Below is a brief look at how the Google search engine / magic has evolved since 1997. Has it been that long? Amazing.
August 8, 2012
Google launches a Knowledge Graph carousel along the top of your results. It helps to answer your questions and explore when you’re looking for a list or a collection of things, like [things to do in paris] or [2011 action movies].
July 26, 2012
Google launches Handwrite, a beta feature that provides a fun and easy new way to search on Google from your tablet or smartphone- just write the search with your finger! With Handwrite can be activated from your mobile search settings.
May 16, 2012
They unveil the first feature powered by the Knowledge Graph, which is our huge collection of the people, places and things in the world and how they’re related to one another. The Knowledge Graph powers improvements to Search, helping you get smarter answers and jump start your discovery.
January 10, 2012
Google launches personal results as a feature of Search plus Your World. With personal results, you’ll see relevant tips, photos, and posts from your friends right alongside results from the web. Personal results are marked with an icon so you know they’re just for you. Because these results are personal and private, you’ll need to be signed in to Google to see them.
January 10, 2012
As part of Search plus Your World, Google launches profiles in search, a feature which allows you to find people faster by seeing their Google profile appear right as you type their name in search. By creating a Google profile and making it visible in search, you give Google the ability to surface the most relevant content about you.
January 10, 2012
Google introduces related people and pages in search, allowing you to both discover people and brands related to your search and connect by adding them to your circles.
September 13, 2011
Google starts Flight Search, a new tool to explore travel options and plan your trip. With Flight Search you can see an easy-to-scan list of convenient flights. Not sure where you want to travel? Flight Search can help you explore your travel options and destinations. Select a departure city and you can surf around the map to find ticket options for various destinations. Flight Search will also help you see what dates will get you low prices.
July 14, 2011
They introduce the ability to search by image. Now, you can use both your own photos and images from the web to begin your search on Google. When you search by image, you’ll see results that show you where that image, and similar images, appear on the web. We’ll show you to webpages that contain that image, or find the same image in different sizes or resolutions.
June 14, 2011
Google introduces voice search for the first time on computers. Instead of typing, you can click the microphone icon to speak your search and find whatever you’re looking for. Anything you’re wondering about, whether it’s the weather, movie times, or something you know how to say but not how to spell like bolognese mozzarella recipe – if you can say it, you can search it.
June 14, 2011
Google launches Instant Pages, a new feature to help users get to their desired search results even faster–in some cases even instantly! The Instant Pages feature is enabled by prerendering technology that we are building into Chrome and then is intelligently triggered by web search when we’re very confident about which result is the best answer for your search.
May 9, 2011
Google allows users to sort by subject in Google Images, so you can not just browse topics visually but find the precise image you’re looking for by clicking Sort by subject in the left-hand panel to instantly organize results.
March 30, 2011
They introduce the +1 button, which is shorthand for “this is pretty cool” or “check this out.” Click the +1 button to help friends, contacts, and the rest of the web find the best stuff in Google search.+1′s can also help you by showing you the right recommendations on topics you’re interested in, right when you want them—in your search results.
March 8, 2011
Google launches Instant Previews on Mobile. Similar to the desktop version of Instant Previews, it allows you to visually compare search results from webpage snapshots, making it easier to choose the right result faster.
March 2, 2011
They give Google Profiles a new look and feel, making it even easier for you to control and enrich your public profile. By going to profiles.google.com, you can create a profile that best represents the way you want to be seen by the world.
February 24, 2011
Google unveils Recipe view so you can tailor your search results to show only recipes, then use clearly marked ratings, ingredients, and pictures to choose the right one. You can also search for specific recipes like [chocolate chip cookies], more open-ended topics like [strawberry], or even find recipes for a holiday or event, like [cinco de mayo]. To get to Recipe View, click on the “Recipes” link in the left-hand panel of the search results page.
February 17, 2011
Google announces updates to Social Search: When signed in to your Google account, you can now see results and shared links from people you’re connected to on Twitter, Flickr, Blogger, and other publicly available sites—blended through the search results page. The names and profile photos of the people who shared or published this information appear underneath the results.
December 7, 2010
Google opens the Chrome Web Store, an online marketplace where you can discover thousands of apps, extensions and themes for Google Chrome. Inside, you can search or browse through different categories and individual item pages, as well as read and contribute reviews and ratings. If you use multiple computers, you can synchronize your apps, extensions and themes across all your computers with browser sync.
December 3, 2010
Place Search goes mobile, allowing you to search for [museums new york city] on your smartphone and get web results for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, along with comments and reviews—all neatly organized in one cluster.
