Google Labs

Watching the 60 Minutes report on Google the other night reminded me of how much I love the nifty little tools that they keep churning out. Here are a few that I think are particularly cool:

  • Google Suggest: As you type, Google will offer suggestions. Use the arrow keys to navigate the results. I love this feature. And I can’t believe how well it works.
  • Google Local: Find local businesses and services on the web.
  • Google Print: puts the content of books where you can find it most easily—right in Google search results. It looks like Google is trying to compete with the amazon.com “Search inside the book” feature.
  • Google Scholar: Search for academic articles from reputable journals.

But Google also has a few tools that I find a little disappointing:

  • Google Desktop: I tried this out for a few weeks, and while it did an excellent job of searching items on my computer, the set of file types it could find was too limited. It finds items from the Microsoft Office suite, text files, and Outlook (or Outlook Express) email. It doesn’t however, find images, which is what I spend most of my time trying to locate on my home computer. It also doesn’t find email from any program except the two from Microsoft mentioned above, which is a bummer because I’ve switched over to Mozilla Thunderbird.
  • Froogle: This shopping search engine has lame filtering and sorting features. The few times that I’ve used it have been rather unpleasant because of the bewildering number of search results in a seeminly random order. I prefer the shopping comparison sites Price Grabber and MySimon.
  • Google Toolbar: Well, this was a nice little widget to have when I was using Internet Explorer, but now that I’m using Mozilla Firefox, I don’t have any use for the special toolbar. All of its features are already built into Firefox.
  • Google News: I suppose it’s okay as far as news compilers go, but the search results contain an annoying number of duplicate articles (usually when they’re syndicated in various newspapers).

What are your favorite Google tools or features? Which ones can you do without? Have you found other search engines that you like more? Let’s hear it.

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8 Responses to Google Labs

  1. Camille says:

    Google tools we’re waiting for:
    Gurgle: find things about babies
    Goggle: find resources on swimming and staring
    Giggle: find funny things.
    Gongle: find sites about 70’s game shows.
    Gaggle (and related tools Swarm, Pride and Exultation): find sites about flora and fauna.
    Gangle: find sites related to the Crips and Bloods
    Gargle: this simple survey asks, “Scope or Listerine?”

  2. Camille says:

    Hey—-Andrew wrote that stuff, not me! I was too busy laughing.

  3. Andrew DeBoer says:

    Duude. Spammin’ your website.

  4. Dad says:

    If any of you are ever mystified by your inability to get up in the morning, Dad has the answer….

  5. Cynthia says:

    Cool Google Tools
    Cool Google Tools
    Cool Google Tools
    Try saying that one three times, fast.
    Mom

  6. Sarah Greenfield says:

    I have to disagree about the google toolbar. When I went to Firefox, I missed it. I now have the googlebar extension installed in firefox. What I like the most about it is being able to highlight the search terms in the page. I actually use this quite a bit without doing a google search first, just type in the words I want to locate in the page I’m already on, without pulling up a “find” box.
    I do also like being able to do an image, news, or dictionary search from a toolbar, without having to go to a specific web page first.

  7. Andrew, you’re hilarious! Here are a few more worth waiting for:

    • Goygle: find information on all things Gentile.
    • Poogle: find resources on that lovable creature, the poodle.
    • Kalamazoogle: find places in West Michigan.
  8. Sara, I see your point about the nifty highlighting feature in the Google toolbar. As for doing a news, image, or dictionary search from a single toolbar, that feature is already built into Firefox. Upper right in the toolbar. Just click on the little Google icon and you’ll see a drop-down list of search engines. If the one you want isn’t there, just click on the Add Engines item at the bottom of the list and it’ll take you to a page that’s swimming with other search sites that you can add, including amazon.com, pricegrabber, google news, google images, Merriam-Webster Online, and the Bible, to mention just a few.

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