June 24, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    Hi Peter,

    Great to see you here. Ok, so that is a very good example of when that will come in very handy. I believe that with this new feature, you will still have to select the microphone symbol, otherwise should help the road warrior tremendously.

  13. Jaclyn Castro June 27, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

    Wow, so many new things from Google. I don’t think I will be able to keep up with all this great technoligical stuff online :-)

    I think the one that sounds the most fun is the voice one. I’m gonna try that one out just for fun. And the second one that sounds interesting is the images one. Sounds a bit scary though doesn’t it? Security wise.

    Well, I’ll definitely check ’em out. Thanks for your latest post Linnea. There’s always something new online every time I turn my head! 😀

    Jaclyn Castro recently posted..How a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) Will Help You to Succeed in Your LifeMy Profile

  14. Tony Tate June 28, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    Thanks for the great info on these new features. You have offered some really great real life examples of how these are going to be useful. I have to say that at first mention I was thinking how in the world am I going to use this, but thanks to you I am now excited to use all of them. Thanks for keeping us up to date.
    Tony Tate
    Tony Tate recently posted..Marketing: Sales People Need Not ApplyMy Profile

  15. Joyce Penner June 29, 2011 at 2:12 am #

    I love “hearing” the excitement as you write about new features that will possibly, if not now, enhance our use of the computer. I can see myself using the voice commands quite easily and yes, I’m admitting I multitask !
    Thanks for the heads up and the honest critique.
    Joyce Penner recently posted..Focusing on the end makes decisions easyMy Profile

  16. Anne June 29, 2011 at 4:13 am #

    Never been too happy with Chrome, preferring Firefox myself. Your articles has got me curious though with the new features. I’ll have to go check them out. Thanks for sharing

  17. Linnea June 29, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Hi Jaclyn,

    I can give you a bit of an update on both. While I do enjoy the voice search, the best application that I can think of is on mobile. I can see doing a voice search quickly while trying to find a particular type of store for example however, I’ve not really found that it is faster while on a desktop than just typing in what you need. Maybe that’s just me.

    The images search is a bit odd in that you really do need to be searching for something fairly well known in order to return useful results. The feature seems to return images with a similar color scheme which may or may not be at all useful depending upon what it is that you need to find. The three tests I’ve run so far have not returned anything of use. In any event, I hope you have fun trying them out. If you get a chance, please do let us know what you learn.

  18. Linnea June 29, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Hi Tony,

    You are welcome. I’m with you on that one in that I had to think through how these new features might provide great value for the average user. I would love to hear more great examples if you find other ways that you can use these to your advantage.

  19. Linnea June 29, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Hi Anne,

    I hear you on that one. My primary browser is also Firefox as well however, in my case, I do run Chrome for a few things and as a backup. Naturally Google would prefer that you switch to Chrome in order to take advantage of the features however, I would say that from what I’ve seen so far, they don’t warrant a full-on change of browser.

  20. Linnea June 29, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    Hi Joyce,

    Thanks! I just can’t help but be excited about new things to learn about and try. I suppose that’s a good part of why I do what I do…there is an endless supply of fun new things going on. I’m so glad that it comes through in my posts and I thank you for that feedback.

  21. Jans Mendoza July 1, 2011 at 12:41 am #

    Correct! These are truly amazing features. I salute men behind Google.
    Jans Mendoza recently posted..How to make a Welcome Page on your Facebook Fan Page?My Profile

  22. Trevor Barrett July 4, 2011 at 2:45 am #

    Hey Linnea, I just don’t see how G can do searches any quicker, before you know it the results will be there even before we type the search term in the box.

    The other two do seem very interesting though. I just cannot comprehend something like image search. It must be such powerful software that can recognize an image from anywhere in the world.

    thanks for keeping us up to date.
    Trevor Barrett recently posted..iWowWe Free Video Email And Affordable Video Conferencing ReviewMy Profile

  23. Ben July 5, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    I have already experienced the instant search but the Google Images tool sound wonderful to get names for some of those obscure vacation photo’s.

    Me on the Web also seems like a very nice tool to keep tabs on your online reputation/privacy
    Thank you for the info
    Ben recently posted..Reassess your LifeMy Profile

  24. Steve Dooley July 5, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    Wow, I hadn’t even heard of these new Google features until now. Thanks. I do use the voice search on my droid phone quite frequently. It’s really nice – especially when you’re driving. I’ll have to check out the “me on the web” feature. As a marketer it could provide some valuable information for link tracking purposes, etc. We’ll have to see.

    Thanks for this great info.
    Steve Dooley recently posted..Sites Like Groupon Pale In Comparison – Except This One…My Profile

  25. Debbie Lattuga July 6, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    For all the griping people do about Google, they certainly are innovative. I wish I could switch to Chrome, but the support for Roboform, my password manager, is limited.

