Google delivers parcel search

A new feature on the search site lets people type in their package tracking numbers to turn up shipping information directly from FedEx or UPS Web pages.

Alorie Gilbert Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Alorie Gilbert
writes about software, spy chips and the high-tech workplace.
Alorie Gilbert
Google has introduced a new search feature that turns up shipping information from Federal Express and United Parcel Service, the company's latest move to expand beyond keyword searches.

Google takes people directly to the FedEx or UPS Web page containing the location of a particular package when they type in their parcel tracking number into its search site. The new "Search by Number" feature, announced Friday, also brings up information linked to other kinds of numbers, such as patent numbers, equipment identification numbers issued by the Federal Communications Commission, and airplane registration numbers from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The feature is one in a series of new bells and whistles Google has introduced this year. Others include a calculator, news alerts, a toolbar that blocks pop-up ads, a glossary feature, and a "deskbar" that can perform Web searches without opening a browser.

Google also has tweaked the way it displays search results for specific products for sale on the Web. A search for "Hulk Hands," for instance, will display the top listings from Google's online shopping guide, Froogle, above its regular search results.

Marissa Mayer, director of consumer Web products at Google, declined to discuss other new developments, but she said the company is always looking for ways to improve the site to keep people--and advertisers--coming to it.

"It's really designed for users," Mayer said. "If you give them what they want, good things will follow from that."