Google accessible search

July 20, 2006

This is really good news!! Google is testing a version of it’s search for users with sight difficulties or disabilities. Basically it prioritises results based on whether the mark-up used is deemed accessible or not. In their words ‘In its current version, Google Accessible Search looks at a number of signals by examining the HTML markup found on a web page. It tends to favor pages that degrade gracefully — pages with few visual distractions and pages that are likely to render well with images turned off. Google Accessible Search is built on Google Co-op’s technology, which improves search results based on specialized interests’.

There are two reasons why this excites me:

  1. The travel website I manage positions amazingly well for all our key search terms in this engine (eg. for some destination names we position 1st when in normal Google we position in the 60’s). This is a real testament to the quality of the code and the developers involved and makes me very happy 🙂
  2. I can see other uses for this type of search. There is the potential to extend this kind of results parsing and filtering to push sites that look like they are advert filled to the bottom, or to pick out phishing sites and not display them, or to get spam and gateway pages out of the results altogether.

It would be fantastic if Google are working on some ways to clean up search results in the Labs. While I love Google and it’s my starting place of choice I’d really like to have more relevant results and less dross (affiliate sites, spam, gateways etc) and this could be a step towards being able to filter those out (or at least drop them down the list).


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