A couple months ago Google launched a new feature that filters Google Images search results via a range of differently colored buttons. These buttons organize and break down your search term into categories. These categories can widely vary, but all are connected in some way to the search term. For example, for the search term “Procurement,” teal buttons with “supply chain,” “project management,” and “purchasing” indicate closely related concepts; dark blue buttons represent procurement solution providers such SAP and Oracle. Purple buttons represent large companies with highly visible procurement functions, such as Walmart, and Apple. Using another search term, “Wedding Cakes,” produces multiple color categories such as cake colors, flowers (i.e. cakes with roses), flavors, celebrity cakes, themes, style (i.e. pillar), season and so on.
This enhancement had been tested for mobile initially and now is available on desktops. According to a Get Found With Fuse blog post, the colors follow the Color Wheel and do not, at this time, “serve a purpose or effect SEO.” Not all search terms are coded.
Following in the Footsteps of Pinterest and Thesuarus.com
It’s interesting to note that Pinterest has been using color buttons to enable filtering of results. Also, Thesuarus.com uses color-coding to display synonyms. Results with more similar meaning to the search term are coded with darker color hues than those with more distant meaning. In The Visual Thesaurus, meanings are color-coded to indicate parts of speech: nouns = red, verbs = green, adjectives = yellow, and adverbs = purple.
Powerful Search Term Maps Visualization Tool From LexisNexis
LexisNexis recently announced a new visualization tool on Lexis Advance, which “maps search terms in case documents so users can hone in on the best case for their issue, assess the relevance of their search results and navigate individual documents at unprecedented speed.” In other words, it’s the Find command on steroids and it is brilliant. The tool supports both natural language and Boolean searches and has been rolled out in limited release. Every case document is visually mapped and color coding is added to search terms. This mapping allows you to spot patterns and see where the terms are most heavily concentrated, in addition to where they are located in the document, and how many times they appear.
Expect to see more and more of these types of visualization and analytics tools that help researchers quickly assess and interpret the relevance of documents and information retrieved from searches. In the future these types of tools will be ubiquitous and integrated (in some form or another) into almost all business research product offerings.