    I love the voice search feature on my phone. Keeping my fingers crossed for Chrome support.

    Debbie Lattuga recently posted..But I Can’t DrawMy Profile

  26. Linnea July 6, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    Hi Ben,

    You’re quite welcome. I hope you do get a chance to play with the tools and I hope that you have more success than I with the images feature. I haven’t found more info on any that I’ve tried thus far but will try a few more times. I suspect that in time, it will become more effective as people upload photos etc. Time will tell.

  27. Linnea July 6, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Hi Steve,

    You are most welcome. Use them in good health! I agree that the voice search can be super useful when driving. I’m just not quite sure it will be as useful on a desktop but we’ll see.

  28. Linnea July 6, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    Hi Debbie,

    Hey, it might just go the other way for you…and maybe it will migrate to Firefox one day, you never know. If you really want to move to Chrome (and I hope for more than these features alone) you might check into “LastPass”. it is another password manager that many are very happy with although I don’t know if Chrome supports it either. I know that Roboform is very popular and has a great reputation as well.

  29. Mandy Swift July 10, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    HI Linnea, I always love learning new stuff, so thanks for telling me about these new ‘cool tools’. I guse like anything, the more we all ust them, the better they will get.
    Thanks for searching them out for us :)
    Mandy Swift recently posted..Marketing Basics: Why People Either Do Or Don’t Buy Your Stuff (Part 2)My Profile

  30. Linnea July 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    Hey Mandy,

    AH, a fellow learner! I too, just love learning new stuff.
    You are more than welcome and thank you for your comment.

  31. Linnea July 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    Hi Jans,

    Have you had a chance to play with them yet? It is pretty awesome what Google continues to come up with and makes me wonder what innovation is next.

  32. Linnea July 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Hey Trevor,

    It really does boggle the mind, doesn’t it? It does rather feel like we’re moving toward telepathic search (now there is a thought) doesn’t it? I’m sure that the image search is based upon their vast databases as well which will only continue to grow as people upload more photos. We do live in interesting (and fun) times!

  33. Willena Flewelling July 13, 2011 at 1:27 am #

    I find that third one very interesting! Some time ago, I thought it would be cool if we were able to do a search for images as we can currently do for words and phrases… i.e. put an image up there and see if that same image is anywhere else on the internet. That third one makes my idea seem a little less far-fetched.

    Willena Flewelling
    Willena Flewelling recently posted..Napoleon Hill – The Power of the MastermindMy Profile

  34. Melodie Kantner July 13, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    Awesome. Thanks for letting us know about those new features. They will be very useful.
    Melodie Kantner recently posted..Day 30 EFT For Self-Esteem – I am A Magnet For Abundance and SuccessMy Profile

  35. Linnea July 14, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    Hey Willena,

    Sounds like you could do an ad for Google….”Google images was my idea”…(sound familiar? :) It is rather fascinating watching Google’s features come and go. I hope that the images feature stays around long enough to become really useful. Have fun playing with it.

  36. Linnea July 14, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    Hi Melodie,

    You are very welcome. Use them in good health!

  37. Loren July 15, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    Hi Linnea,

    You’ll have to forgive me, it’s Friday and I’m in a comedy mood! So, when I read your post, I was already giggling after the first two new, cool Google features! ::) Can’t for the life of me imagine why there has to be a faster google search return… already I barely have time to take a sip of tea before the return’s in!

    As for the voice search… my fingers type faster than I can speak… wait, faster than I can THINK! My tongue takes a little longer to catch up (‘tho my family may not agree). Besides, voice search would take the privacy right out of my home, it’s too convenient to use anywhere, not to mention dangerous to have me multi-tasking over a mixing bowl.

    Peter Fuller has found the perfect use for voice search — pizza in 10… no, make that 5 minutes from any location! Mmmmm, what fun. Still thinking of playing with a bunch of different accents to see which ones get the best response and still waiting for Google to roll out my own small, private microphone!

    Google images could be fun too but I’ll let them iron out the bugs first; and, the best is #4 – Me on the Web and managing the privacy thing! I just need more time to play!

    Thanks so much Linnea for trying out these new features and I’m looking forward to having some fun with them too!
    Loren recently posted..SEO Strategies | 3 Easy SEO Strategies for BeginnersMy Profile

  38. William Earl Amis Jr III July 17, 2011 at 9:45 am #


    These awareness products are simply awesome. This is leverage at it’s highest standard. Once all are operational. We will have no limits with our imaginations.

    The one I find fascinating, is the picture drop and locate. Where information may be retrieved on an item origination. This is a personal favorite, based on two priceless art pieces, I have come across. The Antiques Roadshow, has not gotten back to me. This feature will most likely be available before I get correspondence back.

    One piece is from Russia, and the other is one of a kind Betty Davis on a Ad photo, min-billboard for the original Coke. This has several other Actors and Actresses with original signatures. Priceless. This will be my first photo research. I have been doing research for several years with no luck. I have only dedicated like 2hrs a month and never deep research.

    These are features are, and will make life more enjoyable. Helping others and myself to accomplish more, for others in need. Serving at a faster, more timely rate. This is welcome news.

    Linnea, your an amazingly resourceful person. I thank you for all the wonderful information you manage to share. I appreciate all you do and look forward to my next visit. I will let you in on any update information I can find on my holdings. Thanks.
    William Earl Amis Jr III recently posted..Ultimate Team ExistanceMy Profile

  39. Linnea July 17, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    Hey Loren,

    No forgiveness required! I love it that you are in a comedic mood and I love your comments. I agree that Peter did find the perfect use for voice search but I love even more that you are going to try out different accents to see which get the best response. You’ve gotta love that and I can tell that you are going to have more fun than anyone else yet in trying out the new features. Enjoy~

  40. Linnea July 17, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    Hey William,

    You are so very welcome. I’m excited to hear back on what you find with respect to your art pieces. I do hope that it pans out for you and that you are able to get some information. If you do get some great information, you will be our first so please do remember to come back and share! I’m looking forward to your next visit.

  41. Angela Arnold July 18, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    Hi, Linnea,
    These all sound like some great features to try out. I’ve got to stay abreast of the many changes taking place. Thanks so much for keeping me informed.

    All of the features sound amazing, but I am most intiruged by the “me on the web”. Sounds fascinating.
    Angela Arnold recently posted..Farm Direct CoopMy Profile

  42. Hello Linnea

    I have not tried the last three features. Using the picture drop sounds like the potential use is unlimited. Thanks for the excellent update on Google.

    Perry A Davis Jr
    Music City
    Perry A Davis Jr@Network Marketing Nut and Bolts recently posted..How can anybody be great in network marketing?My Profile

  43. Joyce Edwards July 31, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Cool tools. I do appreciate people like yourself keeping up on the new and improved things tht Google come out with. You realy save time for me and educate me in improving my own blog.
    Joyce Edwards recently posted..Yikes! I cut my finger : ER or First Aid Kit??My Profile

  44. Linnea August 2, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    Hi Angela,

    Half the fun is in trying them out. I’m glad you have found one new feature that intrigues you enough to give it a try.
    If you get the chance, let us know what you think once you’ve had a chance to play.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  45. Linnea August 2, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    Hi Perry,

    You are very welcome.
    I hope that you can find some good uses for all of these new features. My own experience to date is that the pictures are more limited than I’d hoped however, I remain optimistic about its future.

  46. Linnea August 2, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    Hi Joyce,

    I’m very happy to do it and to be of help. Half the fun is in the discovery and exploration! That makes it a win for both of us… I get to play with and learn about something new and you get the benefit of having saved time. How can it get better than that?
    Thanks so much for your feedback!

  47. Carla McNeil, Social Media Speaker & Coach August 2, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Google Voice still hasn’t found it’s way to Canada. I have been on a waitlist for months.

    However the picture function sounds awesome, I have a few old pictures I will have to test it with too.

    I have a couple of clients that will be very glad to hear about “Me On The Web”!

  48. Linnea August 2, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    Hi Carla,

    I’m very sorry to hear that Google Voice hasn’t found it’s way to Canada. Doesn’t seem as though the bits and bytes are all that far away :) I do hope you have better luck than I had with the old pictures. The ones that I tested it out with didn’t turn anything up. It seems as though the recognition function returns like colored pictures rather than like content but that will likely come in time. Have fun playing with it.

  49. Hans Schoff August 3, 2011 at 1:41 am #

    Hey Linnea, those are some pretty cool tools coming out. When my dad got his first iphone, I remember him talking to his google app for search results – handsfree! He loved it. Hadn’t thought of using it on a computer, but can definitely now see it’s implications, like in the kitchen as you say. Image search would be neat as well. What will they come up with next? I’m sure we’ll find out in a week or two…
    Hans Schoff recently posted..Money Making Secret – 2 Ways to Double Your Home Based IncomeMy Profile

  50. Emma August 3, 2011 at 5:06 am #

    Hi Linnea,

    Wow, they just keep coming out with more and more amazing stuff! I’m pretty excited about the photo identifying feature… will be very curious to try that out!

    Thank you very much for the surprise number four… I’m off to read the PC World article right now!

    All the best,

    Emma :-)
    Emma recently posted..More on google+My Profile

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