Google Labs Delights Me Yet Again

[Apologies for my lack of online presence hier. My computer screen is on its way out, and my fiancée’s computer was stolen from our home while she took a bath!!!!!!!! So, no compupter. I swear, it is bad enough to be robbed and to be afraid for the safety of one’s home but then to not even be able to USE THE INTERNET is like the poison cherry on the top of the, um, bad-tasting flavored sundae. /end ill-worded simile]

So, on the 20th, Google’s blog reported two new tools in development, Similar Images and Google News Timeline.

Similar Images works thus: you type in the words that you think will get you an image you are looking for, say, Rihanna, and it pops up a screen with a variety of Rihanna pictures. (If you click that link, you’ll get the idea. All my examples, by the way, are coming from Google Labs.) If you are trying to find an image that is like, say, the third result on the list, you click “Similar images” and it takes you to a screen of you know, similar images. It looks like it might be infinitely recursive, because you can click “Similar images” on those images as well. I guess that that would be an excellent refining tool, which would, maybe, one day, get you to the exact picture you had in mind.

Bonus: you can now limit your search by image size, content (i.e., news source or clip art or whathaveyou), and color! Look what Google did at my behest!

A pink medium picture of Rihannas face! Google=magic!

A pink medium picture of Rihanna's face! Google=magic!

(Oh, if you go to the page where I got that photo, the website will pop-up and under all over the place and children’s disembodied voices will tell you about paper towels and you will FUH-reak out and frantically close tabs until you figure out where the sound is coming from. Warning!)

I am even more excited about the wonderful Google News Timeline. One of my biggest complaints about regular old internet search engines (I am so sorry I called you that, Google! You are the best!) is that it is nearly impossible to get freakin’ time-stamped material. Like, if I don’t care when it happened, I can find out anything I like about murders in Oakland. If it happened down the street from me yesterday, no info.

GNT (may I call it that?) is brilliant because now I can actually narrow the search to a specific time and to specific sources. So, awesomely, I can search for “Gay marriage Iowa” in April 2009 and get this:

I could’ve found a video on that without GNT, but! When I go through the regular channels, “Gay marriage Iowa April 2009” video search does not bring up that Associated Press video on the first page of search results.

I predict that this will be monumental for news-seekers but also for traditional news sources. This is a great place for newspapers, in fact, to use the internet instead of lamenting its success.

[I was just telling my fiancé about GNT. She used to work for Google, as a temp, and, apparently, one of the things she did was test the timeline. Quoth she: “It didn’t work very well” when they first gave it to people to test. Which makes sense. And also, how awesome is that! She is all, history in the making, man. (Warning: noisy.)]


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