Google announced a set of new features at its big search event, Inside Search, which took place today. The main ones are voice search on desktop computers (not just smartphones) and enhancements to Instant Search and Image Search. Without further ado, let’s get to to them!
Search by Image
Next to the microphone on images.google.com, you’ll also see a little camera for the new Search by Image feature. If you click the camera, you can upload any picture or plug in an image URL from the web and ask Google to figure out what it is. Try it out when digging through old vacation photos and trying to identify landmarks—the search [mountain path] probably isn’t going to tell you where you were, but computer vision may just do the trick. Search by Image is rolling out now globally in 40 languages. We’re also releasing Chrome and Firefox extensions that enable you to search any image on the web by right-clicking.
We first offered speech recognition on mobile search, but you should have that power no matter where you are. You should never have to stop and ask yourself, “Can I speak for this?”—it should be ubiquitous and intuitive. So we’ve added speech recognition into search on desktop for Chrome users. If you’re using Chrome, you’ll start to see a little microphone in every Google search box. Simply click the microphone, and you can speak your search.
This features helps cut load time of searches by downloading the likeliest result users are likely to pick in the background, before the user has the time to click them. Google hasn’t explained how the engine manages to predict which results are the most likely to get clicked on, the company insists it’s "been working for years to develop [its] relevance technology" That will allow the most common results to load instantly (in virtually zero seconds) when the user decides to load them:
This feature is now available on the latest developer build of Chrome, will be on this week’s beta build and will find its way onto the stable built pretty soon.
Although all major features introduced today are targeted at traditional computers, Google pointed out that mobile searches on its site have grown five-fold over the last three years and has now surpassed desktop searches: