May 22, 2002

Google labs demos
Google now has a site that shows off some of the new ideas they are working on. They currently have four projects you can test drive: Google Glossary, Google Sets, Voice Search, and Keyboard Shortcuts. I think the Glossary and Keyboard Shortcuts look like they could be ready for prime time pretty quickly. Here are the glossary entries for usability and information architecture.

The Google Sets project is interesting, but not something that I could see being used soon. For instance, a Set search for "radio button, button, textarea, listbox and label", all UI controls or widgets yields a nice list of related search terms like "window, frame, canvas, and menubar". The problem is that if you then select one of the terms, like "canvas" or "window" the new search results have no relationship to the set of terms you provided -- you get plain old results based on a single generic term like "window". The idea looks promising, but they clearly have a ways to go yet.

Update: John Dowdell of Macromedia provides a scenario where he used Google Sets to help him in a web search. He also provides some suggestions for improvements. (Added May 22)

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