Google has made a subtle but important change to the way it offers users ‘Search’. Here is the BBC’s brief summary:

Google is overhauling its search system so it returns “universal” results not just those from webpages. The change means users will also get results from news sites, blogs, video services and other relevant places…….. The expanded results will be available via a series of tabs that will appear on the results page.

There is a lot more detail from Danny Sullivan. We will see how this works out; my first impression is that it is a shift of emphasis rather than a fully implemented parallel search. The tabs seem to be prioritised. News, Video, News, Maps, and Gmail, come in the top level and the other ‘specialised’ options are only available to me through a pull down list. It may well be that the ‘top level’ has been customised for my usage pattern (if you dont use Gmail, I doubt that Gmail would figure in the top level for you!). Google is increasingly delivering a personalised service which means that search results are not universal but personalised. As web services become more integrated they become more universal but also less reliably repeateable.

Curious fact: Microsoft’s Windows Live searches Exact Editions content more reliably than Google. Microsoft is not dead yet.