Google has quietly added a new feature to its UK site, which allows visitors searching for a cinema listing to get show times and locations without leaving the initial search results page.
The development follows the launch of similar tools on the dot-com site in the US and could pave the way for a widely expected suite of travel tools in the UK.
For example, when entering a search for the film “Last King of Scotland” (the role for which actor Forrest Whittaker just picked up an Oscar), the first result gives you the option to enter your town or post code.
The new feature basically assumes that the reason you are searching for the film is because you want to go and see it, and therefore attempts to cut out an extra step and expedite visitors’ objective.
Of course this feature only works if Google actually returns movie listings in the post code or town entered, and not somewhere several miles away.
Apparently there are still a few kinks in the system.
During our own beta test, we searched for show times in Wimbledon only to be told by Google that the closest showing was in Turriff, AB53 4JJ.
For the record, there are several theatres in and around Wimbledon playing this movie.
Despite what we can only assume is a minor malfunction which the technocrats at Google will speedily rectify, the feature is a great example of the so-called “next generation” of search which Google executives have been hinting at for a while.
The new film feature follows a similar feature enhancement currently being beta tested on the dot com site, which lets visitors searching for a holiday, flight, etc. automatically link to a handful of preferred travel vendors, including Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz.
A spokesperson for Google said the company is constantly updating its search function, but could not provide additional details on just what those clever Googlers are planning next.