November 9, 2010
Google brings in Instant Previews, a visual preview of search results that helps you quickly choose the right one by displaying a web snapshot of each option with text call-outs highlighting your search term on the page. By clicking once on the magnifying glass in your results, you see an instant preview of that web page. After you activate Instant Previews, you can hover over any other result to see a different preview.
October 27, 2010
They unveil Place Search, a new kind of local search that organizes the world’s information around places. Now when you search for local information, you see a list of specific places marked with red pins, so you can easily decide where to go. Place Search also offers more relevant links on a single results page and provides links to other pages for more information—helping you find the place you’re looking for faster.
September 20, 2010
Google’s interactive transparency report lets you see government inquiries we’ve received about users, as well as requests to take down or censor content.
September 8, 2010
Google Instant launches, a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. Now, you don’t have to finish typing your full search term or even press “Search” to get results. You can use the suggested wording as feedback to help you formulate better search terms and adapt your search on the fly until the results match what you want.
August 26, 2010
Google gives Realtime Search a new stand-alone homepage, along with more tools for exploring and refining real-time results.
June 8, 2010
Google launches Caffeine, our new indexing system, which provides 50-percent fresher results for web searches than our last index, and is the largest collection of web content we‘ve ever offered.
June 2, 2010
Google.com homepage personalization launches, allowing you to customize your background image.
May 5, 2010
Google rolls out a fresh look for our search results page, with a new left-hand panel that brings together the most relevant search tools and refinements for your query. Now you can quickly jump between different types of results, such as Books, Images, and News, or narrow down results by time or topic. The new “Something different” feature at the bottom of the left-hand panel helps you find other topics related to your query.
December 7, 2009
The new Realtime Search feature keeps your search results up to the minute with live updates from people on popular sites like Twitter, as well as news headlines and blog posts published just seconds before your search.
December 7, 2009
They launch Google Goggles, a new visual search application for Android phones that lets you search the web by taking a picture, instead of typing in words. Shoot a photo of a landmark, sign, logo, book cover, or work of art to get matching search results for your image. For business information, just point your phone at a store, and Goggles shows you the name of the business, using the phone’s GPS and compass.
November 5, 2009
The new Google Dashboard provides transparency and gives you greater oversight on your Google-related data and information. Dashboard summarizes data for each product you use and provides you with direct links so you can control your personal information and settings—all in one convenient and secure place.
October 26, 2009
Social Search, a new experiment in Google Labs, enriches your Google search results with relevant public content from your friends and contacts, conveniently highlighted for you at the bottom of your search results.
August 31, 2009
What? Google Translate didn’t support Afrikaans, Belarusian, Icelandic, Irish, Macedonian, Malay, Swahili, Welsh or Yiddish? Well, it does now.
May 12, 2009
Can web search be better and more personalized? Always. That’s why Google launched Search Options, a tool panel to the left of search results that gives you more sophisticated control over your results.
April 21, 2009
They release Google Profiles, which gives you the ability to better control what others find when they search for you. Profiles appear at the bottom of our U.S. search pages when people search by name.
September 24, 2008
As part of Google’s 10th birthday celebration, they launch Project 10^100 (that’s “ten to the hundredth”), a call for ideas designed to help as many people as possible, and a program to bring the best of those ideas to life. We commit $10 million to jumpstart these projects and invite you to vote for your favorite ideas.
September 2, 2008
The release of Google Chrome, a new open-source web browser. Fast and secure, it lets you access your favorite Google services—Gmail, Google Maps and Google Docs—more easily than ever before. Google Chrome offers new unique features too, such as a single box for web addresses and searches, a simplified download manager, and an interface to maximize your browsing experience.
August 25, 2008
Google launches Google Suggest, which helps you formulate search queries and reduce spelling errors and keystrokes, saving Internet users thousands of typing hours—one split-second suggestion at a time.
July 25, 2008
Just how big is the web? Google announces that their indexing system for processing links shows that Google now counts 1 trillion unique URLs, with the number of individual web pages growing by several billion pages per day.
July 23, 2008
Google launches a new service called Knol that makes it much easier for knowledgable experts to write and share information on the web. Authors can post authoritative articles (a.k.a. knols) on a subject, then share the knowledge with everyone. Each knol identifies an author or group of authors, so readers can clearly see who wrote it and their credentials, as well as comment, rate, or review the knol. Using a new feature called “moderated collaboration,” readers can even contribute to the knol directly. The author can then decide whether to take the suggestions into account.
June 3, 2008
The launch of Google Site Search allows website owners to enable Google-powered searches on their own sites.
May 16, 2007
At Google’s Searchology event, they announce that they’re one step closer to universal search after creating a way to search across all content sources—web, images, news, maps, local, video, books—and deliver integrated results ranked in order of relevance.
You can check out the rest of the history / evolution of Google search by heading over to Inside Search.