Google unveiled a number of improvements to its search products today at its Inside Search event in San Francisco. One of the big changes involves bringing technology that Google has used to improve mobile search to the desktop.
Now people can search by voice on their desktops. Using the built-in laptop microphone, Googlers performed a number of searches just by speaking, including “recipe for spaghetti with bolognese sauce” and “Worcester, MA”. Not only is speaking faster than typing the search for many people, it also helps you search for things that you aren’t sure how to spell.
And by bringing voice search to more devices, Google is training people to use it more often — Googlers said today that one of their goals is to make sure people never wonder, “Can I use voice search for this?” because the answer will always be yes.
Google is also using its mobile technology to create a “search by image” option on the desktop. So if you see an image that you want to know more about, you can either enter the Web address, upload it to Google, drag-and-drop it into Google, or use the Chrome or Firefox extensions to perform a search. For example, Google showed off the ability to drag-and-drop an image from the “Y U NO” meme into search (sample “Y U NO” image created at Memgenerator and pictured above). The top result was a web page explaining the meme. It also brought up similar images that had completely different text, showing that Google is really searching based on the image itself, not the text in the image.