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Google Labs Offers Table-Based Search Results

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the i-want-chair-based-results dept.

Google 165

blackbearnh writes "Google just released Google Squared into the Google Labs playground. Google Squared lets you get results back in row and column format, and then add more columns to the result set. There's a brief tour of the features over on O'Reilly Radar, where the judgement is that there's lots of rough edges, but a huge amount of potential, especially for quick and dirty table generation for reports."

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First Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28208529)

Suck it, minorities.

Re:First Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28208689)

No you suck it honkey, the niggas are back and we 'bout to run a train on yo' bitch ass. Big Tyrone jus got released the niggas are gonna throw him a party an' you gonna be da stuff'd pig. Spread yo ass cheeks when the niggas roll up at da house at 7pm. Bring yo tears.

Signed
, Da Prison Niggas

Bible Books (5, Funny)

bwalling (195998) | more than 5 years ago | (#28208573)

http://www.google.com/squared/search?q=bible+books [google.com] Who knew Esther was a babe?

Re:Bible Books (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28208859)

http://www.google.com/squared/search?q=bible+books [google.com] Who knew Esther was a babe?

Uh, the thing that stuck out at me from that list was that the book of Revelations is apparently published by Ubisoft and is preceded by the book of Devastation. How did it determine that? Why, Wikipedia's list of Xbox games, of course! I don't recall that book of the Bible from the Catholic Masses I attended as a child but it sounds pretty bitching.

If someone made games out of the books of the Bible, I'd definitely hit up Revelations (and not that Left Behind crap) but I'd assume books like Psalms and Job would be a grind :/

Re:Bible Books (0)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209143)

Psalms Hero!

Re:Bible Books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28209679)

You're in luck! [wikipedia.org] ...sort of.

Re:Bible Books (4, Informative)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209115)

Well, she was a concubine of Xerxes (of 300 fame) and later his wife chosen because of her extraordinary beauty (and intelligence, but whatever).

Re:Bible Books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28210093)

That's hilarious, I looked up 'chicks' and it brought up Errors in the King James Bible

http://www.google.com/squared/search?q=chicks

Re:Bible Books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28210255)

If you add the next ten items to the square, the book of Micah has the porn star "Micah Moore" as the associated image.

How it works (4, Informative)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#28208575)

This actually seems to be a pretty simple concept. It takes the keywords on the y axis (which is the initial search), and then generates popular keywords for the x axis, and then does searches for the combinations to fill in the boxes. What goes in the box is the least amount of the target page that more-or-less fulfills the keyword search. So as near as I can tell, there's no "semantic" analysis here, it's basically a bunch of mini web searches in a grid format. It's an interesting concept, but I don't see it as any sort of world changing function, like the hype seemed to imply.

Re:How it works (1)

Derek Pomery (2028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28208939)

I'm a little confused why you would say there is no semantic analysis - perhaps it depends on the hits/searches.

I typed in "chrome"

And the result was:
Item Name: Google Chrome Image: [browser screenshot] Size: A A A (WTF?) Preview Release: No value found License: Freeware

That doesn't seem like additional search terms to me.

Re:How it works (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209019)

You can add "OS" as another column, then it will tell you it runs on Windows 2000 and XP.

Try the same for Konqueror, and it tells you it runs on "No", whatever that is.

Re:How it works (1)

Derek Pomery (2028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209273)

Heh. I tried:
firefox, safari, internet explorer

And it returned "Opera"

Just firefox, safari failed oddly

I discovered after some experimenting that adding the terms *after* the grid was created seemed to work better.
For example first typing "firefox"
Then google chrome

Using their suggestion list seemed to help too.

Anyway, my eventual grid gave, for Operating System (using their autosuggest for OS):
Mozilla Firefox: Mac Google Chrome: [no value] Microsoft Internet Explorer: [no value] Safari: [no value] Konqueror: Linux

They did a bit better w/ publisher, abysmally w/ system requirements - sooo, yeah. Still not quite up to magical knowledge extraction.

Re:How it works (1)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210213)

I think you're missing the point somewhat. Try entering the search term "web browsers".

Not that I'm claiming it works perfectly or anything. Apart from Firefox (developed by the Mozilla Corporation), there appears to be another web browser named Mozilla, developed by a company called "website".

