5 Google Labs Projects That Should Be On Your Radar
From a cure for your e-mail addiction to the new Google Goggles, get up to speed on five cool tools that Google has to offer.
By Kristin Burnham
Have you checked out Google Labs lately? If not, it’s worth a peek. The area, reserved for application and tool prototypes not yet ready for primetime, houses some cool (and crazy) ideas. Past alumni include Google Alerts, the Google Docs suite and Google Reader. Check out these five Google Labs experiments that we’d like to see go mainstream in 2010. Which ones are already on your radar?
1. News Timeline.This Web application organizes information on a topic chronologically, allowing you to view it in a timeline. For example, a search on Twitter will organize clickable news blurbs based on the time and date that the story was published to the Web. You can also customize your search based on the news sources from which Google aggregates information—i.e. newspapers, magazines and blogs—as well as the type of media you want displayed—photos, videos and quotes.
2. Email Addict. If you find yourself mesmerized by the status of your inbox, try Email Addict. To enable this feature, visit “Google Labs” and choose “Gmail Labs” from the “Other experiments at Google” navigation. Email Addict blocks access to your Gmail screen for 15 minutes and makes you invisible in Chat, allowing you a few precious moments to forget about incoming messages and get some quality work done.
3. Goggles. A few weeks ago, Google announced its newest member of Google Labs—a photo-based search tool called Google Goggles, which is accessible from any Android device. After installing the tool, snap a photo (Google heeds that right now it works best with pictures of books, DVDs, landmarks, logos, business cards, artwork and bar codes) and wait as Goggles scans the image, analyzes it and identifies it. You’ll receive information based on the image, such as details about a landmark or price comparisons for a certain book. Bar code matches will provide a link to Google Product Search to allow you to compare prices.
4. Undo Send. When your fingers are quicker than your mind, Undo Send helps you out. By enabling this feature (also located in Gmail Labs) you’re given an extra few moments to stop the delivery of your e-mail.
5. Social Search. Every time you perform a search, Google Social Search will pull in relevant websites, blogs, tweets and public profiles written by people in your social circle, and display the information below your search results under “Results from people in your social circle.” Your “social circle” is comprised of your Gmail contacts and people you’re publicly connected to on social sites such as Twitter and FriendFeed. Google Social Search also aggregates related content from people connected to your contacts, such as your Twitter followers’ followers, since “there’s a likelihood that you know them as well.”
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.