Google expands search control with new options

Google's side panel will sort search results by source and time and will integrate features from the Web History service

Google is adding new functionality to a side panel that could provide quicker access to relevant search results, the company said on Thursday.

The company is adding options to filter search results by blog and news items to the side panel accompanying search results. The side panel can be activated by clicking the "show options" button on the search results page.

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These options will provide users quick access to more relevant sources, said Nundu Janakiram, product manager for search at Google. In May, the company offered the ability to filter search results by videos, forums, and reviews through the side panel. Last week the company added a similar filtering option for books.

The ability to sort search results by date and time have also been added to the side panel, Janakiram said. Users can request results for terms from a specific date range, for example from October 1, 2003 to October 2, 2004. Google is also rolling out a feature in the side panel to show results from the past hour, Janakiram said.

"What this highlights is the speed and freshness of Google's crawl. We often crawl results on the order of minutes when they appear on the Internet," Janakiram said. The results could include news, blogs, and Web pages crawled in the past hour. Google earlier offered the option to sort recent results by day, week, and year, Janakiram said.

Google is also integrating features from its Web History service into the side panel. Web History tracks links and saves queries for users who have signed up for the service. The "Visited" filter option will only include links users have clicked in the past. The feature is a meaningful way to revisit an earlier search and discover new content, Janakiram said.

An inverse feature, called "Not Yet Visited," includes results which takes out links that have already been clicked on. This section will only appear for sign in users who have enabled Web History.

The company is also adding shopping filters to the side panel that could sort results for users looking to evaluate or buy products.

The new features are part of a number of enhancements Google has made to provide access to more relevant content. Last week the company announced the "Jump To" feature which jumps users directly to part of the page relevant to the query. Earlier this week Google introduced the "Trends" box for popular Web searches. If a user enters a popular query, the search result shows an infographic with ratings of the query, how it's trending and other data.

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