Re:How it works (2, Interesting)

pete-wilko (628329) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209007)

Have you tried different queries? I think the selection of the column names is actually a very difficult task and it seems to do a decent job of extracting from different pages relevant pieces of information for each column.

If the column 'types' were known a priori then this wouldn't be that neat, however if its classifying on the fly what columns are to be used then that's pretty cool. Looks like a really nice large scale application of 'wrapper induction'.

How the columns are determined is the impressive and novel bit tbh.

Re:How it works (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209129)

Do you have evidence it's not just looking for the words that are common to all (or most) of the search results that come up? I'm not saying there aren't some subtleties under the hood that are pretty tricky (I don't want to be "that guy" who thinks everything could be whipped out in a couple of hours), but it seems like looking for common terms that also happen to be popular would give you a fairly good result for auto-generated keywords.

Re:How it works (1)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209363)

Do you have evidence it's not just looking for the words that are common to all (or most) of the search results that come up?

Out of curiosity, do you work in NLP?

Re:How it works (1)

pete-wilko (628329) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209539)

No, am not masochistic and my natural morphology ability sucks ;) You?

Re:How it works (1)

pete-wilko (628329) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209729)

Wow, you two have very similar usernames, thought I was reply again to the first guy, my mistake... so assuming not the same person?

Re:How it works (1)

pete-wilko (628329) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209477)

No direct evidence at all - but just looking at the different queries.

For instance, first query I tried was "2.1 speakers" - the columns were: name, manufacturer, description, system components and speaker type (i.e. active, passive).

Next was "normal distribution" - so not a product type search at all, and I got back: name, description, matrix-valued, degenerate, continuous. Now in fairness most of those columns were not populated, but its interesting that they were generated as they are mostly relevant to the overall query.

Also deffo dont want to be the other kind of 'that guy' - ie rabid fanboy. I'd imagine there's a large part of query classification going on to help in how to parse candidate pages. I.e. if it looks like a product search we need columns 'price', 'manufacturer' etc - if its another type we need different columns.

But yeah keyword frequency would be a major component for sure, but would guess its only one part of many being used.

Re:How it works (2, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209673)

If you do a regular google search [google.com] for "normal distribution", you can see the pages that come up. That it can find those keywords is not all that surprising.

Okay, now this is interesting. Compare a regular google search of "black cat" to the Google squared one. The Google squared one pulled a whole slew of Manga results, which is not the dominant search in regular Google. That tells me that Google pulls the first X pages and tries to find pages with some sort of commonality. "Black cat" fireworks was a unique page, so that one got tossed, because there was no commonality. The Manga pages was the first one with a lot of pages on the same general topic.

Re:How it works (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209865)

Isn't that semantic analysis? I mean, if your point is that it isn't very sophisticated, then sure, no one is likely to argue with that, but it seems to me that just using a dictionary and 'associating' a word with the words used to define it would still be semantic analysis.

E=MC^2 (4, Interesting)

Celeste R (1002377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28208593)

It doesn't take an Einstein to find out that this is good for researching things. It certainly beats going through all of the connecting websites to get to the juicy details.

Re:E=MC^2 (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209043)

Too bad about its accuracy though. The data is not verified or curated like in Wolfram Alpha, so it's pretty much useless for any purpose other than leisure IMHO. It can also not do anything with the data, unlike WA. It can't even sort it. All it has going for it is that it has a lot of data. But quantity above quality for sure.

Re:E=MC^2 (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28209527)

Too bad about its accuracy though.

Yup. I tested it out with a search on operating systems [google.com] , and there are a number of hilarious misses within the results.

For Windows, it's apparently under a free license, and it's date of birth looks like Google scraped the drop boxes for a sign-up form rather than getting the actual creation date of Windows.

For Linux, it was a bit off course and grabbed a description of Ubuntu, instead. It lists the current version as 2.1 which doesn't make sense for either Ubuntu (9.04) or the Linux kernel (2.6.29.4 or 2.6.30-rc8). I suspect it grabbed the version of a random Linux app.

Darwin resulted in the biggest miss, as one might suspect. It grabbed the biography and birthday of Charles Darwin.

