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July 18, 2006

Google as a Command-Line

Simplicity is one of the most important qualities of Google's product. That's why I think Google's homepage should be extremely simple, without the options for image search, groups, maps or Froogle. You enter your query, press Google Search, and Google shows you the results and other services that may help you find the answer.

If you type "brazil photos", you are given the option to use Google Images and Google Maps. If you enter "shakira", you can view her profile on Google Music, videos on Google Video, buy her albums at Froogle and talk to her fans at Google Groups. If search for "george bush", you'll see Google News, Blog Search, Image Search and Google Video. For "binary search", Google Groups, Google Scholar and Google Books are helpful.

Services shown should depend on the query, so the homepage shouldn't display any service.

Another helpful addition might be shortcuts, similar to what Yahoo does. If you type "check mail", Gmail and Google Groups are relevant. Entering "dinner at the ritz Friday at 10PM", Google Calendar should help you add this event directly. If you say "search Gtalk tips in my bookmarks", an option to search in Google Bookmarks should be given. The ambiguity of searches like "mail Bill Gates" could be solved by showing each shortcut as an option.

A single search box can be more powerful than more disparate search boxes.

Google is a proxy
Design experiments in Google homepage and SERPs


  1. aha, sweet! :D
    I never knew it worked for the seperate searchs in Google.

    I frequently use the tools like temperature and things like that, but i never knew you could search within google services, this is awesome! :D

    I havent quite figured out how Google Base results are meant to show in main searches (it said it could if it meets the search criteria for a user)
    Oh well :|

    Still, this is freaking sweet! :D
    But i still prefer my Google PH, has all my RSS feeds in one place and some useful functions.
    Only problem is the refreshing, hope they improve that in the future.

  2. Hello, Kris.

    This was just a suggestion, the screenshots are not real.

    Google Base shows OneBox results for specific domains like: jobs, dating, real estate. It's useful because you can filter results like in a SQL query (jobs in New York for part-time jobs in IT as a web designer).

  3. The command line empowers the user to uncover information, but the user needs to know what kind of information is available. The link to e.g. "images" allows the user to explore the information, so the user can see what kind of information (images...) is available. So while I think the command line oneboxes as you describe make sense -- and Google already does this often, e.g. enter [ibm logo] and you'll see two image results in web search -- you still need to educate the user about possibilities, and a link to an image search may not be the worst. Of course, that is, until we truly have a Google AI, then people will just expect to get into "chat" mode and talk to Google about what they need...


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