I was preoccupied with some other things earlier this week when Google announced new options for their search engine. Even from what I briefly read about it, my sense was that another option they were going to unveil later this month — called Google Squared — was going to be their search innovation that had the most potential for English Language Learners.

However, after reading more about their new Wonder Wheel (after you type in a query on the main Google page, you clip on “option” on the upper left) by Joyce Valenzuela and Richard Byrne, I decided to give it a second look.

For those that haven’t tried it yet, it presents search results in a “wheel” diagram with the spokes leading to various subcategories of your query. After you click on a subcategory, you’re then shown other subcategories in a new wheel — sort of like a typical “mind-web” graphic organizer. Every time you click on a category, the search results for that category are listed in text on the right side.

I still don’t think I’ll add it to The Best Search Engines For ESL/EFL Learners — 2008 because it only shows text results and not visual images of the sites that come up in the results, but, nevertheless, it does have some potential for ELL’s.