Google Analytics was launched on November 18, 2005. It is a free service that generates detailed statistics about traffic to a website. Its main highlight is that webmasters can optimize their ad campaigns through Google Analytics’ analysis of where visitors came from, how long they stayed on the website, and their geographical location. The homepage reads: “Google Analytics tells you everything you want to know about how your visitors found you and how they interact with your site.” The service is based on the Urchin software that Google acquired when it took over Urchin Software Corporation.
In April 2002, Google launched a new service called Google Answers. It is an extension to the conventional search — rather than doing the search themselves, users pay someone else to do the search. Customers ask questions, offer a price for an answer, and researchers answer them. Researchers are screened through an application process that tests their research and communications abilities. Prices for questions range from $2 to $200; Google keeps 25% of the payment, sends the rest to the researchers, and charges an additional $0.50 listing fee. Once a question is answered, it remains available for anyone to browse for free. This service came out of beta in May 2003 and presently receives more than one hundred question postings per day. Google states that asking questions about Google is not allowed on Google Answers. It is similar to the earlier Experts Exchange, but has a broader scope and the barriers of entry to ask or answer are higher.
Discontinued in 2006
Google Base was officially launched in beta on November 16, 2005, but was already live earlier for brief amounts of time. Its homepage read: “Google Base is Google’s database into which you can add all types of content. We’ll host your content and make it searchable online for free.” The official statement from Google Inc at this time, as posted on Google Blog on Nov. 16, 2005, is: Today we’re excited to announce Google Base, an extension of our existing content collection efforts like web crawl, Google Sitemaps, Google Print and Google Video. Google Base enables content owners to easily make their information searchable online. Anyone, from large companies to website owners and individuals, can use it to submit their content in the form of data items. We’ll host the items and make them searchable for free. Google Base enables content owners to give a structure to their information and make it easily searchable online, it can be related in its principle to a simplified Semantic Web, information is described using labels and attributes.
On September 14 2005, Google launched Blog Search. It is Google search technology focused on blogs. Your results include all blogs, not just those published through Blogger as their blog index is continually updated. You can search not just for blogs written in English, but in French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese and other languages as well.
There are different ways you can get to Blog Search:
The Blogger Dashboard
The Navbar on a Blog*Spot blog
At the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2004, Google introduced its Google Print service, now known as Google Book Search. This tool searches the full text of books that Google scans and stores in its digital database. When relevant to a user’s keyword search, up to three results from the Google Book Search index are displayed above search results in the Google Web Search service (google.com). Or, a user may search just for books at the dedicated Google Book Search service. Clicking a result from Google Book Search opens an interface in which the user may view pages from the book as well as content-related advertisements and links to the publisher’s website and booksellers. Through a variety access limitations and security measures, some based on user-tracking, Google limits the number of viewable pages and prohibits page printing and text copying. .
As of December 2005, the Google Book Search service remains in a beta stage but the underlying database continues to grow, with more than a hundred thousand titles added by publishers and authors and some 10,000 works in the public domain now indexed and included in search results. A similar service, known as Search Inside the Book, is offered by Amazon.com’s A9.com.
In December 2004, Google signaled an extension to its Google Print initiative known as the Google Print Library Project. Google announced partnerships with several high-profile university and public libraries, including the University of Michigan, Harvard (Widener Library), Stanford (Green Library), Oxford (Bodleian Library), and the New York Public Library. According to press releases and university librarians, Google plans to digitize and make available through its Google Book Search service approximately 15 million volumes within a decade. The announcement soon triggered controversy, as publisher and author associations challenged Google’s plans to digitize, not just books in the public domain, but also titles still under copyright. Google’s Library Project later spurred a group led by Yahoo!, called the Open Content Alliance.
On November 17, 2005, Google changed the name of this service from Google Print to Google Book Search. Its program for publishers and authors for including their books in the service was renamed Google Books Partner Program and the partnership with libraries became Google Books Library Project.
Google Book Search remains controversial. While many hail the initiative for its potential to offer unprecedented access to what may become the largest online corpus of human knowledge, the publishing industry and writers’ groups decry the project as a wholesale rights-grab. The Authors Guild of America and Association of American Publishers have individually sued Google, citing ‘massive copyright infringement’.
