Next-Generation Google Apps
Google Labs has already brought you some of Google's best-known "beta" projects, such as Gmail and Google Maps, but there's a lot more going on in the labs. Join us on a tour of Google's most useful, beautiful, and just plain cool experiments.
Historical Peeks Into Google Labs:
Google Body Browser
Instead of touring another world, how about embarking on a fantastic voyage INSIDE YOURSELF? Google Body provides a detailed 3D view of human anatomy that you can look at layer by layer. It's great for med students doing anatomy research or for anyone seeking insight into their insides--and it's fun, too.
Google Flu Trends
Every year, people consult the other folks in their social circles to see whether the flu is going around. Google tries to make sense of it all by geographically aggregating everybody who asks online about the flu and using the resulting data to create Google Flu Trends.
If your RSS reader takes a bit too much out of your day, Google Listen may be just what you need. It can create an audio playlist of your favorite news and shows that you can listen to on your way to work.
This spin-off of Google Earth may sound like one of Google's infamous April Fools jokes, but Google Mars is a great tour of all the images we have from NASA of the Martian surface.
Google Public Data Explorer
In recent years, various governments have released gigantic databases of public data on subjects ranging from birth rates to public funds to private donations. The problem: There's so much data that finding the important information can be difficult. Luckily, locating the good stuff in huge databases happens to be Google's specialty.
Google Goggles lets you search on the go, using pictures instead of words. Submit a picture of something you want more information on--such as a landmark or a product menu--and Google will automatically search for it.
Google Books NGram Viewer
A spin-off of Google's Books initiative, the Books NGram Viewer lets you see how frequently people have used different words in print over time. Google also provides excerpts from the source publications showing the word or phrase in context. The graph at left illustrates how often people used the term "Personal Computer" between the years 1950 and 2000. Another option is to track the fortunes of two or more unrelated words--say, "snarky," "fanboy," and "gunsel"--head to head (to head), over the centuries.
Google Image Swirl
Google Image Swirl lets you look at Google Image results by relationship instead of just in a grid. This arrangement makes finding related pictures much easier when you don't use exactly the right search terms. Unfortunately, the demo works with a somewhat limited number of words and phrases so far.
Aardvark invites you to ask questions that you might not be able to answer easily online and then get a response from someone in your social network (though it can involve a few degrees of separation) who has the right expertise.
Finding a specific journal article can be an enraging task, even in this day and age, due to the irritatingly bad search engines that serve most academic databases. Google Scholar can help you find that crucial paper on genetic mutation in black bears or whatever with the same level of convenience you're accustomed to in regular Google searches.
If you've ever hosted a chat online, you know how easily the flow of conversation can get lost in a sea of voices. Google Moderator gives you the tools to keep a large chat orderly by letting participants vote on questions and on the answers given to them.
Today's Best Tech Deals
Picked by PCWorld's Editors