This week Google revealed a handful of nifty, mobile-influenced search options for the desktop, as well as a new tool for managing your online identity. 

Search Improvements

Big G held an Inside Search press event in San Francisco this week, where they discussed a couple of fairly exciting features inspired by mobile search: 

Voice Search on Desktop

We first discussed Google Voice Search on the desktop when Google was tinkering around with it back in May. Now that it's been officially announced, you can get ready to start talking to your computer in the non-crazy way: 

Google says Voice Search is especially useful for long queries such as:

[pictures of big wave surfing in Waimea Bay] or words that are hard to spell like [Schenectady, New York]. It’s also a helpful option if you’re in a conversational mood and you’d rather ask your question out loud than think of the keywords to type. For example, maybe you want to find “a recipe for spaghetti with bolognese sauce.” 

The feature utilizes Chrome’s Speech API and will be available to everyone using Chrome 11+ after it has rolled out over the next week. Of course, you'll also need to make sure you have either a built-in or external microphone.

Search by Image

Don't know the name of something you have a photo of? Google Goggles made searching by image possible on your phone back in 2009, but now you can enjoy the same feature on your desktop by going to images.google.com.

Either click the camera icon in the search box and upload a photo from your computer or paste the URL of an image from the web and you're good to go. You can also drag and drop pictures from web pages or your computer into the search box:


Note: Google says:

Search by Image returns the best results for images that have related content already on the web, so you’re more likely to get relevant results for distinctive landmarks or paintings than you will for more unique photos like your toddler’s latest finger painting. In addition to getting relevant results about your image, you can also find visually similar images or the same image in different sizes or resolutions.

Instant Pages

With Instant Pages now in Chrome, you can skip the extra seconds required when waiting for a page to load.

That is, for searches in which Google can predict with "reasonable confidence" that you’ll click on the first result, Instant Pages technology will begin loading that webpage early so that by the time you click on the result, the entire webpage appears fully loaded instantly:

Hello, Online Reputation Management

Most everyone has Googled themselves at one point or another and found something they didn't want to see. For that, Google has introduced a tool that helps you manage search results for your name. "Me on the Web" is now included on the Google dashboard between account information and analytics. 

“Your online identity is determined not only by what you post, but also by what others post about you — whether a mention in a blog post, a photo tag or a reply to a public status update,” Google explains.

Me on the Web also provides links to resources offering information on how to control what third-party information is posted about you on the web. Google says this is just one of many steps in continuing to explore ways to help make managing your identity online simpler, and it seems like a good start. 

Google Sync

Three new updates to Google Sync for iOS improve Google’s Gmail service and Google Calendar support on the operating system:

  • Search all of the messages in your Gmail account, not just the ones stored locally.
  • You can choose a different address to send emails from using Google’s “Send Mail As” feature
  • Accept, decline or edit calendar event

These new Google Sync features are available to both Gmail and Google Apps accounts. Users must set up their account as an Exchange account in iOS in order to enjoy them, though.