Thursday, May 11, 2006

Google Trends and Co-Op

There some new Google services up and running and buzzing around the blogs today. I only briefly took a look around them.
Google Trends is like Google Finance for anything search trend than you want to analyze. Very useful for someone wanting to waste time instead of doing some productive work ;). You can compare the search and news volume for different terms like:

It gets the data from all the google searches so it really does not reflect the trends within the scientific community.

The other new tool out yesterday is Google Co-Op, the start of social search for Google. It looks as obscure as Google Base so I can again try to make some weird connection to how researcher might use it :). It looks like Google Co-Op is a way for users to further personalize their search. User can subscribe to providers that offer their knowledge/guidance to shape some of the results you see in your search. If you search for example for alzheimer's you should see on the top of the results some refinement that you can do. For example you can look only at treatment related results. This was possible because a list of contributors have labeled a lot of content according to some rules.

Anyone can create a directory and start labeling content following an XML schema that describes the "context". So anyone or (more likely) any group of people can add metadata to content and have it available in google. The obvious application for science would be to have metadata on scientific publications available. Maybe getting Connotea and CiteULike data into a google directory for example would be useful. These sites can still go on developing the niche specific tools but we could benefit from having a lot of the tagging metadata available in google.