Re:E=MC^2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28209053)

It doesn't take an Einstein to find out that this is good for researching things. It certainly beats going through all of the connecting websites to get to the juicy details.

Except that it doesn't work. Take a simple search, like "cloud types" (no, I'm not just picking something I know doesn't work). The initial display isn't terrible (although, for something that straight forward, the number of gaps is surprising). Now, look at the suggestions for more columns: "homeworld", "affiliation", and "hair color"....What?

Re:E=MC^2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28210727)

When I click the "add columns" box, I get "Altitude", "Abbreviation", "Genus", "Variety", and "Categories" as suggestions.

Re:E=MC^2 (2, Interesting)

afxgrin (208686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211315)

They have a long way to go then as it seems to provide some awfully terrible results. Like check this one out for Roller coasters [google.com] .

Apparently there's a roller coaster named GhostRider, it has a length of 4,533 ft, height of 118 ft, and it travels past the speed of sound at 1038 mph!!

I think I'll just stick to the basic Google search using quotes, +'s, -'s, AND's and OR's.

First thoughts (5, Interesting)

unfasten (1335957) | more than 5 years ago | (#28208623)

My first thoughts after trying a few of the example searches on the main page are that it seems to be aimed a bit at Wolfram Alpha. It isn't as broad as Wolfram Alpha but it is focused on giving back data sets instead of a list of search results.

Re:First thoughts (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 5 years ago | (#28208975)

The main problem is that wolfram alpha does not state it sources, so you cannot fact check. google is closer to the orinal search engine that it points to links.

Re:First thoughts (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209055)

Wolfram Alpha does state its sources involved in generating its answer.

Re:First thoughts (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210605)

Wolfram Alpha does state its sources involved in generating its answer.

It rather explicitly didn't originally, and still doesn't seem to (though its removed then notice that made it clear that it didn't.) It did, and still seems to, report generic lists of all the sources that may have contributed to the internal tables consulted to generate the results, not the sources of the data actually used for the results. Originally, W|A made it clear that that was what they were doing with a disclaimer in the Source Information box to the effect that the list of sources (other than the W|A internal data listed as the "Primary Source" for every search) was not necessarily related to any particular search result; while they have removed the disclaimer, the long list of sources, some of which clearly have no relevance to the results listed, makes it seem very much that the Source Information remains just as murky as it was when they had the disclaimer, they just don't want to tell people that any more.

It certainly isn't like Google in providing the sources for particular pieces of information.

W|A remains nearly useless as a serious research tool for this reason, since you don't know the sources for particular bits of information, and you don't know the methodology they have applied to synthesize the internal database that works as the direct source from the root sources.

Re:First thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28210417)

Looks like there are some bugs: http://www.google.com/squared/table/ag0LZjw0-WIatilQAcN8sU9w [google.com] We all knew that Ann Coulter was packing quite the sausage between those legs, for sure, but Ronald Reagan with a python dick? No way in hell..

Useful for brainstorming (1)

Jarlsberg (643324) | more than 5 years ago | (#28208629)

And just when you thought table-based design was gone! :) I find the idea interesting, but not very practical. It seems to work well for brain storming. With just a few keywords, you get a lot of results that can shed a fresh light on what you were thinking about. Well worth a try.

Re:Useful for brainstorming (3, Interesting)

Celeste R (1002377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28208931)

Unfortunately, it's not quite there for random brainstorming. It's geared toward easy fact generation. The "human" factor is almost completely removed, image linking to entries in the table is inaccurate at best (search "Planets" and you'll find Pluto the dog), and so on.

I can see that this is a useful tool for people like say... engineers, who need to know a material's composition and properties (facts, again), but this tool is limited by the supporting databases.

Take, for example, the fact that I can search for a consumer product, but I can't get much more than generic information.

Links are difficult to follow, it takes more effort than needed to go somewhere. Brainstorming is easier with the vanilla Google.

Yes, this is a useful tool, but it doesn't compare very well to Wolfram Alpha; this is a spreadsheet data generation tool, where Alpha is an analysis tool.

Re:Useful for brainstorming (1)

gwbennett (988163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210373)

Speaking of planets, 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! Yes, that was seriously in the "square."

Re:Useful for brainstorming (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209581)

Next thing you know, (Apple|Microsoft) will make Bing^3, which will return results in div's.

