The official Google Search blog
Graphing on Google.com - Now in 3D
March 30, 2012
A few months ago we launched a
right in search to help students and math lovers plot functions in an easy, simple way. In addition to calculating something simple like dividing up a restaurant bill or graphing more
difficult math functions
using the search box, people have also been plotting some really
functions. You’ll be able to do even more with the graphing calculator, which now supports 3D plotting as well.
Just type any real
two variable function
into Google to see a dynamic, interactive, three dimensional plot. Click anywhere in the graph to rotate it to check out different angles, or scale the view by zooming in or out, or by editing the range in your equation or in the lower-right legend box. For example, if you’re a student studying advanced calculus, the ability to see a three dimensional graph will help you get a better visualization for real two variable functions.
This feature is enabled by a technology called
, which we’re using for the first time in Google Search. WebGL is a new web technology that brings hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the browser without the need to install additional software. This technology is currently supported on modern web browsers such as Chrome and Firefox.
This feature is available globally, so now millions of students can explore and interact with compound math functions right in their search results. We can’t wait to see what kind of
Posted by Adi Avidor, Google Engineer and Math Lover
Learning independence with Google Search features
March 29, 2012
Cross-posted from the
Official Google Blog
Searches can become stories. Some are inspiring, some change the way we see the world and some just put a smile on our face. This is a story of how people can use Google to do something extraordinary. If you have a story,
We all have memories of the great teachers who shaped our childhood. They found ways to make the lightbulb go off in our heads, instilled in us a passion for learning and helped us realize our potential. The very best teachers were creative with the tools at their disposal, whether it was teaching the fundamentals of addition with Cheerios or the properties of carbon dioxide with baking soda and vinegar. As the Internet has developed, so too have the resources available for teachers to educate their students.
One teacher who has taken advantage of the web as an educational tool is Cheryl Oakes, a resource room teacher in Wells, Maine. She’s also been able to tailor the vast resources available on the web to each student’s ability. This approach has proven invaluable for Cheryl’s students, in particular 16-year-old Morgan, whose learning disability makes it daunting to sort through search results to find those webpages that she can comfortably read. Cheryl taught Morgan how to use the
Search by Reading Level
feature on Google Search, which enables Morgan to focus only on those results that are most understandable to her. To address the difficulty Morgan faces with typing, Cheryl introduced her to
, so Morgan can speak her queries into the computer. Morgan is succeeding in high school, and just registered to take her first college course this summer.
There’s a practically limitless amount of information available on the web, and with search features, you can find the content that is most meaningful for you. For more information, visit
Posted by Glen Shires, Speech Technology
Find flights to destinations worldwide
March 15, 2012
(Cross-posted on the
ITA Software by Google blog
If you’re in the U.S. and thinking of hitting the slopes in the Swiss Alps or heading to Sydney for a getaway, you can now use
to find and book a flight quickly and easily.
Flight Search, we’ve heard from many globetrotters eager to use the feature to search for destinations outside the U.S. Starting today, you can find flights, including international destinations, from the U.S. quickly and conveniently.
As you consider vacation possibilities, maybe you’d like to go to Australia but are flexible to fly into either Sydney or Perth based on whichever fare is more affordable. A quick click over each city on the map will show the different options available to you almost instantly -- and click the chart next to the dates to show alternative dates so you can make the best choice for your trip.
Likewise, if you’re looking to hop over to Europe for a weekend from New York City and are flexible with your departure and arrival airports, you can see the options for your gateway. We hope you have fun with our latest update to Flight Search.
At this stage we've included more than 500 airports outside the U.S. If your ideal destination isn't yet available, we're working hard on expanding our global coverage and adding more routes in the future. Our goal is to make booking travel as fast and enjoyable as possible.
Posted by Eric Zimmerman, Product Manager
Video! The search quality meeting, uncut (annotated)
March 12, 2012
It took eight video cameras and 16 microphones, but we’ve done something new and special to give you another inside look at
how search works
. Today we’ve published, for the first time, a video with the uncut discussion of a proposed
(in this case, an upcoming change to our spell correction system). The language can be technical, so we've included annotations to provide some context for the discussion (and have a little fun!).
The footage was captured on December 1, 2011 at our weekly “Quality Launch Review” meeting. We hold the meeting on Thursdays to discuss possible algorithmic improvements and make decisions about what to launch. As usual, meeting participants gathered in Mountain View and joined on videoconference from remote offices around the globe, including our offices in Moscow, New York, Zurich, Seoul, Haifa and Tokyo. Check out the video for a flavor of the kinds of topics and data the team discusses before making many of the important changes to our system.
