Google Labs tests new Images and News features

21 Apr 2009

A hot bed of interesting and useful new ideas from its employees, Google Labs has released fresh tweaks to both its Images search engine and News service.

Similar Images was developed by Google’s computer vision researcher Chuck Rosenberg and allows users to hone in on a particular image or type of image by clicking on the similar images link beneath the chosen picture.

If the term you are searching for is ambiguous, for example ‘jaguar’, and so could mean either the animal or the car, one click on the correct image will mean your results will weed out the incorrect one.

Similar Images also lets users delve deeper into a particular kind of picture. The demonstrator used the example of searching for images of Hollywood couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

He was specifically searching for images where Pitt was standing to the left of the picture, and clicking on similar images brings up these results.

Basically, Similar Images is useful for narrowing down searches when verbal descriptions are not useful or are difficult to articulate.

The Google News Timeline feature is also pretty straight forward: it aims to give a live timeline of online news day by day, week by week or even by month, year or decade layout.

Users can add various newspapers, magazines and blogs, as well as video, books, music and TV shows, to their Timeline queries.

This is a pretty cool browsing feature because you can, for example, turn off all other sources and just select Time magazine and browse through all the issues from the Twenties onwards by choosing ‘Decade’ and scrolling back in time. Clicking on your chosen decade will expand to year by year, and so on.

By Marie Boran