By roopakroopak (1221633768|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

There are three major topics that have drawn a lot of attention recently in the world of Google:

  1. Google Audio Indexing now on Google Labs
  2. Google Desktop 5.8 has greatly enhanced performance
  3. Google may allow users to evaluate searches

Google Audio Indexing now on Google Labs


Two months ago, Google introduced the Google Elections Video Search on iGoogle (Google's customizable homepage based on gadgets). This new gadget transcribes and indexes the spoken content on YouTube's Political channels. It has has now launched Google Audio Indexing on Google Labs. This new gadget will provide the incredible feature of "search within video!" Google is continuously working to add innovative new tools and many of its current projects can be seen by going to Google Labs.

For an amusing example of how this gadget can be used, go here!

My impression

This blows me away! I think this is absolutely amazing because it allows people to find out the candidates' views on the issues they care about much more quickly. It makes it easier than ever before to look up the truth behind TV propaganda within a few seconds. This should naturally lead to more educated voters in coming elections.

Thinking about the applications of Google Audio Indexing outside of election purposes, I am excited about how the university learning experience might be enhanced. If this tool could be applied to podcasts put on Ctools, students could very quickly refer back to the exact point during a class when the teacher mentioned something that they can't recall. For review purposes, students could watch the parts of lectures that are most useful to them. One blogger comments on how this technology puts us one step closer to automatic captioning.

Google Desktop 5.8 has greatly enhanced performance

Google desktop has been around for a while now and most of the initial excitement has long faded. This is mostly due to performance issues that raised many complaints. Google released the new Google Desktop 5.8 this week and many users have a renewed excitement!

Key features:

  • Quickly search your computer for emails, web history, and files
  • View news, photos and more anywhere on your desktop
  • Add Google Gadgets to customize your desktop and Sidebar
  • Developers: Create and share your own gadgets

New Features:

  • Support for Google Gadgets
  • Improved indexing
  • Option to remove deleted files from search cache

The major improvements to note about the new Google Desktop are that the applications are faster and the memory footprint is smaller. In addition, the new version supports flash gadgets and Google added a system that detects when a gadget is causing your computer to perform poorly, asking you whether to remove the gadget. To learn more about how Google decided what needed to be changed from the previous version, you can go to the Official Google Blog. To get a general idea of the overall benefits, you can check out this post.

My impression

Though I have never used Google Desktop, I feel like the release of this new version along with the development of Google Chrome is making Google an even greater internet titan. This is just one more way Google is showing its commitment to continuously improving its products to fit the needs of its users. Google manages to keep its users excited and therefore maintains an excellent reputation!

Google may allow users to evaluate searches


Google began running a live test last year that lets people re-rank and remove search engine results and comment on them. The picture to the right shows a screen shot of a version of this test. As you can see, to the right of the search results there are up/down arrows and X's for users to indicate their preferences.

Google first publicly detailed the different variations of the test it presented to people three weeks ago. There has been a lot of recent comment about the results of the live test and how Google will continue to improve its search. Google is unsure about whether it will add the evaluation capability to the site. One of its software engineers discussed the possibility with the media and the engineering director responsible for leading search evaluation discussed it on the Official Google Blog on Monday.

My impression

I don't think I would like to have the evaluation capability added to the site. It would probably be distracting and other users may remove results that I would find useful. Determining whether certain results are more relevant than others is far too subjective of a matter to open up to the public, because there will be no consistency in the presentation of results. I like that Google caters to its users, but I think that search evaluation should be reserved to trained professionals.

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