The search giant is adding a new left-handed navigation panel to most results pages, adding some visual clutter at the expense of offering users tools to help focus their query. What will show up on this new left panel depends what a person is looking for.
Search for a type of media — say the latest episode of “Gossip Girl” — and you will get the option to choose between different content types, like images, videos and books. Search for an event or news topic, like “Times Square bomb,” and the search engine will intuit that this is a news-related query and offer options to look at blogs, real time updates from sources like Twitter and Facebook, and links to news articles.
Search for a product, like “Levi’s jeans,” and the left side of the page will offer links to maps and Google’s comparison shopping engine.
For some searches, Google will also show a link to its “Wonder Wheel,” which users previously had to click a few times to find. That feature, which the company introduced last spring at its Searchology conference, offers a visual representation of related searches.
A final category of links along the new left panel, called “Something Different,” will suggest related topics — like other basketball teams when a person searches for “Boston Celtics.”