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May 14, 2012

Google Tests a New Interface for Info Panes

Last year, Google started to test a new sidebar that offers useful information about your query. As the Wall Street Journal mentioned in a recent article, Google will soon "present more facts and direct answers to queries at the top of the search-results page". There's a large database of entities and each one has a list of relevant attributes.

For example, you could search for [California] and Google displays the capital of the US state, a list of important cities, attractions, the Secretary of State, a map and a snippet from Wikipedia. Google continues to test the info panes, but the interface has been updated, the main thumbnail is smaller and there's more information that's displayed. For singers, Google displays a long list of songs and some important albums.

Google's experimental sidebar is similar to Wikipedia's infobox, "a fixed-format table designed to be added to the top right-hand corner of articles to consistently present a summary of some unifying aspect that the articles share and sometimes to improve navigation to other interrelated articles". It includes structured information about your query, related queries and links to all the topics that are mentioned. Google will look more like an encyclopedia.

{ Thanks, Anirban. }


  1. the simplicity philosophy that google general adopt for search UI seems eroding more all the time, but personally am in favour of new features and progress, so long as video's don't autoplay it's a great bonus. i have not seen it yet here in ireland tho..

  2. A step in the right direction but not enough. Google have to be bold and intergrate Google Search inside Google+. There should be no distance between interaction and reaction. Trash the black bar and replace the links with icons or a folder name "services". We are moving into a mobile world where users are prepared to see similar pieces from the mobile world. Look at the success of iOS and Android. Google Maps could be an icon beside Games in google+. Google have to intergrate their services vertical and not only horizontal.

    My vision is that you in the future not only login to Gmail, Youtube etc but to Google itself. But there have to be something appealing to users not interested in the whole experience. Some is quit satisified with just Gmail and therefor the interaction have to be built on to layers of services. Example 1. Log into Google+ and find interesting news items or stock quotes. Example 2. Log into Google+ and find more of a social network with communication and photosharing. My only advice for Google is to build the future Google experience as a operating system.

    You have these services but you always start from the same place. This place have to be driven by communication and Google+ is the right fit for it. The redesign of Google+ on iOS is both positive and negative. They could really succeed with this kind of design if they built an app similar to Instagram but I dont like the dark and graphic heavy feel when you´re just browsing an feed/circle with 100 friends.

    I also hope Google really decide to give Android a boost by creating their own hardware with their software. Android could in anyway stay open-source. I have never really understand why they have never did this. Amazon is already doing this with their version of Android, Samsung is on their way also. Chinese companies are also developing their own version of Android.. Some rumors is pegging Facebook to building an Android phone. There could really be a shift of power in the mobile/android world soon if these companies shift to have their own app store. Facebook could also soon have a revisioned version of a search engine , tied into their massive social graph.