NEW from Google, an unbranded search engine called Searchmash.
SearchEngineWatch has an explanation of Searchmash.
I'll quote the first several paragraphs from the SearchEngineWatch site.
Google's gained a new unbranded site called SearchMash where it plans to test user interface ideas without Google's brand somehow skewing the tests. Below, more about the site and comments from Google about it.
Currently, SearchMash allows you to perform a search and get web and image results presented side-by-side. It's similar to how A9 has long allowed side-by-side results, ironically a feature that A9 has made much harder to implement after a recent redesign over there.
Web results are presented in the main left-hand column after a search and seem ranked the same as at Google. Unlike Google, presentation is different. Results are numbered. Clicking on the URL line makes a box pop-up with options to:
* open the listing in the current window
* a new window
* to see more pages from that web site
* to find similar pages.
After the first ten results, there's a "more web pages" link at the bottom. Click on this, and you get another 10 results magically appearing on the same page, inserted below the first 10. You can keep going, adding 10 more results at a time.
It's pretty slick. Microsoft's Windows Live had a somewhat similar "infinite scroll" feature that allowed you to keep getting more and more results, as you went down the page. Unveiled in March, it was dropped in September for web results (it still works for image results) when Windows Live came out of beta, as Microsoft felt it slowed performance.
While A9 dropped so many features, "continuous scroll" is something it gained. Do a search there, and as you scroll down, more results keep magically appearing, 10 at a time.
Unique to SearchMash is the ability to drag-and-drop web search results. Click on the number next to any listing, and you can move that listing higher or lower in the search results. The number doesn't change after you move it. The feature also doesn't seem that useful. Far better would be a scratch pad-style feature such as Windows Live offers for image search. Being able to drag-and-drop web results into some type of collection area would be handy -- and it's something that Microsoft is promising.