(Some) Google Experiments Open To All

    May 17, 2007

Google’s never been shy about experimenting with its search engine – it seems like there’s always a new feature or two that only a select group of users can access.  But with the launch of Google Experimental Search, people can now opt into at least some of those tests; the search engine corporation has invited users to “[t]ake them for a spin, and let us know what you think.”

Right now, it appears that there are only four different options available – play with “Timeline and map views,” “Keyboard shortcuts,” “Left-hand search navigation,” or “Right-hand contextual search navigation.”  You have to wonder just how many more ongoing experiments Google didn’t present.

Google Experimental Search may represent an evolved version of SearchMash, an off-the-beaten-path engine that is owned by Google.  As WebProNews has documented in the past, SearchMash was (and is) often used to test new features and layouts; there is, in fact, a highly visible feedback form on most pages, asking users to rate different aspects of their search results.

Still, Google should be able to get even more detailed feedback with this newest creation.  Google Experimental Search may not allow us a completely open look at what the search engine giant is up to, but I’m a firm believer in the idea that something is better than nothing, and Google Experimental Search is sure to develop a loyal fan base.