AOL expands search services, desktop function to come

InfoWorld is reporting that AOL has endeavored to make Web searches a little more accurate. This comes at the tail end of a lot of other recent improvements including antivirus and spyware protection. While I still have issues with their tech support, I think they are moving in a positive direction.

One of the deals is with Copernic Technologies, to provide an integrated desktop search feature, AOL said. A time frame for that feature was not provided.

AOL also licensed clustering technology from Vivisimo and is using that in a new sorting and clustering feature that automatically organizes the most relevant search results by topics and shows those with a list of general Web search results. The feature means that AOL is the first of the major search engines to incorporate that type of clustering technology in search results, the company said.

Before users actually hit the “search” button, they can use an automated SmartBox suggestion tool that helps users refine their searches so that they get more accurate results. Searching on the word “eagles,” for instance, brings up a query box listing the bird, the rock band or the Philadelphia football team.

Pulling in information from AOL’s content and Web brands network, the search function now includes a set of results called “Snapshots” that offer editorial content and information for various topics such as local movie showtimes, sports statistics and current events, AOL said. Member ratings of local business and restaurants are included in Snapshots, which also provide a calculator, currency converter and the ability to find an airline flight or a restaurant.

AOL has programmed more than 2.5 million Snapshot packages that will be provided at the top of search results for up to 20 percent of all search queries.