Google Grid (1)

JensenDied (1009293) | more than 5 years ago | (#28208749)

Epic 2014 [youtube.com]
Stay tuned for the news wars next year!

Already better that Alpha (5, Interesting)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 5 years ago | (#28208783)

In fifteen seconds of playing around with it, I already feel like I'm able to get better data and have better control than I do with Wolfram Alpha.

Re:Already better that Alpha (2, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209105)

The major downside being that this can only do the equivalent of "vs" searches in Wolfram Alpha; i.e. it can't calculate with the information at all. That and the sources often being dubios at best.

Re:Already better that Alpha (2, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209111)

I think it is a competitor to Alpha. I don't know that I'd say it's better, though.

Alpha operates only on "curated" data, which means that there's a lot more that can be done with the data, since Alpha understands its structure much better. Also, Alpha can do math on it, create graphs, etc.. But with Alpha, you can only use the data that's been made available.

Google squared can't do as much with the data, but it can use the whole web, so it's data source is much richer.

Of course, alpha can add data, and Google can add knowledge of relationships and the ability to do calculations and generate graphs. Their capabilities may converge over time. In which case Google will win.

Re:Already better that Alpha (5, Funny)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209319)

Well, I typed in geniuses [google.com] and it completely failed to mention the wisest human alive, Steven Wolfram. So I think it's pretty darned incomplete, especially compared to such an unprecedented knowledge-processing breakthrough as Wolfram Alpha.

Re:Already better that Alpha (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28209509)

The neat part is that, if you search for geniuses, you can add a column IQ, and get the corresponding value for this person.

It really look promising.

Re:Already better that Alpha (1)

Kadagan AU (638260) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209913)

and I typed in microsoft [google.com] and it lists Red Hat as one of the operating systems on the right hand column under Windows.

Re:Already better that Alpha (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210765)

This will take google bombing to the next level.

Re:Already better that Alpha (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209183)

Apples and Oranges. Google squared doesn't try to do ANY analysis of the data, it's just a way to do many searches at once in a grid format (see my other post). Alpha takes data and tries to do computations on it (with a terrible input parser, I might add).

They aren't solving the same problem.

Re:Already better that Alpha (4, Interesting)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209391)

No data analysis! GS and WA are completely different beasts.

In Google Squared:

Try getting a square with the five largest countries by area. (In Wolfram|Alpha search for five largest countries by area [wolframalpha.com] )

Try to mathematically manipulate results like, say, dividing power usage of the united states by its population. (In Wolfram|Alpha search for united states electric production / population [wolframalpha.com]

Try to get GS to do anything like growth charts, ISS location calculations, morse code translation, puzzle solving, food calorie counting, differential equations.

Also the data is much less complete. Check out Google Squared's results for the escape velocities of the moons of Mars [google.com] . Now check Wolfram|Alpha's [wolframalpha.com] . Yeah, there's a reason that WA is citable as a primary source.

Wolfram Alpha (3, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#28208839)

Wolfram Alpha may not be a direct competitor for Google, yet, this is their response.
Yes, I know, Wolfram takes info from reduced and trusted sources while Google does not. But the semantic database that they are building have the same structure.

Re:Wolfram Alpha (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211303)

I couldn't help but notice how appropriate your sig is in context.

Just goofing around (4, Funny)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#28208855)

Yahoo URL: "No value found"
http://www.google.com/squared/search?q=search+engines [google.com]

Random fun:
http://www.google.com/squared/search?q=large+noses [google.com]
http://www.google.com/squared/search?q=lolcat+pictures [google.com]

Reply if you find other amusing queries!

Re:Just goofing around (1)

softwaredeveloper (654278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209225)

click us presidents, then add "race", "sexual orientation", "color" complete garbage.

Re:Just goofing around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28209359)

Well "color" certainly gave silly results, but I didn't see anything wrong with the others (beyond some "No value found"s, certainly not enough for it to be "complete garbage).

