Google adds shortcut icons to mobile search homepage

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) continues its efforts to simplify and streamline mobile search, adding new homepage icons and rolling out a new feature making it easier to input longer, more complex queries.

Google Search Build

Click here to watch a video about Google's search building tool.

The four homepage icons--which offer shortcuts to Restaurants, Coffee, Bars and More (shopping, gas, ATMs, etc.)--identify local points of interest across commonly-searched categories. The results page offers a map with markers pinpointing their current location and nearby places; as users scroll through the results, the map remains at the top of the mobile device screen, adjusting automatically to the listing the user is exploring. Tapping on a result yields reviews, contact information and related data.

Google also unveiled a tool that simplifies lengthy searches by adding suggested phrases to the search box, enabling users to "build" queries piece by piece. The feature comes to the mobile browser after first launching in Google's Search apps for Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS.

Google rakes in 96.8 percent of U.S. mobile search spending, with Yahoo and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Bing dividing the remaining 3.2 percent, according to data issued in March by banking and investment firm Macquarie Group. Writing on the Official Google Mobile Blog, director of engineering Scott Huffman notes its mobile search traffic has increased five-fold worldwide over the past two years, a rate comparable to the formative era of Google Search on the desktop.

Late last month, Google confirmed it had reached a deal with Apple to continue providing search and map services across the mobile platform, dispelling rumors the companies would sever ties in the face of increasingly intense competition.

For more:
- read this Official Google Mobile Blog entry

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