Google News, Image & Profile Search – Oh My!

A few new items came out of Google over the past week, which I think deserve mentioning. No, not the acquisition of Facebook or complete global search domination. Not yet anyway.

What we have seen from Google are a couple of very interesting new Lab applications and the integration of personal Google profiles into their SERPs for name based queries.

Google News Timeline
The latest release in Google Labs is their News Timeline application which allows you to search for information chronologically.

With several nice features including a flexible time line that you can slide up and down with the drag of a mouse, Google News Timeline makes it easy to follow developing news stories, search famous quotes, get updated sports scores &mdash you name it.

And best of all, everything is organized chronologically, which makes it easy to follow the progression of a story or to map out the sequence of events.

At first glance, I’m a big fan of this Google News enhancement.

Similar Image Search
Equally as impressive is another Google Labs application for their image search. Google’s Similar Images is a very cool tool which allows you to refine image based searches based on visual similarity.

Imagine you’re looking for a picture of Paris (the city), and a bunch of the images returned by Google are of Paris Hilton. How frustrating. Well, now you can click on the similar images link beneath one of the “city of love” pictures and refine your search to exclude everything related to the socialite made famous for &mdash wait, why is she famous again? Just famous for being famous I guess.

To help you find the exact image you’re looking for, Similar Images also allows you to sort images by size, type of content (faces, drawings, photos, etc) and colors. I’m not completeley sure how they are pulling all of this off, but it’s very helpful.

2 for 2 Google, way to go.

Profile Search
In recognition of the fact that people search on names more and more (whether that be in an attempt to find someone or just for vanity’s sake), and impacted by the growing social space, Google has started to include personal Google profiles at the bottom of their SERPs for name based queries.

Positioning this as a way of giving you greater control over what people find when they search for you, Google is surely recognizing the fact that this is one area where social networking sites like Facebook have quickly outpaced them. They even encourage users to post about their profile on Twitter &mdash if that’s not recognition of the power of social media I don’t know what is.