10 Google Labs Experiments You Should Know
Google’s engineers are brewing in their cauldron of awesomeness applications that can make user experience better. Over the years they have come up with several useful applications like Google Reader, Google Maps, and Google Trends to name a few. Although most of the applications are still experimental and are still faulty, major features are truly groundbreaking.
(Image source: Cio)
I have gathered 10 truly useful applications that can be used for everyday life either for fun or for serious business. Remember, if you find a bug or you have something in mind that can make these applications better, don’t forget to send your feedback at Google Labs.
1. App Inventor for Android
Let’s start with a very cool experimental application that can be use to build applications. Now that’s meta!
It is said that if you want to impress the ladies, buy an iPhone. If your goal is to impress nerds, choose Android. You know what’s cooler? Develop Android applications using App Inventor for Android even if you don’t own an Android phone or have no idea how to program. This entry is perhaps the most different of all listed here, I included it because I want you to know that you also have the freedom to create.
Visit: App Inventor for Android
2. Google Fast Flip
Fast Flip is for people who are easily satisfied by the very best and has little time to search for great online content. It gives users snapshots of controversial, recent, and popular articles from famous news websites. One click, or one swipe, and the next best content is served right in front of you in an instant. No more loading all those web pages in search for what you need, because Fast Flip gives you exactly what you want based on how you customize it.
Design is very minimalistic, perfect for researchers and writers and anyone who is concerned about what’s happening in the world.
Visit: Google Fast Flip
It is really frustrating when a question pops in your mind and you can’t have an "almost" instantaneous answer even if you already posted it in an online community (forums, Reddit, Digg, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) where people are always online. The problem might be there’s just no one in there who knows the answer. Solution: Aardvark. Roughly 2 minutes ago I asked a question, just now I received an answer.
Let’s face it, there will come a time when you just want to hear an answer to a question you don’t have yet. Doesn’t make sense? Aardvark has a feature where you can ask Aardvark to think of a question for you. Neat, eh?
This great application is also available in iPhone. See user reviews here.
4. Google Goggles
One of the best technologies ever invented today is OCR or Optical Character Recognition. Digital photos of texts are converted into actual texts that text editors can read and edit. Google Goggles incorporates this technology so magnificently that even if it is still in its early stages, the things that you can do with it are already awesome. By taking a photo of an object whose name is unknown to you, Google Goggles magically tells you what it is. Enough of text queries where most of the time people don’t even know how to describe things.
Google Goggles works for business cards or documents with contact information where Goggles convert e-mails, phone number, address, name, etc. automatically for your comfort. Also perfect for tourists who can’t read or understand foreign signs and notices. By just taking a photo, the intelligible text is translated to your preferred language. Cool, right?
Admittedly, the technology is not yet complete, but the future it holds for the world is tantamount to the invention of wheel.
Visit: Google Goggles
5. Google Shopper
Google Shopper has a feature similar to Google Goggles where real-life objects are recognized by Android phones. The deal with Google Shopper is that it enables users to instantly find reviews and several price quotes of items, including where to buy it. Taking a photo of an object and getting the information you need is a great time saver. Google Shopper also lets users scan barcodes on items.
No object to scan? Easy, Shopper has a speech recognition feature. Don’t forget to watch the video to get a good idea what Google Shopper does.
Visit: Google Shopper
6. Gesture Search
Since applications are made to help people save time, although it only works for Android currently, this application is still worth mentioning. The rise of applications in the market is steady, people love them and would save as much as they can for their comfort.
A problem arises when there’s too much apps, just like on an unorganized geek’s desktop (do they even exist?) where 50-plus icons are scattered, time consumed in searching for a specific app is highly stressful. Now, imagine turning your Android phone’s touch screen into a screen-wide search machine which only requires that you "write" letters and/or numbers of the application you are looking for using your index finger (or pinky)? Works for contacts and music tracks too.
If there is one more thing we need to eliminate, that is stress from searching for your favorite game.
Visit: Gesture Search
7. Google Shared Spaces
Shared Spaces basically brings people together to collaborate on any projects at hand. It is very easy to use and has lots of gadgets (or widgets) to choose ranging from polls to mind maps. Think of it as a conference room where you can add furniture and devices that will help you and your team plan.
However, too much serious matter is not also a good thing for productivity, Shared Spaces also has several games to choose from where the team can spend quality time together.
Visit: Google Shared Spaces
8. Google Listen
Probably one of the best experimental application to download or stream audio clips, news, and podcasts using your Android phone. Being an experimental app of Google Labs, it still has bugs that can be stressful at times. Sure enough, the creators are furiously whipping their flyswatter to satisfy people.
Visit: Google Listen
9. Google Scribe
Remember when you were in grade school and you had to recite a poem that you didn’t memorize well? Thank goodness a friend who sits at the front "suggests" what to say next and actually help you avoid embarrassment.
It is a usual occurrence for people to bring their writing to a halt simply because they don’t know what to write next. Google Scribe auto-suggests words and phrases that are compatible with your sentence structure. It is a great tool for writers and children to speed up the writing process. With today’s spell-checker and auto-suggest features, I bet it won’t be long before everyone becomes a good writer!
Visit: Google Scribe
10. Google News Timeline
News Timeline works like Fast Flip in a way where it gives you what you want instantly, no need to bother browsing individual pages since they are already presented right in front of you. Google News Timeline works like a calendar where your search query’s results are plotted on the day of their occurrence, or publishing. Perfect for researchers and students. I don’t know what to say more about this amazing application because so far, this is my favorite of the bunch!
Visit: Google News Timeline
There are more than 50 Google Labs applications, a third of which have already "graduated" beta testing and are now used by thousands of netizens. What I have listed here are what I deem best and useful for everyday life, except for number 1 which can be used by hobbyists and people who have lots of time in their hands.