Google Squared (http://www.google.com/squared) is a new search tool that searches the web for a subject and places the results in a database using a tabular format. The information is much easier to read in table form versus the normal list returned by a search engine. For example, a search for “Digital Cameras” returns a table with cameras listed on the left as rows, and columns with the headings Image (shows an image of the camera), Description, Manufacturer, Resolution (in MP), Color (available colors). The column entry for each camera is a website. In the above example, the information for Description came from Nikonusa.com, the information for Manufacturer came from Shopping.com and the information for Resolution came from Google.com.
The table by default shows the first 10 items in the table – there is a button displayed on each page of the table to show the next 10 items. Columns can also be added using a button that displays a drop-down list. The drop-down list from the above example included the headings Optical Sensor Type, Effective Sensor Resolution, Total Pixels, and Light Sensitivity. Users can sign-in using their Google account in order to save their searches.
Mountain View, CA-based Google is the Internet’s largest search engine. The company was founded in 1996 by Stanford graduate students Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Eric Schmidt is currently CEO of the company. Google currently serves over 140 million visitors per month and is consistently the #1 destination on the Internet. Google Squared is part of Google Labs, which means that it is an application still under development by Google. Google Squared was shut down in August 2011.
Competition to Google Squared comes from sites such as Wolfram Alpha. This subsite of Wolfram Research offers search results similar to Google Squared. The major difference between Google Squared and Wolfram Alpha is that Wolfram Alpha is using its own database, which is constantly being added to and updated, while Google Squared is doing a realtime search of the web.
The Google Squared site, like most of Google’s sites, is clean and uncluttered. The home page is dominated by a search bar where you type your query and a button which says “Square It”. There is also an option to start with a blank square, a link to Help, and a link to log in. The search results show a table with 10 rows by 6 columns, with buttons for adding more rows (results) and columns. The site is very responsive, with searches taking a few seconds at most.
Registration to Google Squared is free and is not required to use the site. Registration is required in order for users to save their searches. Users can use their registration to log in to other Google services. The registration process asks for email address, password and country. Validation of the email address is required. Registered users will see a link on the Google Squared home page to their Saved Searches.
Registration to Google Squared is free.
Google Squared is recommended to anyone who is searching for data that would be difficult to sort through in list form. It is especially suited for making comparisons of items, which is what a large number of people are doing when they search for data on the Internet. The site provides the ability to easily build a database of information about a given subject and display it in tabular form. The software is still in beta, and some searches will result in extraneous data, but the software is being improved daily. The site should prove especially useful to students, researchers and consumers doing product searches.