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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Google Squared – A cool time-saver

Google Labs today released Google Squared – a tool that "constructs a table of facts about any search category you specify".The product is still pretty raw right now, but think of it sort of like Google's short-term answer to the very cool Wolfram Alpha's structured search—with results displayed in a spreadsheet format. This is an amazing time-saver when you are trying to put together a tabular list of information about a particular topic.

Just searched for Bangalore Italian Restaurant and it comes up with detailed information of Description, Address, Phone Number, Business Hours, Rating and you can add new rows (restaurant names) and columns (attributes such as Ambience). Since its still in its early stages, some of the information is actually incorrect. But my guess is it will learn from user inputs on similar searches done, changes made by users and keep improving so that a couple of months down the line this same search will give you much better results.”

Tried the same thing with Hong Kong. But, Google still does not have its Translate tool integrated with Google Squared (like it is integrated with its Gmail app that allows me to now read the Chinese spam mails I receive from my bank among others). This means most of the info is in Chinese and I cannot get the address from the table directly. But a great start none the less.

Wolfram Alpha might be the smarter engine, but google has the advantage of a strong and committed user-base (like yours truly), lot of related tools that it can integrate with and its going to be tough for Wolfram Alpha to catch-up with them. May not be that hard for MS to replicate this in Bing. But competition is always good for the end-consumer (i.e. Us).

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