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Google Squared – tabulate results instantly

Google Squared is a new addition to the Google Labs portfolio of products being tested by Google. Launched on June 3, it looks as though it’s aimed at offering an ability to get more from simple searches – perhaps a bit like WolframAlpha.

It’s still very much a beta-test addition to the Google product range so there are bound to be some holes. What happens is that you enter a search term and a spreadsheet type page appears with various headings in the leftmost column, followed by a description and various other (generally) relevant columns.
It’s an interesting way of using Google’s data – i just wish that the results were more consistent and accurate. Entering in the search term Planets should be a perfect way of testing how the spreadsheet approach works – and unfortunately it doesn’t, at least not completely.
The Planets search gives a list on the left of Earth, Jupiter, Pluto, Saturn, Mercury, Venus, Neptune but misses out Mars and Uranus. Fair-enough – as there is the “Add next 10 items” link at the bottom (and also an “Add items” option). Adding the next 10 items however doesn’t give the missing planets, but instead, Ceres, Charon and various other headings relevant but only indirectly (e.g. “Planets in Science Fiction” or “solar system”).
The “Add items” option does better in that it gives potential choices – which include Uranus and Mars.
The next column contains an image of each planet although the one for Pluto, culled from the SouthernWatch blog is actually a diagram of Pluto with a slogan attached saying Pluto for Planethood.

I’m sort of surprised that it didn’t include a picture of the Disney character.
The next column is a description – again taken from various places so not showing any consistency. The description for Jupiter for example, seems accurate – and is taken from Wikpedia:
Jupiter is classified as a gas giant along with Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Together, these four planets are sometimes referred to as the Jovian planets. …
The problem is that different sources are used for different planets – with both Venus and Saturn being particularly obtuse – taken respectively from www.venus.com and www.saturn.com.

Only at Venus, find the sexiest women’s swimwear and clothing. Shop online or request a catalog for sizzling hot clothing and swimsuits. …

While you’re shopping for Saturn vehicles, we’ve given you an easy way to keep information for the next time you visit Saturn.com. With My Saved Info, …
The following columns give the orbital period, equatorial surface and mean density – with an option to add further items at the end. The problem is not knowing how accurate these are – and in fact they appear as eccentric as the planet descriptions with some containing units and others just a number. I’d certainly not want to use the values or any entries in any school paper or anything where I need reliable answers.
In summary, Google Squared is interesting and if Google manages to include some quality checking – perhaps by only using certain sites or back-checking to ensure that correct context then this could be a winner. Until then, i’ll stick with WolframAlpha and Wikipedia for a quick look at multiple facts.
  1. August 21, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Google Squared appears to be similar to my patent application:Frankly, I am getting a Déjà vu effect while going through the “Google Squared” application because it appears to be very similar in function to my United States patent application which was filed on April 12, 2007 and as publicly disclosed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on October 16, 2008, when the patent application was published. My patent application is titled as “Method And System For Research Using Computer Based Simultaneous Comparison And Contrasting Of A Multiplicity Of Subjects Having Specific Attributes Within Specific Contexts” bearing Document Number “20080256023” and Inventor name “Nair Satheesh” which may be viewed at http://patft.uspto.gov/ upon Patent Applications: Quick Search. Google Squared appears to be using at least some if not many of the same methods and systems as set forth by me more than two years ago in my patent application. In fact there are many more methods and systems disclosed in my patent application which I believe will help resolve certain inaccuracies found in current Google Squared application.I have issued legal notices to Google through my Patent Attorney in the US but Google has not responded yet to any of my notices.

  2. August 23, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    I can't comment on this – but find it interesting. If you have a genuine case i'm sure that it will be highly publicised and you'll be amply rewarded. Of course Google Squared also has some similarities to Wolfram Alpha – and was launched about the same time. Regarding patents for software applications however i'm MUCH more dubious. I find some of these patents ridiculous and they will only serve to stifle innovation and invention. A patent should only be filed for something that is genuinely new and innovative. I do not believe that you can file a patent on software by itself and Google Squared is essentially just a simple spreadsheet type way of displaying results and so not particularly new or innovative – and not deserving of patent protection. I hope / assume your patent does something more than this and something that is different. Otherwise i'll view it as similar to those idiots who try and patent gene sequences that they uncover in chromosomes. Those were developed by God and not by man so should not be patented. Or even worse, those fools who want to patent fiction story ideas! Such types of "patent" do the opposite of what patenting is supposed to do i.e. stimulate ideas not stifle them, but also protect the inventor of ideas.

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