Re:Just goofing around (1)

Kadagan AU (638260) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209999)

I found two interesting things with this search. First off, George Washington's race is listed as "black", ans secondly, if you add "legacy" as a key word, and add barack obama as one of the presidents, it says his legacy is "Driving the State Towards Bankruptcy"

Re:Just goofing around (1)

tdvaughan (582870) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209419)

Memes [google.com] is surprisingly accurate - and, hilariously, it also counts Ron Paul as one. Which, when you come to think about it...

Re:Just goofing around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28209617)

http://www.google.com/squared/search?q=slashdot+users

Re:Just goofing around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28209723)

http://www.google.com/squared/search?q=fruit

Best part of that Yahoo entry (1)

xant (99438) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210687)

Revenue: Question mark

wikipedia (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28208887)

it sure provides a ton of information from wikipedia. i wonder what % of wikipedia articles form google's results these days.

Pretty neat but... (1)

keeegan (1526067) | more than 5 years ago | (#28208993)

Where's the option to save it to my hard drive as a spreadsheet?

Mixed results (4, Interesting)

gaspyy (514539) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209017)

The default result sets are more than useless - are laughable.
I searched for europe demographics [google.com] and it automatically created a set of rows that was made of Gibraltar, Isle of Man and Faroe Islands; for columns it created Image, Description, Language, Capital and Currency. The same search on Wolfram Alpha [wolframalpha.com] produced clear, concise results.

Eventually, I could get good results on Squared too by starting with an empty square and adding rows and columns myself. Took about 10 minutes; I could have made a simple search to get the same results.

I realize Google-bashing is dangerous around here, but they definitely have to improve Squared if they want it to be useful.

Re:Mixed results (1)

Joseph Lam (61951) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209421)

Remember what Google is good at? Collective knowledge. Over time they will understand more about how people use Squared and what columns people find relevant for certain types of search, and can use that to optimize the engine. It's like the gmail spam filter which performs so well because of collective knowledge.

Re:Mixed results (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28209823)

Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.

Google Squared returns a table of information about a group of things. You are asking it for information about something that is not a group of things. Unsurprisingly, it is not giving you good results.

Re:Mixed results (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28210261)

Search for Mountains in Germany [google.com] . You will find the Zugspitze, height 2,962m (fair enough), the black forest (ok, there are some mountains in that area), height 19.5km (huh?) and the baltic sea (WTF?)

Not so impressed (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209051)

I get better information from a normal search. This query set is very limited (for now at least). You can only give it a broad set topic and it will only give you back more specific subsets. Nothing related, similar or tangential. Do a search for "javascript" and you get 2 results - the international standard and a link to Mozilla. Nothing about any of the popular libraries, help sites, documentation, blogs, books or history...

Do a search on Dog breeds however and you get a nice list of those as they are a discrete subset of the query term.

Re:Not so impressed (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209237)

SO tried again with "javascript library" and got results... but still, requiring 2 keywords to get results is hardly going improve search.

A stop gap solution would be to suggest queries that do have a lot of results when someone is typing in the query or after a low result set is returned. Yes fewer results seems like it would be better but not for a general query... still needs work (hence why it's in Labs I suppose).

Spider Man = Monkey (2, Interesting)

Celeste R (1002377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209167)

Re:Spider Man = Monkey (1)

Celeste R (1002377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209191)

And in new news, apparently Africa is a rare animal.

Re:Spider Man = Monkey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28209603)

Ah, yes! I do believe you're referring to the rare African Africa. That species can attain a land speed of over 35 kmph, although it's wind speed is is a bit short of an unladen swallow.

Wow. Pretty cool. (5, Informative)

sootman (158191) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209261)

But when I asked for http://www.google.com/squared/search?q=supermodels [google.com] I couldn't help but notice it was missing a few key columns.

HOLY CRAP! This post started out as a joke but then I then typed 'measurements' into the 'Add columns' box and it effing worked! Then click in the 'Add items' in the lower left, add the 5 suggestions, do that a few more times, and BAM, you've got a good amount of data. Holy crap, this is neat. There goes the rest of my day. I could see using this for actual work, like bridge lengths and building heights and such.

And it's FUN! Data appears instantly, as if by magic, complete with pictures. I've never said this in my 10+ years on Slashdot, but everyone, GO RTFA! Actually, skip TFA, just go visit the site!

Re:Wow. Pretty cool. (1)

hoooocheymomma (1020927) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210163)

yeah when i figured out how easily you can tune the results, i was pretty impressed.

