Google recently added "Experiemental Search" to their list of Google labs options. Yesterday I started to search with it, and I found it quite interesting.
There are currently four different experimental search options. You just have to go to Google Experimental and select one of the four features that are currently tested.
- New ways to view search results: using specialized snippets, on a timeline or on a map. You can also access this feature without joining the experiment, using the view operator: just add view:info, view:timeline or view:map to your query.
- keyboard shortcuts: select a search result or move to the next result without using your mouse. You'll like it if you use shortcuts in Gmail or Google Reader.
- Two similar experiments: put the search navigation at the left/right of the page.
Timeline and maps view
Timeline view is a great way to sort results, especially for research queries. The results are grouped by years (or decades) and ordered from oldest down to the most recent. At the top of the screen is a linkable timeline that allows you to filter the results by selected time periods.
For example, I would like to know Microsoft's history.
I query: microsoft view:timeline and I got:
The keyboard shortcut interface is just as it sounds, it provides a quick and easy way to navigate the search results using only our keyboard.
|J||Selects the next result.|
|K||Selects the previous result.|
|O||Opens the selected result.|
|<Enter>||Opens the selected result.|
|/||Puts the cursor in the search box.|
|<Esc>||Removes the cursor from the search box.|
left/Right hand search navigation
You can only choose one experiment at a time, it's easy to switch between them or deactivate them and there's an option to send your feedback.