Google tunes display and logo

2010-05-05 22:06

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San Francisco - Google is fine-tuning the way it presents its internet search results to make it easier for people to find information and images they want.

The new tools being introduced will be accompanied by a touched-up Google logo featuring slightly brighter hues of red, blue, green and yellow with less shadow in the background.

Google's most noticeable changes will occur to the left of its search results. That area will offer more tools for reshuffling search results into specific categories, such as news, images, blogs and video.

The new alternatives also will open more doors to other possible topics of interests.

The changes are part of the incessant tinkering that Google does to maintain its commanding lead in the internet's lucrative search market.

The company says it made about 550 revisions to its search engine last year alone, mostly tweaks to its closely guarded formulas for deciding which results and ads to (present) after processing a search request.

Google has been gradually offering more ways to slice and dice its results during the past two years. The latest changes are designed to encourage people to whittle Google's results more frequently.

New left side

Here's an example of how the new system might work: A search request about a scientific theory might cause the left side of Google's results page to provide links suggesting an exclusive focus on images or information pulled from books or videos.

The categories appearing on the left side of the page would be different for a search request about a sports event. Those might point to blogs and news instead.

And search requests for merchandise are more likely to trigger an option that would allow the user to click on a link on the left side of the page to include more or fewer search results.

Yahoo and Microsoft, the owners of the second- and third-most popular search engines, already offered control panels that can carve search results into servings that suit individual tastes.

Google began sharpening its new tools in tests dating back to 2006, according to Johanna Wright, a director of product management for Google.

"We have just been waiting for our technology to be ready for something like this," she said.

Microsoft unveiled its Bing search engine 11 months ago in its latest attempt to pose a tougher challenge to Google.

Bing's share of the US search market has climbed from 8% to nearly 12% since its début, but those gains have mostly been at Yahoo's expense. Google's share has been hovering at about 65% for the past year, according to comScore Inc.

Also as part of Google's tweaks, the Google logo will lose the "TM" that signals Google is a trademark. Removing that symbol, though, doesn't mean Google is surrendering its legal claims on one of the world's most valuable brands.

- SAPA
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