It is of course a little clumsy and lacking in features, but when they get this cleaned up, it will be a very useful tool.

Re:Wow. Pretty cool. (1)

subtr4ct (962683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210173)

Adding a column "marital status" reveals some of the ladies to be single. Not perfect, though. "No value found" for several rows.

Re:Wow. Pretty cool. (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211453)

This is super cool and I'm really looking forward to what will come of it, partly because I can see this has miles of potential and partly because the results at the moment can be unintentionally comical. Searching for 'planets' yields 7: Earth, Jupiter, Pluto, Saturn, Mercury, Ceres, and Venus. And in the "description" column for Venus it says "Only at Venus, find the sexiest women's swimwear and clothing. Shop online or request a catalog for sizzling hot clothing." :-) And Pluto, evidently, has a giant sign on it--the pic comes from a random blog. When I created my own list, they all came in better but still not perfect. The "Mercury" and "Saturn" descriptions are for the car companies and Pluto's picture, this time, was the cartoon dog. Still, very cool, and TONS of potential.

Useless searches without context ... (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209417)

So I search on "space physics virtual observatory" ... and it prompts me to give 5 examples so I do (VSO, VMO, VHO, ViTMO, ViRBO) ... and well, it populated a grid with the top result for "VSO" which is "VSO Software" not "The Virtual Solar Observatory" (in all fairness, the Virtual Solar Observatory doesn't show up under the search, "Space Physics Virtual Observatory VSO", but it does show up under "Virtual Observatory VSO" ... so I start with the search "Virtual Observatory" (which brings up astronomy VOs, not space physics VOs) and add "VSO" ... and it still gives me "VSO Software".

So ... it might be useful for some fields, but not all.

(it _was_ able to tell me the countries of the nighttime VOs, though, which is handy ... although all of the items in the list weren't VOs.)

Not usable at all... (3, Informative)

Arrawa (681474) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209515)

I've tried several searches and found that all searches are completely false, misleading or screwed up.

Example 1: Dutch provinces. Wolfram accurately lists 12 and has the right names. Google lists dozens results, including Belgium rivers, shows the picture of a soccer player (with the same name as a

Example 2: Dutch prime ministers. Wolfram shows the current one correctly and some older ones. All the info Wolfram shows is correct. Google lists many. Mostly the names are correct, but there is a picture and description of a car salesman with the same name, among others.

Example 3: Countries in the EU. Wolfram shows 27 correct names. Google shows lots and lots of names. On the first pages it is ok, but on page threee, Sports is listed as an country (with the capital listed as $9500 ??) as well as Switzerland (not a EU-member) and English.

So the tables are completely useless, it also sources Wikipedia almost all the time.

Ergo: do not use it. Not yet in any case.

Re:Not usable at all... (2, Funny)

Virak (897071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209953)

Obviously that's because you're searching for the wrong things. It simply can't be bothered to gather good information for such trivial matters. If you search for something worthwhile, the superiority of Google Squared quickly becomes apparent.

Search for "list of pokemon" on Wolfram Alpha, and you get this pathetic sight [imageshack.us] . On the other hand, if you put the same query into Google Squared, add a couple of suggested columns, and maybe a Pokemon or two you want specific information on, and it gives you something that's actually useful [imageshack.us] .

It May Source Wikipedia... (1)

hax0r_this (1073148) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211003)

But it seems very confused about what it is: http://www.google.com/squared/search?q=wikipedia [google.com]

Re:It May Source Wikipedia... (2, Interesting)

Virak (897071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211321)

It's Google Squared, not plain Google. If you search for something the results of which cannot be reasonably be put into a table of things and facts about them, you're not likely to get good results. A lot of people don't seem to be catching onto this. For example, in TFA, the guy searches for "atomic weights of elements", gets results which are half elements and half things like "Melting point", which have nonsense columns that are empty in most cases, and then has to add an "atomic weight" column anyway (he didn't explicitly state this, but the column in his picture is all lowercase, and the ones Google adds aren't like that). The right way to use it is to search for just "elements" and then add an "atomic weight" column to that. Doing it this way gets only actual elements, and default columns that make sense ("Boiling Point", "Melting Point", and "Crystal System" for me) and have information for every row.

