"Reaction [beta]"

SearchMash: Google's secret playground 25 Oct 2006

Google has a secret alternate search engine called SearchMash, where it's experimenting with a number of new AJAX-ified user interface features. (Google hasn't commented on SearchMash yet, but they admit they own it in the site's privacy policy). The new features include:

Start typing!

You don't have to click inside the search box to enter a query. Just start typing and SearchMash will put your query there for you. Seems like a good idea - there are no other fields on the page, so where else would you want text to go?

URL menu

Click on a result's URL to open a contextual menu containing options like "Open in this window", "Open in new window", "Open cached copy", "More from this site", "More similar pages". We're not sure about this one - is it really a good idea to bury these useful options?

Image results panel

The top three image results appear next to your regular (text-based) search results. A nice touch, but doesn't this take up the space Google currently reserves for advertising? (Also, do users really search for images enough to warrant their inclusion within every set of results?).

Reorder results

Not happy with the order of your results? Just click the numbers next to them and drag them to a new position. Hmmm - this one seems like a solution looking for a problem.

More results bar

Click the "more results" bar (or hit the space bar) and SearchMash will add more results to the bottom of page and automatically scroll them into view. We like this one - it's frustrating having to pogo back-and-forth between different results pages.

Take a look at these features for yourself at SearchMash.com

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