This week in search 4/9/10

This is one of a regular series of posts on search experience updates. Look for the label This week in search and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

Here's what's happening this week in search:

Site speed in web search ranking
We made an announcement today about site speed and how it effects our search ranking algorithms. Check out the Webmaster Central blog for more information, including a number of free tools that you can use to increase the speed of your website.

Stars in mobile search
In early March, we announced stars in search, a feature that helps you mark and rediscover great content on the web. Recently, we extended this functionality to your mobile phone, so that you're able to view that same favorite content on the go. So, if you'd previously starred sites for [cheesecake recipe] when planning a meal at home, searching for [cheesecake recipe] on your phone in the supermarket will help you rediscover the recipe search results that looked enticing — no need to make a grocery list. Stars work both ways, so if you mark a search result while on your phone, you'll be able to see it later when you get to your desktop. This feature is currently supported on Android phones, iPhones/iPods and Palm WebOS devices in the U.S., and you need to be logged into your Google account for it to work.

Updates to Google Quick Scroll
In December we launched Google Quick Scroll, an extension for Chrome which uses Google's search capabilities to help you jump directly to the portion of the page that's relevant to your search query. Since December, we've brought Quick Scroll to all the languages and domains where Chrome extensions are available. We've also continued to make constant improvements to the tool, and recently we debuted a new version with a few useful updates.

Since Quick Scroll is all about getting you to information fast, it's important that it appear quickly. So we've reduced the time it takes for the tool to pop up so you don't have to wait as long. Also, if you've been using Quick Scroll for a while, you know that it doesn't appear for every result — just when Google detects that only a portion of the page is relevant to your query. Now, even if Quick Scroll doesn't appear after you click on a search result, an icon will show up in the address bar. Clicking on the icon will pop up the Quick Scroll box with an explanation of why it didn't trigger on that page.

Here's what it looks like:

Help for those who need it
A few months ago, we introduced a search feature that displays the toll-free U.S. poison control number when you search for related information. This got us thinking about other ways we can help people get clear information from Google search in times of crisis or distress. So we recently launched a feature that displays the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at the top of the results page for certain search queries in the U.S. We hope this quick access to information helps people in emotional distress who may benefit from calling a suicide prevention hotline.

Stay tuned for more updates next week.