Google Search Refinements

September 8, 2006

Topics: Google.

If there’s any one thing which I really wish Google provided, it would be search refinement. Their option to "search within results" is OK…but not exactly user-friendly. The link is buried at the bottom of the search results page, first of all. The number of times, early on, that I filled in my refining terms at the bottom of the page and then clicked the "search within results" link expecting the refinement to be performed is just ridiculous!

But, assuming you’ve understood what this tool is meant to do, you’ll click the link and head off to the search box. And once you’ve reached it, you’ve got no beautiful suggested refinements, no suggestions of ways you might refine your search, and no clue.

Of course, that last bit might be your own fault…

However, the lack of a simple, user-friendly, and one-click solution to search refinement is a big lack. They do keep playing with various ideas along these lines, however – today, Michael Martinez takes note of an integration with Google Base which has some neat features.

Specifically, this example currently comes up for a search on cheese dip recipe, and provides drop down menus which allow you to examine recipes which use a specific main ingredient, in a chosen cuisine, and using a specific keyword. In this case, the main ingredient and keyword fields are prefilled from your search query.

It appears that "recipe" is the particular keyword which is triggering this additional search, although that actual behavior is a bit more complex. The drop down menus were triggered by a search on "artichoke recipe", but without providing an additional keywords field. I thought this might have been because of the lack of a third word in the query; but experimenting with a variety of third terms in the query simply caused the menus not to appear.

Generally speaking, however, most searches (all that I tried) for a food item and the word "recipe" bring up these drop down menus, although I have been unable to reproduce the extra keyword field.

So, if you’ve got a weird lump of kohlrabi and you don’t know what to do with it, Google will gladly help you figure out a solution!

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