Google late yesterday rolled out some fine new search features: Google Search Options for Apple's iPhone, Android and Palm WebOS smartphones and quick view of PDFs in Google search.
Available in the U.S. on iPhone, Android and Palm WebOS devices, the mobile Search Options lets users narrow searches by past day, week, year, or even in a specific date range. Users can also search forums, reviews, video or blogs.
Reza Ziaei, software engineer for Google's Mobile team, noted:
"For example, suppose you are shopping at a store for a camera, and you would like to see what users have been saying about a specific model within the past week. You can do this simply by searching for the name of the product. Then, on the search results page, use "Options" to filter by "Forums" and refine further by choosing "Past week"."
Here's what the Search Options look like on a mobile phone.
Remember, Google sees mobile as the key to its advertising future, so it wants to make sure that we're all as comfortable searching Google from our mobile devices as we are searching Google from our desktops.
Speaking of comfort in search, if you've ever searched for tax forms before, you know you get PDF forms as results. But these can be painful to use because you need to download them and open them in a separate viewing window. Google created a "View as HTML" option, but this lost some of the formatting, crimping the user experience.
To assuage these form search pains, Google added the ability for users to search for tax and other forms and documents in PDFs and view those in HTML by clicking a button. The Quick View renders the form right in Google Docs.
This Quick View, based on the same technology applied to Google Gmail and Google Docs last year, now appears at the end of the second line of the result, underneath the title, in roughly half of the PDFs in Google's search index.
Here is what I found when I searched for W3 forms:
This is what I saw when I clicked on Quick View; the form rendered right in Google Docs:
This will get more people to use Google Docs without them even knowing it. Who knows where this can lead? More adoption of Google Docs?
Perhaps. Smart thinking, Google.