Now Google Books
As of December 2005, Google Catalogs is in the beta stage. Numerous (over 6,600 at the time of this writing) print catalogs are archived on Google as scanned image files. Through the use of character recognition, users can search for a text string in these catalogs in a fashion similar to how they would for materials on the general web. Matching results are displayed through thumbnails of the pages on which the text was found, with the specific area of the page where the search result is found shaded in a yellow box. Another image file next to the thumbnail, a shrunk version of the highlighted area on the thumbnail, highlights the exact location of the search result. Users can then access the page of the catalog (as a larger graphic file) and change pages by using a navigation bar positioned above the page image. It might be worth noting that one can access the catalogs without a search as well.
The directory is a subset of the links in Google’s database arranged into hierarchical subcategories, like an advanced Yellow Pages of the web. The original source of the directory, and the categorization is the Open Directory Project (ODP), which publishes an easily parsed version of its database in Resource Description Framework format for other sites, like Google, to use for derivative directories.
Discontinued in 2010
Froogle is a price engine that searches online stores for particular products. It is also offered in Wireless Markup Language (WML) form and can be accessed from cellphones or other wireless devices that have support for WML.
Now Google Shopping
Google maintains a Usenet archive, called Google Groups (formerly an independent site known as Deja News). Google is currently testing a new version of its Groups service, which archives mailing lists hosted by Google in addition to Usenet posts, using the same interface as Gmail. Formally known as “Google Groups Beta,” the new version of Google Groups is much more advanced than the last, letting you more easily join a group, make a group, and track your favorite topics. However, many users preferred the old interface and find the new one cluttered.
The original Google Groups interface, which was preferred by a great number of regular Usenet posters to the current Beta version, due to its closer adherence to established Usenet Netiquette, was available until May 4, 2005, on the domains http://www.google.ca and http://www.google.co.uk, and, according to the (non-official) google.public.support.general FAQ, until July 28, 2005 on some other sites; it is currently unavailable on all Google Groups sites.
In 2003, Google announced Google Images, which allows users to search the web for image content. The keywords for the image search are based on the filename of the image, the link text pointing to the image, and text adjacent to the image. When searching for an image, a thumbnail of each matching image is displayed. Then when clicking on a thumbnail, the image is displayed in a frame at the top of the page and the website on which that image was found is displayed in a frame below it, making it easier to see from where the image is coming.
Google Labs consists of all of Google’s experimental technologies. Google Labs is akin to a directory page that links to all Google technologies under development or in beta that have not yet been made widely available. From the Google Labs home page, a user can access Google Suggest, Google Desktop Search, and other web technologies.
Google Local helps you focus your search on a specific geographic location. Sometimes you want to search the whole worldwide web, and sometimes you just want to find an auto parts store within walking distance. The service lets you search for a “What” such as pizza and a “Where” such as Poughkeepsie, New York. The purpose of Google Local is to help people find local businesses. Not only does Google Local display the website of the businesses, but often times it will also display the phone number and address. On October 6, 2005 Google integrated Google Maps functionality into its Local service. On November 7, 2005 Google launched Google Local for mobile, a free service that combines directions, maps and satellite imagery and it should work with most Java-enabled (J2ME) mobile phones.
On February 8, 2005, Google introduced a beta release of an online map service called Google Maps, which only covered the USA, Canada, the UK and Ireland. It can interact with Google Local to restrict results to a certain areas. The service features draggable maps, a location search, and turn-by-turn directions. It has received early praise for the speed of its operation, produced by the pre-rendering of the maps it uses. It currently works with Internet Explorer, Mozilla-based browsers (such as Mozilla Firefox), Opera and Safari web browser. On April 4, 2005, Google added satellite imagery to Google Maps. Originally limited to North America and the United Kingdom, the satellite imagery was extended to whole world in June 2005.
On July 20, 2005, in honor of the first manned Moon landing on the 20 July 1969, Google has added NASA imagery to Google Maps. As a joke, the closest zoom level features an image of cheese instead of the moon surface. This plays on the English expression that “the moon is made of cheese.”
Google introduced a beta release of an automated news compilation service, Google News, in April 2002. There are different versions of the aggregator for more than 20 languages, with more added all the time. While the selection of news stories is fully automated, the sites included and the algorithms that choose the news articles to be displayed are selected by human editors, and the choices have occasionally led to some controversy. The service is integrated with Google Search History.
