Google Squared gets update, presents more data

The update increases the number of facts that can be displayed from 30 to 120 and ranks them based on relevance and quality.

Google Squared, the ambitious project that delivers search results as a table, has received an update that improves both the quality and quantity of the information it presents.

According to a post on Google's official blog, the changes increase the amount of data that can be displayed in a "square" from 30 facts to 120. It also ranks facts based on relevance to the query and the quality of the information Google finds.

"Squared returns a 'square' (or table) of facts, sourced from across the Internet," wrote Noah Weiss, Associate Product Manager, and Randy Brown, Software Engineer, in the post.

"For example, if you search Squared for [us presidents], each row on the resulting table represents a particular United States President, and the columns include relevant facts about him, such as date of birth, a picture and a short description.

"At launch, your first square could include at most 30 facts. With today's update, squares display four times as much data - up to 120 facts. For example, instead of seeing only five presidents and three categories, now you'll see a table with 20 presidents and up to six attributes."

Google Squared was launched June 3 and is a project of Google Labs, the company's in-house technology incubator.

The update also adds the ability to sort data and export from a Square to a Google Spreadsheet or a CSV file.

"For example, you can build a square for [african countries], add more items and columns, and examine the relationship between the literacy rate and GDP per capita. Once you've built your square to contain all the information you need, you can export the square to Google Spreadsheets and create a rough scatter plot."

My take: Google Squared is taking on a very difficult problem--collecting facts from all over the Web and presenting them in a useful form. It doesn't quite manage that, yet, but the task is enormously complex and it is good to see progress being made.

Google says that much work needs to be done before Squared will leave the experimental stage.

"In its experimental stage, Squared demonstrates an important future direction in search: understanding structured data from across the web to build new tools for organizing and presenting information," the Google bloggers said.

Google Squared is not ready to be an everyday part of most people's "search lives." Yet, it is worth a look when you have a few extra moments and would like to see another view of your search results.

David Coursey tweets as @techinciter and can be contacted via his Web site.

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