Thursday, September 9, 2010

Improving The Google Instant Feature

Google Instant is a new search feature that automatically returns pages of search results as a user types partial (e.g. "c") and complete (e.g. "cat") search keywords. See the Google blog post, Search: now faster than the speed of type.
Currently, Google Instant displays search results only for the topmost entry on the Google Suggest drop-down list. If you search for "cat" or "car" or "computer" and type "c", Google displays a results page consisting only of "craigslist" entries.

"Craigslist" is the Google search prediction for users who begin Web searches with the letter "c".

In my opinion, Google Instant could be improved by displaying the search results page in sections.

If the search results page displays 12 entries, the first 3 search results could be for "craigslist", the next 3 for "CNN", the next 3 for "chase", and the last 3 for "costco".
These sections correspond to the first 4 Google Suggest entries, instead of only to the highest Google Suggest entry.

When a user wants to view search results only
for the topmost Google Suggest entry, the user can click Search or hit Enter.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Several Trivial GMail Bugs

You can see these trivial bugs here: GMail Inbox -> Show search options -> Date within field. As an arbitrary example, in the "Date within" field specify "Date within 3 days" of "9/1/10". Click "Search Mail".

Note: The current date is 9/1/2010.

Google runs the query and displays this spurious message: "after:2010/8/29 before:2010/9/5".

Here are the bugs:

Bug #1: "before:2010/9/5" is a bug because Google's Gmail cannot run a search into the future side of the stated time range.

Bug #2: "after:2010/8/29" is also bug because "Date within 3 days" of "9/1/10" should include the current day and the 3 preceding days. After 2010/8/29 suggests 1) 2010/8/30 and 2) 2010/8/31 which is a 2-day, not a 3-day range.

Bug #3: Although the query message says "after:2010/8/29", the results actually include emails received on 2010/8/29. The fix would be to change the word "after" to "from". The "before" part of the message should be deleted when it involves future days.

Bug #4: The Gmail query message label: "after:2010/8/29 before:2010/9/5" uses a yyyy/m/dd date format. Though not incorrect, mm/dd/yyyy or dd/mm/yyyy formats are more typically used.