Google to Improve Search Interface, Combine More Products

By Steve Bryant  |  Posted 2006-10-19 Print this article Print

Google will begin to coordinate their main search function across vertical categories to make it easier for users to perform a single search and receive results from multiple types of media and content, said Google co-founder Sergey Brin Oct. 19.

"When you do search you will see, for example, images and news stories and products across the top that you can click to," said Brin. "There are increasingly many ways that we are integrating together all of our search offerings so you don't have to pick where you're going to search first."

Brin did not reveal any specifics of how this change will be implemented. Currently, when you search through Google's main search interface, the results page will display pure results, image results, a drop-down refinement box, or a mix of those, depending on the search terms.

Brin, who has been leading an initiative at Google called "Features not Products," said the company was also working on integrating more of its products. Brin expressed concern that with so many products serving different types of content -- images, spreadsheets, e-mail, shopping, etc. -- it would be difficult for anyone to keep track of them.

"What we are concerned about is that if we continue to develop so many new individual products that are all their assorted silos, you will have to essentially search for our products before you can even use them. And then you will have to search before you can do a search, in many cases," said Brin. Brin said Google Apps for Your Domain was one example of this integration, and that the collection of applications would soon include Google Docs and Spreadsheets.

Asked how video results would factor into search results, Google executives said video results would be a function of the breadth of inventory, apparently referring to the continuing popularity of Google Video, YouTube and Google's ability to index those videos' metadata.

Google executives also fielded several questions about the YouTube acquisition and associated costs. When not prompting the operator to move on to the next question, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said YouTube's bandwidth costs would be relatively immaterial due to Google's economies of scale.

Regarding questions about copyright issues surrounding YouTube, Schmidt replied gruffly. "We are definitely not relying on a liberal or a conservative interpretation of the DMCA," he said. "We're relying on the Digial Millenium Copyright Act as it is being imposed by law and there are not a lot of shades of grey in how it works. We do our very very best to implement it exactly as prescribed."

"Whether people like it or not, it's the law of the land."

Update: I corrected Brin's quote after reading the transcript of the call. |

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