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Well now that the dust settles and we've had time to evaluate the buzz, you probably already know that last week, Google held their annual Searchology event. Typically Google will make a major announcement at this event. For example at the Searchology event in 2007 Google unveiled Universal Search where the focus was on blending the search results within the main results to provide a richer experience to the user.
2009's version of Searchology also featured a somewhat prominent updated to blended results as Google's Marissa Mayer discussed the new Search Options feature whereby users who perform a search on Google will see a link under the search box that says "show options." Clicking this will bring up a left-side navigation menu allowing the user to check out blended results for video, forums, and reviews. A cool feature is that users can view the "blended results" from "any time," "recent results," "the past 24 hours," "the past week," or the "past year."
This is a rich set of tools that will allow you to as Mayer puts it "slice and dice your results" to obtain relevant results that are meaningful to you. The core search experience will not be changing. If anything users will have better access to more recent results. This algorithm combines relevancy and recency together to provide a richer experience. Users can narrow their results down to a specific time and easily switch between different time frames.
Many of the Google Search options can be combined to be provide an even richer experience or at least this is what Google is hoping. So how does this impact blended results that we have become engaged with over the past two years? Well initially it appears that Google is showing less blended results within the main results. A search for "installing drywall" shows regular results with video results at the bottom of the page. If a user clicks on "show options" they are presented with links to video, reviews and forums. A search for "baby toys" still displays a number of blended results within the main results including shopping results, news results and video results as seen here:
So it still depends on the type of query that the user searches for as to how many or what type of blended results are featured. With the new Search Options feature, you can bet that Google will continue to monitor the interaction with the feature to see how to improve the results further.
More on Google Searchology 2009
Search Engine Land's Google Searchology 2009: The Big Recap