Google tests personal search service

Google's two founders said on Monday that their company is working on a personal search service, but they remained coy on plans for an instant messaging client or Web browser.

"We have our Google Labs people working on 'flavored' searches as one of many new services we'll be offering," said Sergey Brin, Google co-founder and president of technology, in an interview in Tokyo.

The company is testing a personal search service along the lines of those offered recently by Yahoo and Ask Jeeves, he said. Personal search services allow users to store, annotate and share the results of their searches, and block specific results that the user may deem irrelevant, for example.

"We'll keep on developing new kinds of applications but we are fighting against limitations in mail and the OS. But we'll be expanding in all those areas," Brin said.

Google is also working hard to put out a finished version of its desktop search tool as quickly as possible, Brin said. It was introduced last week as a beta product.

"We are very excited. It's very fast, it's lightweight, it's only 400K (bytes)," he said.

Speculation about the creation of a Google browser has been rife since it was noticed that the company has registered the "gbrowser.com" domain name.

"We are working hard to make browsers work harder, but we don't intend to reinvent the wheel," said Google co-founder Larry Page, speaking at a Tokyo news conference.

The event was held to introduce Google to the Japanese media, according to Google Japan spokeswoman Kaori Saito. Brin and Page talked extensively, if not in detail, about the company's strategy following its initial public offering (IPO).

Google is setting up a research and development center in Japan to speed up the crossover of the company's English language-based services into Japanese. Google is not releasing details of when that center will go into operation. However, a Japanese version of the desktop search tool is also being quickly developed, said Brin and Page.

"You'll see a faster stream of products released to Japan," said Brin.

Google is also looking to develop new services for the mobile Internet, they said.

While the pair spent a lot of time touting the advanced features of Gmail, search engine optimizer (SEO) issues remain a high priority for Google, they said.

"There are many SEOs that are trying to manipulate Google. Our biggest message is that by our products we always want to promote a better and healthier service," said Brin.

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Paul Kallender

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