Posted on Sept. 24, 2007

A little more than a month ago, Google pioneered something known as “Universal Search.”

Then, they announced the advent of their “Universal Search” interface, an expanded version of their original results page. This page presents users with blended search results, returning videos, images, maps, photos, blogs, news, local, and even audio results in addition to text links.

However, many users (you included) may have noticed that Google’s expanded Universal Search interface subtly altered the appearance of the Google homepage.

Remember when these links (Images | Video | News | Maps | More) were located directly above the search bar? Have you noticed that they’ve moved to the upper left corner? Google even expanded its search capabilities under the “More” link, which now allows you to vertically search within categories including blogs, books, products, YouTube videos, and any number of other sectors.

Google has deemed this the “Google Navigation Bar,” and it allows users to navigate across Google’s various online domains, with links to Google Calendar, Gmail, and more.

The navigation menu even changes depending on where a user is within the digital Google universe. For example, if you’re on a search page, Google knows to present more search related links, while if you’re in Gmail you’ll see a different set of links for Google Calendar, Photos, and other personalized subdomains.

Known as “contextual navigation,” this system also incorporates various relevant search results onto the same search engine results page.

For example, when performing a search for the terms “Denver” or “Colorado,” the results page lists videos, news, local maps, and photo links under the Google logo’s search bar in addition to the text links which appear first. Users can click on any of these links to peruse the results of these vertical searches. Some have even gone as far as to deem this new interface “Google 2.0.”

Click here to see what challenges Google’s new Universal (or blended) search interface presents to Internet marketers and search engine optimization.

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