Sunday, November 21, 2010

Google Instant Preview

Google is constantly improving its search to give us a more useful and faster user experience.  With this in mind,  Google has just introduced the Instant Preview to help users choose between search results.  Google Instant Preview gives users the ability to view a website without actually visiting it. It does this by showing a screenshot of the webpage after you have clicked on the magnifying glass icon that is on the right of every search result.

In addition, Google puts an orange box around the section of the preview page where the search term occurs.  In typical genealogy searches, you may trying to find specific information on a long, wordy page. Instead of having to scroll through the entire page to find the person’s name or keyword, you can look at the Instant Preview and see where the word occurs on the page.

After activating Instant Previews with that one click on the magnifying glass, you can hover over any other search result to see a preview of the web page.

Google says the benefits are:
  • Quickly Compare Results
    A visual comparison of search results helps you pick which result is right for you.
  • Pinpoint Relevant Content
    Text call outs highlight where your search term appears on the web page so you can evaluate if it’s what you're looking for.
  • Interact with the Results Page
    Page previews let you see the layout of a web page before clicking the search result.

My own personal opinion is that the previews are far too small to be useful.  Maybe it is my old eyes. Maybe it is that my monitor resolution is 1920 x 1080. But all I can see is the general page layout.  I can’t actually read anything except the largest headings which really isn’t helpful to find a surname in context.

I find it easier to find a surname or word on a long, wordy genealogy webpage by using the Google Toolbar Highlighter

If you dislike the previews, you can turn it off by clicking on the page again or clicking on the X in the bubble, but I have found no way to permanently turn it off.

Google Instant Preview is NOT the way that Google shows you search results as you type.  That is called Google Instant, another new Google feature.

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