Google today announced its first steps toward a "universal search model" that will offer users a more integrated and comprehensive way to search for and view information online.

Put simply it means that now when you search Google will incorporate information from a variety of previously separate sources – including videos, images, news, maps, books, and websites – into a single set of results.

The example given by Google illustrates what this means in real terms, "a user searching for information on the Star Wars character Darth Vader is likely interested in all the information related to the character and the actor – not just web pages that mention the movie. Google will now deliver a single set of blended search results that include a humorous parody of the movie, images of the Darth Vader character, news reports on the latest Lucas film, as well as websites focused on the actor James Earl Jones – all ranked in order of relevance to the query".

More changes include "dynamically generated navigation links" which generate links to Google Blog Search, Google Book Search, Google Groups, and Google Code which the company hope means that users can find a wider range of information on their topic, including data types they might not have initially considered.