Google adds image, timeline, wrinkles to search tools
Online search leader Google Inc. unveiled two new search tools on Monday that allow users to view news chronologically and search photographs for similar images.
The two services, called News Timeline and Similar Images, are both in an early experimental phase, and have limited capabilities so far.
Google News Timeline organizes search information chronologically, pulling from news stories, Wikipedia entries and historical material. Users can navigate through time by dragging the timeline to earlier dates, or by setting the time scale to days, weeks, months, years or decades.
The other search tool, Similar Images, lets users refine image searches when the regular Google search turns up wildly different results, such as when an image of both the Eiffel Tower and Paris Hilton appear when "Paris" is entered as a search term. Click on the Similar Images tag under the Eiffel Tower and all the images it turns up will be of the tower.
The technology behind the visual search is similar to Like.com, which allows users to shop for shoes, clothing and accessories and refine their search based on images of the products.
Google has a history of soft launching products that aren't quite finished to give consumers a chance to tinker with the tools. Previous products to come out of Google Labs, the company's experimental division, include Google Maps and Google Trends.
Google also announced Monday the Google Labs website has been revamped to allow more interaction between visitors to the site and the engineers developing the products.