Re:Not usable at all... (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210171)

Strange, I find it very good. I typed "Antarctic Explorers" and then added a columned for "explored" and it tells me what those guys did explore, even adding multiple extra items. Granted, there are a few that went nowhere near Antarctica.

Re:Not usable at all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28210471)

Ergo: do not use it. Not yet in any case.

Your conclusion doesn't necessarily follow from your poorly stated propositions.

(I have tried several searches and google squares returned very appropriate results.)

Re:Not usable at all... (1)

Arrawa (681474) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210873)

The problem is not that some results are correct, the problem is that some results are not correct. So you do not know if google pours out the right answers. It is all about trust. And for now, Google Squared cannot be trusted.

(And poorly stated propositions? I could use bolean search etc, but very few people do that. These are the questions that a student uses if he/she wanted to make a table for a report)

Re:Not usable at all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28210881)

I googled "greek prime ministers" and I got:

Google Squared couldn't automatically build a Square about greek prime ministers.
But don't give up yet!

Start a Square by entering up to 5 example items below.
example: Planets
Venus
Mercury
Earth
Jupiter

After entering karamanlis, simitis, papandreou, mitsotakis, and kapodistrias in the boxes, I got a table with all five of them plus Khrushchev and Gorbachev!! Well, it needs some work...
Wikipedia, using "greek prime ministers" returned "No article title matches" but the first hit in the list was "List of Prime Ministers of Greece", which was correct.

Re:Not usable at all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28211071)

Google is automated
Wolfram is human-edited

which one is inevitably going to be superior?

George Washington Carver = first president (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28209549)

I clicked the link on the front of the page for "US Presidents." http://www.google.com/squared/search?q=US presidents&suggest=1 for the lazy. Under full name for George Washington, it lists Mr. George Carver. You'd think for something 1) so common and 2) that they promote on the front of their main site should have 100% accurate and vetted information and not tell us that George Washington Carver, despite his wonderful accomplishments, was the first president of these United States.

sarcomere (1)

nassar (635049) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209615)

We've been playing with returning tables for structured data in the datalab project, e.g.: http://www.renci.org/~nassar/datalab/rplot.html [renci.org] Of course, data in tables is a well proven concept :-)

This Google thing will never catch on... (1)

viper34j (1401493) | more than 5 years ago | (#28209785)

This Google thing will never catch on...

Re:This Google thing will never catch on... (1)

JayDaddy (1555687) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210925)

Nope, cause then that Internet thing would have to catch on first

Accurate informations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28210053)

Learn more about Operating Systems [google.com]

Ah! Who new Windows was free?

Ordering algorithm for rows? (2, Interesting)

Odonian (730378) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210657)

I wonder how they are ordering their table results. If I put in "star trek characters" for instance, I do indeed get a first set of ten that are all from ST.
#1 is Spock (the Zachary Quinto version, but OK good)
Kirk however is #6 after Riker, Troi, Picard, and Neelix.
Neelix? c'mon google, that's a fail.

YMMV seems to fit here (1)

JayDaddy (1555687) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210817)

Based on playing with the site for a few minutes and reading through posts so far it seems like perception of this feature depends on what you are searching for and how you enter the search terms. Perception of this feature also seems to be dependent upon the user's pre-judgment of Google vs. Wolfram Alpha, but that's probably best left for another discussion. Of course Google will produce some strange and/or invalid results for the search terms since it is searching then entire internet whereas Alpha is only searching a small subset of sites that it has deemed worthy.

no-go w/ w3m (1)

10am-bedtime (11106) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210995)

Unfortunately, this facility does not interoperate with w3m. All you can see is a "preparing" progress-bar thingy.

Put in your first name and reply mit results... (1)

tyroneking (258793) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211049)

for me ... it said "Heartless"

Curated tables. (1)

orngjce223 (1505655) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211115)

I see the promise but would rather that my user-entered values be accessible like the GoogleSearchWiki. This could be described as a "curated table". (Much more useful than the utterly random data given - when I search for Fruit, I want to see a picture of an apple, not an Apple.) Obviously I'm taking half the pages from Wikipedia's book and throwing them at Google, but the idea's there I think.

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