On Monday, Dec. 7, Google will host a search event at the Computer History Museum in Google's Mountain View, Calif.,hometown.
However, Google trotted out a few tools ahead of the event to whet our appetites: translated search in its search options, a fade in search trick, and, as unearthed by the LA Times, Google Dictionary.
First, the translation tool. Google has steadily been improving Google Translate, but to this point the technology has been lodged in a separate site with the unwieldy URL: http://translate.google.com/#en|sq|.
On Dec. 3, Google added translation capabilities as one of the Search Options to its core search engine.
When users do a search and click on the Search Options panel at the top of the page, they'll see an option for translated search under the standard results section:
From a pull-down menu, you can choose what language to translate the results into:
I choose to see the results translated into Italian:
"So if you're traveling and want to find hotels, restaurants, activities or reviews written from a local perspective, or if you're just curious to find what's being written about a company, product or topic in another language, give Translated search in the Search Options panel a try."
Google has had this capability in Google Translate for a couple years, but now it's been woven into the core search. This is vital to Google's success on an international level, as the company noted:
Google Dictionary meanwhile defines words and provides synonyms as you'd expect it to. I tested it with the word "monopolist," half expecting Google to have put Microsoft in there, at least as a synonym:
No luck. Hey, it's Friday! I'm allowed to have fun on Fridays.
Google Dictionary also lets users mark words with the star button and come back to them later, see a list of recent searches and use translator resources.
Everyone is writing about how this will kill Answers.com. I don't know about that. I never used Answers.com.
But I used to use Merriam Webster or Dictionary.com. Thanks to Google Dictionary, I don't have to. And that's bad news for those businesses.
Finally, Google has turned on its Fade in page after testing 10 variants.
In one of Google's famed exercises in minimizing clutter on the search homepage, when the page loads, it shows only Google's logo, the search box and the buttons:
When you want to see another application, such as Google Maps or Gmail, move the mouse and links to hose apps fade in:
"For the vast majority of people who come to the Google homepage, they are coming in order to search, and this clean, minimalist approach gives them just what they are looking for first and foremost."
All of this feels like great foreplay for the Google Search event for Monday, where I expect the new user interface, and maybe even the Google Dictionary could be unveiled.
I've said it before: Google is ramping up its search innovation rate at an unpredecedented clip, thanks in large part to major moves from Microsoft Bing (you have to try the new Bing Maps.
This is great for consumers of both Google and Microsoft.