May 10, 2006 1:45 PM PDT

Google unveils new applications

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Will search keep Google on the throne?

May 10, 2006
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Google announced on Wednesday an update to its Google Desktop product, as well as several new products designed to enhance information gathering on the Web.

At its annual press day here in the Googleplex, the search giant took the lid off Google Desktop version 4, Google Notebook, Google Trends and Google Co-op.

The new version of Google Desktop lets people use mini-interactive applications from within the product's Sidebar without having to download software or open up a browser, said Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience.

Mayer led a demonstration in which a song icon was dragged and dropped atop a media player, causing the song to start playing. Similarly, a video clip, titled "Laughing Babies," was dragged onto a player, launching a clip of a mother holding a gaggle of giggling babies.

"Nothing like a biological clock right there in your Sidebar," Mayer joked.

Google Desktop 4 is integrated with other Google products to let people use the Sidebar to, for instance, easily see when their friends' birthdays are via the Orkut social network, or see what events they have on a particular day via Google Calendar. Desktop 4 also synchronizes with other computers so that when a change is made on a person's work machine, it's reflected on the person's home computer, she said.

The software also can be configured to automatically create a customized home page. "It has figured out that I'm a movie buff and that I use eBay and I travel a lot," said Mayer.

Mayer also led a demonstration of Google Notebook, which she said will be available on Google Labs next week. Notebook is designed to let people click a "note this" link in the last line of a particular search result and save the result information to a virtual notebook in a pop-up window.

People can also grab text and pictures from Web sites and paste them into Google Notebook, as well as make the notebook full-screen size, drag and drop items to reorganize them, and e-mail the notebook to others. The program requires a plug-in and a Google account.

Google Trends, available immediately on Google Labs, graphs the number of global searches on whatever term a Google user types into the search engine. It also correlates spikes and dips with particular news and offers a bar graph that shows what region, country and language had the most searches on that term.

"If you are an advertiser and you want to understand trends in different geographies," Google Trends can provide useful information, said Jonathan Rosenberg, senior vice president of product management.

He led a demo search on "boxers, briefs" and concluded that "boxers are apparently a little more popular than briefs" and did a search on the names of Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and said, "Larry's traffic has clearly spiked."

Google also announced Google Co-op, which will be available next week. The social search service lets self-described experts in a field label or tag Web sites that Google will then include on the main search page. For example, experts can send a particular Web page from the Centers for Disease Control to Google and ask that it be labeled with the "malaria" tag. Users searching for "malaria" will then be given the option to refine their search by "causes and treatments" and "symptoms," and the sites that have been relevantly tagged will be displayed.

"People can create vertical searches built on Google Co-op technology," Mayer said. "It provides a deeper search experience inside the main search on specific topics."

Two prepopulated Google Co-op areas are related to health and city guides, she said.

Users also can subscribe to information from any or all of six flagship partners: OpenTable.com, GapMinder, Digg News, People (for celebrity profiles), Wine Spectator and Fandango. When the user searches on the main search page for a term and one of those sites is included in the results, the site will be denoted with a light green background to show that it is a subscribe link, she said. The companies are not paying to participate in the subscription part of Google Co-op, she said.

See more CNET content tagged:
Google Desktop, social search, Google Inc., notebook computer, search

9 comments

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A question
Since Microsoft's dominance of the desktop OS market prevents them from bundling many of their own solutions, should the same rules apply to Google as they increasingly dominate their market?
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google Trends, very useful!
I've been waiting for something like this for a while, it's brilliant, tells you how many people are searching your keywords and where they are located! I think many webmasters would appriciete this one. Really useful when you're picking out keywords for your meta tags. :)
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Posted by Roman12 (214 comments )
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Of course you would like that - click fraudster :(
What a surprise someone who has Google Ads on his web site, which means he is making money from Ad sense Click fraud, would like what Goolge does!
Posted by caudio_roma (57 comments )
Link Flag
it wouldn't be a week...
without google coming out with some new service. At this rate, all they need to do is intergrate all these little services into one easy to use desktop interface and bingo, googleOS is born!
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
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Go For It Google
I'd love to see Google try and make an OS. Then they'd see how difficult it really is. It's easy to drop a few cool tools on an existing OS and call it innovation. Try owning an OS... spending piles on dev to make sure that it works with every piece of hardware and device out there (and getting **** on when it doesn't)... and getting sued for every piece of innovation that they try and put into the OS because some 2 bit company has a similar idea and wants easy money instead of trying to build a profitable business. And then trying to deal with antitrust morons that are still living in the 80's and think a browser and media player shouldn't be part of an OS.
Posted by erniescar (11 comments )
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Go For It Google
I'd love to see Google try and make an OS. Then they'd see how difficult it really is. It's easy to drop a few cool tools on an existing OS and call it innovation. Try owning an OS... spending piles on dev to make sure that it works with every piece of hardware and device out there (and getting **** on when it doesn't)... and getting sued for every piece of innovation that they try and put into the OS because some 2 bit company has a similar idea and wants easy money instead of trying to build a profitable business. And then trying to deal with antitrust morons that are still living in the 80's and think a browser and media player shouldn't be part of an OS.
Posted by erniescar (11 comments )
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Way to go Google.!!!!!!
Not only do they organise a Quest (Da Vinci Code promotion) where UK and Australians cannot answer questions because the answers lie in Google Books that only can be seen from the US. They close the UK competition 24 hour early leaving thousands of questers not being able to complete the quest. Google you need to get your act togethor, as you are losing it.

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Posted by nirving (5 comments )
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