Enhancements and Changes Made to Google News and Google Search
Article by George Norman
On 15 May 2009
Google may have suffered some issues recently that cause users to have sluggish access to Google’s domains, or none at all, but this has not stopped the Mountain View-based company from rolling out some interesting enhancements to two of its main online services: Google News and Google Search.

Google News, the automated news aggregator provided by Google Inc, has received an UI (user interface refresh) in celebration of its 7th anniversary. The refreshed Google news site comes with new color frames, YouTube logos and links, updated section pages, video and photo sections.

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User Experience Designers, Frank Harris and Jason Morrow, comment on the recent Google News design changes: “First of all, you'll probably notice that we've included new color frames around each section on the homepage. We've also added YouTube logos to our existing embedded news videos, helping you to identify and discover our partners' video content more easily. We also updated our section pages, categories like "Top Stories," "World," and "Business," to add featured videos and photos from our partners. The new pages also contain sections for images and for popular stories on the right side of the screen, below the featured photos and videos.”

According to the Google News team, these changes are meant to provide the user a “better news browsing experience and connect you to a wide variety of perspectives on current events” and the reason they were implemented is because the goal that Google News wants to achieve here is to “highlight more sources and provide our users with more ways to experience the news.”

The other Google online service that was changed recently by the Mountain View-based company is Google Search. You may not have noticed this, but when you enter a search query and hit enter (or click Search) you will notice a “Search Options” tab in the left-hand corner of the screen, just underneath the Google logo (see images below). The “Search Options” functionality was announced at the Google Searchology 2009 event where it was described by Vice President of Search Products, Marissa Mayer, as a collection of tools that let you slice and dice your results and generate different views to find what you need faster and easier”. “Search Options helps solve a problem that can be vexing: what query should I ask?” she said.

“We know that people search for a wide variety of things and we're continually thinking of new search features to help them find information more quickly and easily. The idea for the Search Options panel originated as a way to accommodate the functionality offered by these new features within the search results page. While it might seem like the panel was simple to put together, a lot of collaboration between design, research, and engineering happened behind the scenes in order to produce the best experience possible. Even now that the Search Options panel has launched, the work is not over. We’ll continue to monitor how people interact with Google Search, find ways to improve the user experience, listen to your feedback, come up with new tools, and, who knows, maybe even add more wonder to the wonder wheel.” added Jen Kozenski Devins, Jamie Divine, Melanie Kellar, and Marcin Wichary, User Experience Team.





Tags: Google Search, Google News, Google
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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