5 (More) Google Labs Projects that Should Be on Your Radar

From Google's first foray into Twitter apps to a more visual way to peruse the best blogs and articles from the Web

Google Labs, a place for application and tool prototypes not yet ready for primetime, has welcomed in the past few months a group of newcomers. From Google's first foray into Twitter apps to a more visual way to peruse the best blogs and articles from the Web, this class of Google Labs has something to offer everyone.

1. Aardvark

Aardvark, a social search tool, was acquired by Google in February. The way it works is easy: Submit a question to the site, and in about five minutes you'll receive a response from a person in your network, instead of a list of possible answers from a search engine.

Aardvark searches through all the people in your network who are available over IM or e-mail to find the right match for you for the specific topic. Aardvark takes into consideration related topics in peoples' profiles, how you're connected to people and more.

You can access Aardvark via the Web, or through instant messenger programs (such as Google Chat, AIM, Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger), Twitter, iPhone and more.

[What did the last class of Google Labs tools look like? Check out the story here.]

2. Public Data Explorer

Google's Public Data Explorer, a data visualization tool, aims to make datasets easy to communicate and explore. Google has compiled a list of datasets that you can explore and embed into blogs and webpages now, such as government debt in Europe, GDP and personal income of the U.S., mortality rates in the U.S. and cancer cases in the U.S.

With these datasets, you're also able to preview how the information has changed over time, which you can customize. Take a look above at the animation that displays unemployment in the U.S. during the past 20 years.

3. Gesture Search

Gesture Search is a Google Labs tool specifically for Android phones designed to help you quickly find a contact, bookmark, application or music track from all the items stored to your phone when you draw a letter of the alphabet on the touch screen. This tool eliminates the need to rely on the keyboard for search purposes.

Wipe the query by drawing a horizontal line in the bottom query display area, or insert a space into your query by adding a horizontal line on top the search result list. There are a number of other tips and tricks for using this application here.

4. Google Reader Play

Last month, Google announced Google Reader Play, a new way to browse articles, blogs and more on the Web. To get started, visit the site and scroll through the items by clicking the arrow on the right, or just use the right and left arrow keys on your keyboard to browse.

Reader Play uses the same technology as the "recommended items" feed in Reader to identify the most interesting pages on the Internet. When you use the tool, Google keeps track of the times you star, like or share, and will show you similar items the next time you visit the site. It also transfers these items to your Reader account. Another cool feature: Reader Play also has a built-in TV icon button that begins a slideshow of the items in your queue, taking the guesswork out of navigating.

5. Follow Finder

"Follow Finder" is the latest addition to Google Labs and the first Twitter tool that Google has released. The tool analyzes public social graph information (which includes following and follower lists) on Twitter to find people you might want to follow.

You'll receive two different results from the tool. "Tweeps you might like" is a list generated by looking at who you follow, and finding others with similar lists. If people with similar lists tend to follow accounts that aren't in your list, Follow Finder will recommend those accounts to you. "Tweeps with similar followers" is a list generated by looking for people with similar public lists of followers. For example, if Follow Finder sees that you are followed by 10 people, and the same 10 people are following another user, Follow Finder will include the second user in the list.

CIO Staff Writer Kristin Burnham covers consumer Web and social technologies for CIO.com. She writes frequently on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google. You can follow her on Twitter: @kmburnham.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Google

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Kristin Burnham

CIO (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?