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

The newest free tools from Google Labs include a social search tool, a new way to view public data and an app that makes searching Android phones easier.

Tue, April 27, 2010

CIO — 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 (YHOO) 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.

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