Google’s been busy making a lot of announcements the last few days, so I’m going to summarize them really quickly, with a little commentary.
Google merged their local search with Google Maps to create Google Local in October of 2004. According to their post, they did this to mark the broad searching abilities of the site and emphasize the greater capabilities of the service. However, the new name was never really popular – so they’ve announced that they’re making a return to Google Maps.
This is probably a good decision – as local search has grown in importance throughout the search arena, they’ve been incorporating it into most of their new products. They can’t call everything Google Local, after all!
This isn’t exactly a new offering, so I’m not entirely sure why they’ve recently announced it again, but since I never made mention of it at release, I’ll mention it now. Google Page Creator is a new web site building and hosting service created by Google. You can edit easily on the screen without knowing any HTML (HyperText Markup Language) at all – it’s even simpler than Blogger. It’s an entire online WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) web editor.
Of all the parts of this summary, this new release is the most interesting to me. Although I’m happy that Google Maps is back, that is only a change in name. However, the addition of a feature in Google Scholar which will make it easy for researchers to follow recent papers is not only useful – but the technique is intrinsically fascinating.
I’m clearly not the only person to find this to be the case – while writing this, I figured I’d go check out Bill Slawski’s blog to see if he’d mentioned it, and also noted his link to Greg Linden’s interesting viewpoint. The fascinating thing to me is the idea that Google is attempting to algorithmically rank papers on the basis of a researcher’s tendencies – much like they already consider web pages, they’re taking into consideration the significance of the sources, citations of that paper, and date as means to identify relevance.
Google not only managed to get a new calendaring application out the door, but they promptly turned around and provided an API for it. This has great potential to lead to some very useful new web developments, I’m sure.