Google has unveiled a series of improvements to its search engine, including an Instant Pages system, that it claims will cut up to 10 seconds off the time it takes to make a query.
Instant Pages was demonstrated at an event in San Francisco, and works by downloading the web page for the most relevant search result so that it displays almost instantly when clicked.
The service is initially being rolled out on the latest beta of Chrome, but should be in the final build within five weeks.
Google fellow Amit Singhal explained that a web page typically takes around five seconds to load, but that this could be significantly reduced by preloading the page.
"If you shave 15ms from a search process, users will search more and more," he said. "Speeding things up this much is great for users and great for Google - a classic win-win situation."
Instant Pages will be rolled out eventually across all platforms, including mobile, but is being staggered so that the required data loads can be assessed. Web users will also be advised on how to avoid large bills if they are on limited bandwidth.
Google is also rolling out voice search for desktop systems using the Chrome browser. The service will be introduced this week worldwide, and the functions can be built into third-party applications to enable speech recognition and control.
Voice searches have grown sixfold over the past year, according to Michael Cohen, manager of speech technology at Google. Two years' worth of spoken searches come into Google every day, he said.
Google is using machine learning to process voice identification. The company fed over 230 billion American English word samples into the system, and will extend the language capabilities to around two thirds of the world's population.
Google's Instant Search, which was launched last year, has now been extended to image searches. An image search generates an infinite results page, and tablet systems will get a new look to image searches to take more advantage of screen availability.
The company also demonstrated an image identifying search function. Google stressed that this is not face recognition, but a way to compare images to others online and provide the best approximation.
Mobile searches, meanwhile, are now getting a series of localised search topic buttons for restaurants, cafes and bars among other locations. The search triangulates the user's location if GPS is unavailable, and makes suggestions based on reviews of local businesses.
Mobile searching has also been improved by adding the user's history to searches, as well as graphics that may be more useful than text. Icons have been added to mobile search findings to allow customisation of searches.
The announcement, which was scheduled at the last minute, comes as Google is preparing for the commercial release of its Chromebook platform. Many of these features should be ready at the official launch, the company said, but declined to be specific.
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