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Google Breaks Out On Press Day

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-10

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Four products took center stage during Google's annual media event, as the company reiterated just what their focus is for the business.

Our managing editor Mike McDonald took in the chicken parmigiana and Grape Crush during Google's Press Day, and found that Google wants everyone to know they haven't taken their eye off of what brought them into global prominence and everyday vocabulary.

"Yes, we are still all about search," Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Products and User Experience, titled her Google Blog entry, which echoed her comments from today. At the media event, Google unveiled an updated Desktop and three new products.

The Google Notebook will be available next week, but when it arrives, Mike said users will find it works as a browsing assistant. Users will be able to take notes with it as they search, and copy text and images to the Notebook.

"We want people to be able to take the expertise they have and contribute it directly to Google," Mayer said when introducing Google Co-op. The wildly rumored Google Health appears, for now, to be an offshoot of Co-Op.

In the Co-op beta, users will be able to contribute knowledge and expertise about topic areas like health, electronics, travel destinations, and automobiles. "We can have users offer their own annotations to URLs," said Mayer, in reference to the feature that permits users to label relevant pages.

Part of that social media construct lets users create specialized links of labeled content to which other users can subscribe. Then, the provider's labels and subscribed links are added to the user's search results for relevant queries, Google said.

Google kicked off Co-op in English-language countries, worked with partners to annotate travel and health links, and created dozens of specialized links to content like restaurant and movie information.

The Google Labs team debuted Google Trends. "For the first time ever, Google is making it possible to sift through billions of search queries from around the world to see what people are thinking about," said Mayer.

Trends will work similar to Zeitgeist, and will allow users to "observe the collective interests of all Google users to gain general insight into topics," according to Google. "Google Trends aims to provide insights into broad search patterns. It is based upon just a portion of our searches, and several approximations are used when computing your results."

Google Desktop Beta received an update to version 4. Also, Google announced the arrival of Google Gadgets. Google also made a software development kit available for Desktop 4.

"Gadgets are drag and drop applications/enhancements that work within the Google Desktop environment," said Mike. "Google Gadgets are similar to the Google personalized start page. Gadgets are little apps you can add to your Google Desktop, for example a calendar, maps, weather info, etc."

Once installed, Google Desktop asks if the user would like it to build a personalized home page as well. For users who work on different machines, the Gadgets synchronize between them. "It really makes your computer easier, more interesting and more fun," said Mayer.

Mayer commented on all of the products on the Google Blog, too. "Our new products offer a pretty wide range of services and capabilities, but they have one thing in common: They all enhance and improve the search experience for our users."

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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