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Could Google Squared Be The Next Big Thing In Search?

With the experimental Google Squared, the search engine leader shows it's not ready to give up the throne.

Last week, a new addition to the Google Labs was added (Google Labs is the playground where the company experiments with new ideas and applications). Called Google Squared, it is -- to quote the help page -- a search tool that helps you quickly build a collection of facts from the Web for any topic you specify.

The "squares" in Google Squared actually are cells in a table that is formulated from the results of the search. After entering a query into the search field, the table appears with the details of common attributes within each cell.

So, if you were to enter "American Muscle Car" into Google Squared, a table would be generated with rows of common cars of that type, and columns that include an image, description, production years, class and body style. Unwanted columns can be deleted with a simple click of the mouse, and additional columns can be added by choosing from suggestions in a drop-down menu, or by typing in a new column heading, which generates a search to populate that column. Hovering the cursor over a cell reveals the URL of the site the information was pulled from.

While experimenting with Google Squared in the CRN Test Center, we found the results to be hit or miss. For the most part, Squared worked as expected. Some cells were obviously unrelated to the search, but by clicking on the individual cell, other possible results are displayed. We especially liked customizing the square (table) by adding columns and refining the query.

Users with a Google account can log in and save their squares. They can even share squares by copying the URL and sending it to others.

Google states that Squared can learn from edits and corrections you make, and this will gradually improve the accuracy of its results to all users. If this is indeed true, its time spent on the Google Labs page may be a way for the company to refine the application before officially releasing it into the wild.

When we first started working with Google Squared, it wasn't really clear how an application such as this can be useful. But the more we used it, the more apparent it became that it is a handy way to organize the results of certain types of searches. It also is a quick and easy way to collate a lot of information on a particular subject.

While the precision still needs some tweaking, Google Squared has the potential to catch on as another useful product from the search giant. Although the company has expanded its reach into many other territories, it obviously hasn't lost sight of the fact that it can't rest on its laurels in the search game. Google Squared is proof that it doesn't intend to sit still as others continue to challenge.

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