Google Squared is an Exponential Improvement in Search

One of the things I’ve learned about Google is that the most amazing things will come out of them with barely a whisper of fanfare. Such is the case with Google Squared, a new Google Labs tool that was released today. What does Google Squared do? It organizes and tables information from searches for you in a way that makes it much more useful.

For example, the first thing I put into Google Squared was [science fiction conventions], and I got back:
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Not too bad right off the bat, and by clicking on the X boxes, you can remove columns or rows that don’t fit. It works even better for things that are very well defined, like [atomic weights of elements]:
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You can also add new columns and add searches to existing tables. So, for example, we can start with [2009 movie gross], which starts out as:
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Notice that G^2 isn’t perfect, it isn’t actually giving me the grosses as a column, and I’m getting movies from all years. So, let’s add [year] and [gross] as columns, and X out country and language, ending up with:
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Now, here’s where Google can add some features. I’d like to be able to filter columns, so I could say “Only rows where the year column is 2009.” Sorting would be nice too. And at least a “Save as CSV” button. I’m also not sure exactly how the “Add to This Square” button works.

You can also start from a blank square and add rows and colums, so I can start by putting items in the rows, like [Up], [angels and demons], etc, and then adding gross as a column:
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If you don’t like the value that Google Squared put into a cell, you can click on the cell and you’ll be offered alternative values:
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And finally, if you’re logged into your Google account, you can save a square you’ve been working on.

This is a pretty huge new toy we’ve been given. It offers a lot of the same value that Wolfram Alpha claims to, presenting searches in more categorized fashion, but improves on Wolfram by letting you tweak the results and save them. Add some sorting, filtering and exporting, and this could become the next great report-writer!

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