Google Labs is now Google

Quick, name this search engine!

public-google-labs

No, not Kumo. That’s Google’s recent launch, trying to compete with Twitter search (“Recent results”), to preempt Microsoft (clustering result types), to show a different, though quite ugly UI metaphor (“wonder wheel”), and generally to roll out a whole bunch of features that should have been Google Labs features before making (or not) their way into a public product. So what’s next? buttons next to search results moving them up or down with no opt-out?? Ah, wait, that waste of real estate is already there.

Flash Gordon Gets the Drop on Arch-Enemy Ming the Mericiless - Flickr/pupleslog

Someone is panicking. OPEN FIRE! ALL WEAPONS!!! DISPATCH WAR ROCKET AJAX!!! The same spirit that brought us the failure of knols, is bringing us yet further unnecessary novelty, but this time it’s a cacophony of features, each deserving a long Google Labs quarantine by itself.

I noticed that much of my recent blog posts have to do with Google criticism :-). I wrestle with that, there really ought to be more interesting stuff to blog about in the IR world, and there is also great stuff coming from Google (can you imagine the fantastic similar images feature is still in labs? can Google please apply this to the ridiculously useless “similar pages” link in main web search results??), but I truly think we see a trend. Google is dropping the ball, losing the clear and spotless logic we have seen in the past, and the sensible slow graduation of disruptive features from Google Labs. Sadly, though, it’s not clear if anyone is there, ready to pick that ball…

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2 responses to “Google Labs is now Google

  1. Top notch post!
    Well, it’s because people are starring to innovate, outside of Google, no? Which, in turn, is because many people in Google became “fully vested” about 1-1.5 years ago.
    I kind of like the “wonder wheel” though. I call it “the babe explorator”.
    On a related note, I was googling for something, and then I went to scoopler and actually found better results. Which made me feel sort of 1997. Which made me think “gee, monopoly isn’t necessarily a bad thing”.

  2. Wow, cool, never thought of the wheel as such. I started from a search on Bar Refaeli and never looked back!
    Didn’t manage to find scoopler useful for anything other than realtime search, and twitter search still covers realtime far better (assuming realtime==twitter :-)). But you’re right, realtime is surely a problem for Google, since in many ways it’s inherently anti-Google (long tail means authority is useless, age-based ranking is not useful etc.).

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