Formerly Portal or Google Fusion
In May 2005, Google introduced Personalized Homepage, giving the ability to customize the default Google home page. In order to use the Google service, the user must first have a Google account. It allows users to have a homepage customized to their taste with, among other things, Google Search, an at-a-glance headline view of top stories from numerous websites including Slashdot and CNN, as well as offering your local weather. The user can select certain items to appear on their portal. Preselected news feeds can be chosen, or customized RSS feeds can be used. Among available pre-determined feeds are the BBC, CNN and Slashdot along with many others. On 14 September 2005, Google moved the homepage out of Google Labs. The “IG” in the address stands for “I Google”.
By making use of Google’s Search History feature, this service allows users to create a profile based on their prior search history. Future search results can be prioritized on an individual basis on the information collected.
In November 2004, Google released Google Scholar, a search engine that indexes the full text of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and scholarly fields. Today, the index includes virtually all peer-reviewed journals available online, except those published by Elsevier Science, the world’s largest scientific publisher. Comparable in function to Elsevier’s Scopus and Thomson ISI’s subscription-based Web of Science service, through more inclusive in sources and languages, Google Scholar is the world’s largest index of the “Deep Web” or content that is only available to entitled users.
Results in Google Scholar are ranked by “relevance”, which is based largely on the number of times the scholarly works have been cited in other works and in this sense is similar to PageRank. The relevance ranking is biased towards older works rather than up-to-date works which have had less time to be cited. Google Scholar appears to be strongly based on the ideas behind Citeseer, as described in the paper Digital Libraries and Autonomous Citation Indexing . “Stand on the shoulders of giants” appears as a motto on the Google scholar main page.
During early 2005, Google Scholar was enhanced by the first attempt by a search engine to directly link its users to online resources at research libraries. Initially known as the Institutional Access Pilot, now Library Links, the service enables institutional users, primarily at major academic libraries, to identify their institutional affiliation and thereby receive customized search results that link to their institution’s link resolver, thus ensuring they receive access to a document’s full text.
Formerly My Search History
Keeps a record of all searches and clicked results while a user is logged into a Google Account and allows this to be accessed and searched. This also tracks queries made to Google Images and Google News. Recently, Google expanded Search History with a new feature, dubbed Trends, that allows users to view detailed statistics based on the data in their search history.
Use text messaging for quick info.
The feature quickly drew widespread praise as an impressive innovation, and so far competitors such as Yahoo! have not offered anything similarly real-time. Some in the open-source community, however, have made an effort to duplicate the functionality for general use, and we may one day see many ordinary sites employing this type of interface. The term AJAX has come into widespread use to describe the technology used in Google Suggest and GMail. Suggest Framework is an example of this effort.
It has been noted that Google attempts to avoid suggesting potentially offensive searches. For instance, there are no suggestions for porn, but there are for variations of the word. Interestingly, other words, like lesbian are also on this list, while various profanities and racial slurs are not.
See also WikiWax, a comparable service from SurfWax Inc. that searches Wikipedia articles.
See also Questsin, a blog explaining how Google Suggest Works as an algorithm including negative side effects of simple concatenating words together based on frequency of results.
Transit Trip Planner
Currently in Google Labs, the Google Transit Trip Planner was released on December 7, 2005 (). Google Transit’s goal is to provide local trip planning (eg, using the local buses and rail system) in a simplistic manner, all on one page. Utilizing the Google Maps interface, transit shows a picture of your route with detailed directions.
Google Transit currrently works only in the Portland, Oregon area but will be expanded soon.
A translation service launched by Google.
On January 25, 2005, Google introduced a beta of Google Video, allowing users to search through television content based on title, network or a closed caption transcript. Users can then watch the videos, or in most cases see stills and transcripts of them.
Google’s most famous creation is the Google search engine. Google.com has indexed over 8 billion Web sites, has 200 million requests a day and is the largest search engine on the Internet. The search engine allows you to search through images, products (Froogle), news, and the usenet archive. It uses a proprietary system (including PageRank) to return the search results. A culture has grown around the very popular search engine, and to google has come to mean, “to search for something on Google.”
Google X was a project released by Google Labs on March 15, 2005 and rescinded a day later. It consisted of the traditional Google search bar, but it was made to look like the Dock user interface feature of Apple’s Mac OS X operating system. Rumors say the project was discontinued because Google feared legal retribution from Apple.