Tips and Hints

Google introduces new products, slams Microsoft

By now you’ve probably read something about Google’s new products. There were two ancillary bits of news from yesterday’s Press Day at Google. If you read this blog regularly you already know about yesterday’s Wireless Network fiasco over at Google.

The other interesting tidbit from Press Day was what Google cofounder Sergey Brin said about Microsoft, calling the company a “convicted monopoly.” Quite true.

Anyway, here are the new products, in case you were in a parallel universe for the past 24 hours and haven’t heard yet. The descriptions are -ahem- borrowed from the article in MarketingVox.

Many of the new products that Google introduced are intended to help users find and organize information – Google’s core business – including Google Notebook, Google Co-op, Google Trends and updates to Google Desktop.

Google Co-op is a social search service that lets self-described experts in a certain field label or tag websites that Google will then include on the main search page for that topic – in effect creating vertical searches, writes CNET. Two areas already populated by content are health and city guides. Searchers can also receive information from partner content providers to which they have “subscribed” – including Digg, Wine Spectator and Fandango – which are not paying to participate; search results from those content providers are marked to show that they are a subscribed link. Matt says: Marginally interesting.

Google Trends analyzes Google searches to compute the popularity of certain terms – up to five can be compared – and also includes a news-volume graph that shows the number of times a topic has appeared in Google News, writes Micropersuasion’s Steve Rubel. He writes, “This tool is a must-bookmark for every PR person and marketer worldwide. Search is so important to how brands are perceived…it’s critical to understand how people are searching for you and your competitors. The news volume tool is an awesome value add for PR measurement.” Matt says: I was playing with this last night. It’s interesting.

Google Desktop, version 4, now comes with “Google Gadgets” – mini-applications like clocks, weather globes, media players – that enable visual effects and animation, according to Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped. Google Desktop also enables sharing of gadgets and settings between computers, and synchronization of data between computers, according to CNET. It can be configured to automatically create a customized home page base on the user’s online search behavior. Matt says: I have enough crap on my desktop, thanks.

Google Notebook is a scratch pad on which users will be able to store text, links or images as they sift through search results; they can also share the contents. It’s an add-on to the main search page that opens a small window to which search results can be added, writes MediaPost. The window can then be expanded to rearrange and annotate the saved search results. Matt says: This one sounds promising. It’s rolling out next week. I like the idea of clipping chunks of stuff I find to kind of an electronic post-it note pad. I keep a legal pad next to my computer right now to write stuff down as I search.

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