Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New Google Tools

Google recently released a couple of their famous Google Labs projects (of which gmail, GOOG-411 and Google Maps are all graduates), which have been causing a stir recently.

A twist on Google Images, Similar Images allows users to disambiguate images corresponding to words with double meanings (think Paris as in France and Paris as in Hilton). Beyond that helpful step lies another, and more interesting method of searching: once you've entered your search term and have your list of results, you can further refine the results by image size, content or--even cooler yet--by color. For example, try this search for sea anemone, and then see what happens when you limit the results to the color blue.

As fun and helpful as Google Similar Images is, Google News Timeline is by far the more useful and, by extension, more interesting. Drawing its content from diverse sources such as Retrosheet (sports scores), blogs, Wikipedia, and Freebase (for media and images), News Timeline also includes magazines and newspapers via the Google News Archive and Google Books. Once you've entered your search term, you'll be presented with a navigable field going through the decades, chock full of relevant news results. Going forward or backward, you'll see as the interest in the story grows. Of greatest interest to us librarians, however, is the ability to add more sources to your queries, helping define your results to more relevant materials.


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