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27 December 2010

Google search styles

Everyone has used Google to search for information on the Internet, and you probably have seen a page of results that looks like this:

But did you know it could also look like this?

This is a page view called "Wonder Wheel", and you can find it by clicking on the Wonder Wheel link which appears on the left of every Google Search results page, when you click "more search tools".

As you click on the links on the arms of the Wheel, the new links becomes the center of the wheel, and the search results list on the right changes.  When I clicked on "Partridge Pear Tree Pictures", the page looks like this, showing me a selection of images, and text links to more images.
and when I clicked on "Partridge Pear Tree Meaning" it looked like this, showing me more detailed results about the meaning of the phrase.

The Wonder Wheel is a useful tool for searching when you're not quite sure of your keywords. It's a way of helping you visualize your choices.

A second tool available on a Google Search page is "Reading level", one of the choices available when you've clicked "Advanced Search" link.

Don't want to sort through results full of complex language? New to the language the page is written in?  (The reading level tool works for any language) Only want an introduction to the subject?  Use "basic" or "intermediate".  Google describes how the search engine classifies web pages:
"The feature is based primarily on statistical models we built with the help of teachers. We paid teachers to classify pages for different reading levels, and then took their classifications to build a statistical model. With this model, we can compare the words on any webpage with the words in the model to classify reading levels. We also use data from Google Scholar, since most of the articles in Scholar are advanced." (link)

Here's our "partridge in a pear tree" results for the three reading levels (click on the image to see it full size):
Basic Reading Level search results
Intermediate Reading level search results
Advanced Reading Level search results