SearchMash, an experimental website owned and operated by Google serves as their testing ground for new and alternative search interface technologies. They have now launched a new version of the SearchMash interface using Adobe Flash and Snap.com’s technology to provide previews of the results.
AJAX has been Google’s technology of choice on SearchMash till recently. The HTML version of the test site still shows results using an AJAX format. However, the new version that uses Snap.com technology has a much slicker user interface built on Flash.
The new Flash version of SearchMash allows users to search the Web, Images, Video, Maps, Wikipedia and blogs. The results are ordered in the same manner as regular Google search results. However, clicking on a result does not take a user to the site. Instead, a preview of the site is generated on the right hand side, as shown below. Users can either double-click the result or click on the preview to access the site in a frame. The frame still contains the SearchMash search box at the top.
Tom McGovern, CEO and co-founder of Snap.com says, “I’ve always loved using SearchMash. Now that it has website previews, there’s just so much more to love.”
According to a post on Snap.com’s official blog, over 2 million websites and blogs worldwide use the SnapShots technology to provide visitors a preview of the destination webpage when they mouse over a link. The product offering has gained tremendous popularity even among some very high-profile blogs such as TechCrunch and Mashable.
If Google finds good use for Snap.com’s technology in their main search site, or sees the benefit of using this technology to provide visitors a preview of a site similar to the way Ask.com does at present, Snap.com could turn into Google’s next acquisition target.