Unofficially obsessed with Google.

Ghosts of Google Labs

4/03/2006 02:49:00 AM
Googlist: Ghosts of Google Labs

The disclaimer on Google Labs says its projects "may disappear without warning or perform erratically." As a result, more Google Labs projects have disappeared than you might have guessed. The question is--have these apps been kicked to the curb or just removed for revision?

Google Voice Search

Search on Google by voice with a simple telephone call
The Idea: Pick up the phone, dial the Google Voice Search number, then say your query. Hang up and watch magically as the results appear in your browser.
Read More: Site | Review (w/ screenshots) | Research Paper | ZDNet

Keyboard Shortcuts
Google without the mouse
The Idea: Use the keyboard to sift through search results. Back, next, and entry-by-entry results page scrolling were the main features. U and J to go up and down, H and K to go right and left. View Google caches with C and similar pages with S.
Read More: Google Groups | SEW Article

Google Toolbar Experimental Features
Browser Control
The Idea: A popup blocker for the toolbar.
Combined Search
The Idea:Toolbar button for searching many of Google's channels simultaneously, e.g. one query would return results from Images, News, Directory, Groups, and general search combined.
The Idea: Keyboard Shortcuts redux: mostly back/next functions.
Read More: CNET | SEW | ZDNet |

Google WebQuotes
See what people are saying about your site
The Idea: A flavor of Google search that let you enter a website and see snippets of conversations about that site from other places around the web. This tried to illuminate a “conversational” aspect of the Web—sort of like a searchable trackbacks database.
Read More: Screenshot | Google Groups | SEW | Google Guide | ResearchBuzz

Google Compute
Your computer's idle time is too precious to waste
The Idea:Google Compute was an opt-in feature of the Google Toolbar. Its purpose was to donate Google users' CPU idle time to the distributed computing project Folding@Home. The Stanford Folding project aimed to harness CPU's everywhere as computing workhorses toward its goal of better understanding protein structures (thus the name "folding" as in how proteins are folded).
Read More: CNET | kuro5shin | FAH Teams | FAH Google Team | Wikipedia

Google Viewer
Look Ma, No Hands
The Idea:Type in your query, press submit, then sit back and watch as Google's results scrolled up your screen in an "automated slideshow." You could adjust the speed of the scroll (more tortoise or more hare?) and see images and context snippets of all linked pages in the search results.
Read More: Screenshot 1 | Screenshot 2 | Google Groups | SEW | ResearchBuzz

Google X
Roses are red. Violets are blue. OS X rocks. Homage to you.
The Idea:Access Google's services more easily with an OS X-like zooming mouseover dock. Google X was removed hours after its publishing on Google Labs. Even the Official Google Blog posting disappeared (see the cached post), making it seem like Google X never existed. Apple trademark threats are rumored to be the reason.
Read More: Google Blog (cache) | Mirror | Google Groups | Slashdot | Wikipedia

While some of these projects have been removed and have not reappeared (Voice Search, Viewer, Google X). Some like Keyboard Shortcuts and Browser Control have been repurposed (as Gmail keyboard shortcuts and the Google Toolbar's popup blocker respectively).

Other projects like WebQuotes could be reworked as a feature of Google Blogsearch or Blogger backlinks. Google X showed the usefulness of having more Google products accessible from the homepage, perhaps influencing the homepage's next redesign. And Voice Search is certainly a useful idea for the handicapped or multitasking cell phone user if perfected.

Let's hope we see some of these rough sketches re-released as fine-tuned products in the future.


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