A few things you’ll observe:
Even relatively subtle changes get intense scrutiny by our
teams. The specific change discussed in this video improves spelling suggestions for searches with more than 10 words and it impacts only .1% of our traffic. Still, you can see the scrutiny and thoughtfulness that goes into approving this change.
Every change has a dedicated search quality analyst assigned to study the impact. This analyst is not part of the engineering team building the change, but instead offers a separate opinion on whether the change is good for users.
The search team relies heavily on the results of experimental data to make decisions. During the meeting, we rely on detailed analyst reports including the results of click evaluations and side-by-side experiments. These reports can sometimes be more than 25 pages long.
Launch reports include specific examples to illustrate broader trends in the data. Rather than manually change one example, our engineers look for algorithmic ways to improve millions of queries.
Search algorithm improvements often rely on and impact many different systems, so engineers with expertise in different areas all need to come together to make the best decision for the user, balancing all the tradeoffs involved (relevance, spam, latency, cost, language impact, etc.)
As I said in the video, this is an experiment, and we’re interested to hear
what you think
. For all the search geeks out there, we hope you enjoy it! For a video summary of our process, I can also recommend the
we posted last August.
Posted by Amit Singhal, Senior VP and Google Fellow
A completely redesigned Google Search App for Windows 7.5 phones
March 7, 2012
(Cross-posted on the
Google Mobile Blog
Windows Phone owners can now get easy access to the Google Search App, available in the
Windows Phone Marketplace. Check out these features which help you get useful results fast:
As you type in your search, our autocomplete feature offers search predictions that often match your intended search term making search entry easier and faster.
With our voice feature, you can avoid typing all together. Simply press the microphone and begin speaking your query.
With your permission, Google can use your device location to provide nearby results easily and accurately. For instance, a search for “coffee shops” quickly displays the nearest places you can go to for a cup of coffee.
The new Google Search app now has Voice Search (left) as well as Google Autocomplete (right)
You can download the app from the
and try it for yourself. It’s available worldwide in English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German.
Posted by Ryan Doherty, Software Engineer
Bringing more secure search around the globe
March 5, 2012
Several months ago we made a change to our default search experience on
— when you’re signed into Google, we
add SSL encryption
to increase the privacy and security of your web searches. The change
encrypts your search queries
and our search results page, which is particularly important when you’re using an open, unsecured Internet connection.
We’re now ready to expand this protection, so over the next few weeks we will begin introducing SSL search beyond
to our local domains around the globe. As before, we hope that these efforts to expand the use of SSL encryption in our services motivate other companies to adopt SSL more broadly.
Posted by Michael Safyan, Software Engineer
Introducing a new local search experience across your devices
March 5, 2012
(Cross-posted on the
Google Mobile Blog
How often are you doing a Google search from your computer to find information about a place before going there? Now, next time you go to Google.com on your Android phone or iPhone, information about that place will be conveniently available under the new “Recent” icon. Calling, getting directions or seeing details about the places you just searched for is now only one tap away.
We provide this new convenience feature for users who have
enabled and are logged into Google when doing their search. Start by
searching for a place
on your PC or other devices, then login to Google.com’s mobile homepage and check the Recent icon. Information about previously searched places will be available under the Recent icon for about three days.
The new “Recent” icon shows information about places you have recently searched for on any of your devices. Try swiping to the right to see more icons for other categories of places.
Next time you are heading to a place you have recently searched for, no need to worry if you can’t remember the address or phone number. Just go to Google.com on your smartphone and tap on the “Recent” icon. We hope you find this new feature useful!
Posted by Junichi Uekawa, Software Engineer
Update March 22: Edited to reflect that local information will be available for about three days.
Spice up your iGoogle page with new, immersive, full-page themes
March 1, 2012
Last September we
some design changes to iGoogle for a more streamlined and
across Google products. Today, you can preview a few more improvements to iGoogle’s look and feel that simplify the page further while offering even more personalization.
You can now brighten up your iGoogle page by choosing from our new selection of beautiful and immersive full-page themes. We partnered with
to bring your favorite Gmail themes to iGoogle - just pop open our
to try them out. You can now share the best themes and gadgets with your friends on Google+ simply by clicking on the +1 button. You’ll also notice some new icons to access your settings, add gadgets, or change your theme. These icons, as well as a couple other minor changes to the page, bring more consistency with other Google products.
These new features are available globally, and if you’d like to try them out, just click on
Switch to the new look
in the bottom right of iGoogle. This will be rolling out to everyone as the default view in a few weeks, but if you'd like to temporarily revert back to the old look, you can do so via the settings menu.
Posted by Conrad Lo, Product Manager
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