Google Unified Search Is Only The Beginning - InformationWeek

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5/18/2007
09:23 AM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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Google Unified Search Is Only The Beginning

Something is happening in online search and we don't really know where it's headed. That's my conclusion, two days into the buzz surrounding the debut of Google's new "universal" search. The feature beefs up the results returned when you do search on Google's home page, adding news, videos, images, and maps to the search results you used to get.

Something is happening in online search and we don't really know where it's headed. That's my conclusion, two days into the buzz surrounding the debut of Google's new "universal" search. The feature beefs up the results returned when you do search on Google's home page, adding news, videos, images, and maps to the search results you used to get."Google is integrating its siloed search engines to offer Google universal search," is how Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of search products and user experience, put it in Tom Claburn's news story on the universal search announcement.

And when Marissa Mayer talks, I always listen.

What she means is that Google is trying to merge its specialized search pages-like Google News, which does a great job of filtering online newspaper and magazine content-and folding it into one giant uber-search function.

However, after you've played around with universal (actually, it's still called "Web") search for a while, you realize that its operation is still kind of iffy. If you're looking for news stories or images, you'll do better going to Google News and Google Images, respectively.

Personally, since I've very comfortable using Google News, I can't see why I'd ever go over to the universal page to hunt up a news story. But I suspect Google isn't aiming at a relatively sophisticated searcher such as me. Rather, it's looking to appeal to more casual users by forging a better basic search experience.

Clearly, this is just Google's first cut at universal search. Indeed, a quick search of Google itself turns up some concretevidence to that effect: Yep, you can help Google perfect universal search, because they're hiring.

Maybe you want to work as a software engineer in New York. It sure sounds interesting:

"Google's New York office, located in the heart of Chelsea, is hiring world class Software Engineers to develop the next generation search engine. Our New York engineering team is working on problems in a number of areas, including cutting-edge information retrieval algorithms, scalability issues related to dealing with huge amounts of data and a rapidly increasing user population."

Or perhaps a position in Mountain View, Calif., working on the Linux kernel sounds more appealing:

"Google is growing! We need world-class Software Engineers to help us develop one of the world's largest and most impressive Linux cluster deployments. You will have a chance to work on the unique challenges involved in building the system infrastructure that powers our Web search engine, as well as our many other services."

New York and California too liberal for you? Why not be a mobile wireless application developer in Seattle. (Oops.) Anyway, here's the position:

"Google is hiring Engineers to bring our wireless products to the next level. We are looking for people with experience in building embedded, native and J2ME applications on a range of handsets, making the web and web services available on mobile platforms, making the world's information universally accessible and useful--at any time and in any place."

Whatever you go for, you probably can't go wrong (see picture below)> Because, after all, Google is a fun place to work.



Relaxing in a massage chair in the gaming area in Googles's New York office.

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