Google announced on Wednesday an update to its Google Desktop product, as well as several new products designed to enhance information gathering on the Web.
Three new products ? Google Co-op, Google Desktop 4, and Google Notebook ? advance the company's search by helping users worldwide find and share more relevant information. The products all incorporate new capabilities that enable users to either share more information with others or benefit from other users' expertise to improve the accuracy of search results.
The company also introduced Google Trends, a new tool that enables users to examine billions of searches conducted on Google to gain insight into broad search patterns over time.
Google Co-op Beta
Google Co-op beta is a community where users can contribute their knowledge and expertise to improve Google search for everyone. Organizations, businesses, or individuals can label web pages relevant to their areas of expertise or create specialized links to which users can subscribe.
Once a user has subscribed to a provider's content, all of that provider's labels and subscribed links are added to the user's search results for relevant queries. These contributions serve as meta information that helps Google's search algorithms connect users to the most relevant information for their specific query. Users interested in contributing can get started at http://www.google.com/coop.
For example, a doctor can label web pages related to arthritis, and users who subscribe to that doctor's information will receive options at the top of the results for more specific information such as "treatment," "symptoms," or "for health professionals" when they enter a relevant query.
As a first step, Google has worked with partners to annotate web pages related to health and city guides and to offer dozens of subscribed links to specialized content such as restaurant and movie information. Going forward, the broader online community will begin building out new topic areas and subscribed links to help improve the way people find and discover information online.
Users can subscribe to content and providers at www.google.com/coop/directory. Google Co-op is available today on all English language Google domains including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
Google Desktop 4 Beta
Also announced today, Google Desktop 4 beta ? available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, and Brazilian Portuguese ? offers another way for users to improve their search experience, by personalizing their desktops with the introduction of Google Gadgets. These gadgets are mini-applications that reside on users' desktops and deliver a variety of personalized information such as games, media players, weather and news. Google Desktop can also recommend new gadgets and can automatically create a personalized homepage for users based on the subjects they frequently search and access.
Google currently has hundreds of gadgets users can add to their desktops and with the new Google Desktop Gadgets API, developers can create and share their own gadgets with other users.
Google Desktop 4 also enables users to:
- Access their Google Gadget content and settings from other computers and protect it from computer crashes by saving it online.
- Add favorite gadgets from their personalized Google homepage right onto their desktops.
- Access other Google services from their desktop. For example, users can view upcoming birthdays with the orkut.com gadget, see what's popular on Google Video, or access their Google Calendar directly on the desktop.
- Manually re-index their computers or remove deleted files from search results.
Additionally, Google Desktop 4 now offers an option for network administrators to disable Search Across Computers on both the consumer and enterprise versions of the product at the network level by simply blocking access to a specific URL.
Google Desktop 4 will be available in additional languages and include more localized features for users around the world as the product evolves. Additional information on the newest version of Google Desktop is available at http://desktop.google.com.
Google Trends from Google Labs
Available today from Google Labs at http://www.google.com/trends, Google Trends builds on the Google Zeitgeist to help users find facts and trends related to Google usage around the world. Google Trends enables users to learn how popular a particular search term has been on Google over time and see the relevant news articles that ran on that subject.
With Google Trends, users will be able to observe the collective interests of all Google users to gain general insight into topics such as people's preferences on ice cream flavors, American Idol contestants, or the relative popularity of brands and politicians in specific countries.
Google Notebook from Google Labs
Google Notebook is a simple way for users to save and organize their thoughts when conducting research online. This personal browser tool permits users to clip text, images, and links from the pages they're browsing, save them to an online "notebook" that is accessible from any computer, and share them with others.
Google Notebook is an interactive scratch pad for every website a user visits, offering a single online location to collect web findings without having to leave the browser window. For example, if a user were planning a vacation, she could clip the most relevant materials on the pages she visits and add personal notes to help organize all of her research.
Users can make their Google Notebook public and share the notes they've taken with others.
Google Notebook will be available next week from Google Labs at http://www.google.com/notebook.