Google is taking a different approach to search that will give users an integrated set of results composed of videos, images, news, maps, books and websites, the company announced.
Currently, Google prompts users to search separately for images, videos, news, maps and books. The world's biggest web search company today said it is taking initial steps toward a "universal search model" that would combine results from all those formats. But it won't happen overnight.
"At first, universal search results may be subtle," Google said in a press release. "Over time users will recognise additional types of content integrated into their search results."
A user who searches for the Star Wars villain Darth Vader is probably interested in images and videos, not just web pages that mention the movie, Google noted.
"Google will now deliver a single set of blended search results that include a humorous parody of the movie, images of the Darth Vader character, news reports on the latest Lucas film, as well as websites focused on the actor James Earl Jones – all ranked in order of relevance to the query," Google stated. "Users no longer have to visit several different Google search properties to find such a wide array of information on the topic."
Google is implementing a new technical infrastructure that will let its search engine handle the computationally intensive tasks required for this project, the company said. Google has also added navigation links above search results to suggest additional relevant information. "For example, a search for 'python' will now generate links to Google Blog Search, Google Book Search, Google Groups and Google Code," the company stated.
The idea is to make searching simpler and break down the "silos of information" on the web today, Google said.
"Google's vision for universal search is to ultimately search across all its content sources, compare and rank all the information in real time, and deliver a single, integrated set of search results that offers users precisely what they are looking for," the company said.