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Google Rolls Out Suggestions for Searching

Google Suggest started out a way back in 2004 as a 20 percent project and you’d be forgiven for thinking it sounds kind of familiar. Google-owned video sharing site, YouTube, has had the suggestions during searching thing going for a while now. In fact, the Google Suggest feature originated in Google Labs and then spread to Toolbar, Firefox search box, Maps and Web Search for select countries, the iPhone and BlackBerry.

The idea is to eliminate searches that are spelled incorrectly or are too vague. When you begin typing, a dropdown box appears showing you a list of suggestions for what you might be searching for, not to mention your search term combined with a few others to try and guess what you might be looking for.

Jennifer Liu, Product Manager at Google explained Google Suggest in a little more detail on the company’s official blog. Basically, the tool is targeting three things:

* Help formulate queries: Instead of just typing [hotels in washington] - did you want [hotels in washington dc] or [hotels in washington state]? Don’t remember that song title or person’s name? Let Google help you search (and yes, I ended up choosing "From This Moment" as our wedding song).

* Reduce spelling errors: Since suggestions are spell-corrected using the same "Did you mean?" feature that offers alternative spellings for your query after you search, misspellings and typos can be corrected ahead of time. Instead of wasting your time with a misspelled query like [new yrok times] or [tomorow never dies], search the first time with the correctly-spelled query.

* Saves keystrokes: Who wants to spend their time typing [san francisco chronicle] when you can just type in "san f..." and choose the suggestion right away?

Today’s launch doesn’t mean we’ll all immediately see suggestions cropping up while we search. After a quick run around we’ve seen the feature on, and but users of, .ie, .de and .it are still searching the old fashioned way. Google has said more and more of us will see Google Suggest as the week goes on.