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Google Experiments 186

Posted by Hemos
from the mad-mad-scientists dept.
gafferted writes "The boffins at google have been experimenting with new toys, such as Keyboard Shortcuts and glossary, but most fun is Google Sets. Try "green, purple, red" to get a set of 40 different colours. Try a set that contains both Richard Stallman and Bill Gates, see what google associates with Slashdot or ask for a set of rude words."
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Google Experiments

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  • by Zeddicus_Z (214454) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @08:23AM (#3564597) Homepage
    ...but you've Slashdotted google!#*(@Q$#^$

    wow.
  • by doc_traig (453913) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @08:25AM (#3564607) Homepage Journal
    ... "Google" and "Jumps the Shark"?

    - DDT

    • Google got mentioned by Michael Barone of 'U.S. News and World Report' on 'Fox News with Brit Hume' last night. (Brit pointed out that it's an EXCELLENT Search Engine.)
      If that's not 'jumping the shark', I don't know what is...

  • Google Blog (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nob (244898) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @08:26AM (#3564608) Homepage
    If you're a huge Google fan (and aren't we all) check out Google Weblog [blogspace.com]. They had this story 2 days ago, plus they keep you up to date on other cool Google happenings.

    And no, it's not my site. I just think it's cool.
    • If you're a huge Google fan (and aren't we all) check out
      Google Weblog [blogspace.com].

      One of the links they provided was for info on Google's new Find Anything [bbspot.com] service...check it out.

      (Smiley captioning for the humor-impaired: sed "s/out./out. :-)/g")

  • Amazing! (Score:1, Troll)

    by phunhippy (86447)
    I put in: Slashdot & penis and it bombed!!

    :)
    • /. and penisbird would have been more appropriate. I'm waiting for poor lil lab1 to come back up so I can try natalie portman and hot grits myself.
  • Great... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Nachtfalke (160)
    The one time I actually want to read what the story's about, and the webserver is down...
  • See here [google.com]. Who wouldn't want to be a Forward Observation Officer in the navy? :)
  • I work at a place that is kind of touchy about content served up to those who signed the agreement to be allowed online, and that link to rude words I think needs one of the fark [fark.com] "Not Safe For Work" things after it.

    Yeah, the thing doesn't link to boobies, but grepping for incoming text vs. grepping for inbound boobies is a tad easier for log generation.

    Besides, I thought rude words just involved being insensitive, not foul.
    • by arkanes (521690) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [senakra]> on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @10:26AM (#3565184) Homepage
      I think you may be the coolest person I ever met, because you used the phrase "grepping for inbound boobies". I need a bumper sticker of that or something.
    • I work at a place that is kind of touchy about content...
      Besides, I thought rude words just involved being insensitive, not foul.

      sheesh. Don't be such a fucking chicken.

    • I've never understood the NSFW thing on fark. Do you actually work somewhere where it's OK to surf fark and slashdot but it ISN'T ok to see a nipple here and there? Everytime someone forgets the NSFW bit on fark, theres people bitching (biatching, rather) about how fark got them in trouble for linking to porn... I find it hard to imagine a boss saying "it was ok you were wasting time on fark, but you'd better not be looking at porn!".

      (I work somewhere where fark AND porn are ok. as long as shit gets done, i'm free to use the t1 as I see fit... if only the pay was decent it would be a perfect job!)

      Also, my slashdot ego demands I point out that I mentioned this on [slashdot.org] slashdot before the story was posted. (a friend sent me the link from k10k)

      Also, also, I think there's something wrong with slashcode... The preview comment page shows this comment dated Tuesday May 21, @05:00PM and the comment I'm replying to dated Wednesday May 22, @05:27AM. That can't be right. (It's currently 10:15am, Wed 5/22... We'll see what the posted timestamp says)
      • Do you actually work somewhere where it's OK to surf fark and slashdot but it ISN'T ok to see a nipple here and there?

        No, probably not. I work in a similar place, and would appreciate a similar caveat.

        Most of the time, a few four letter words or off color jokes are fine. Nobody scans the content of every page that comes thru the proxy.

        But if they decided they needed something to use against us, or if we somehow ticked off the BOFH, then we're hosed.

    • Speaking of boobies (and I do like to speak of boobies), I was impressed by Google's completion of the set "hooters, knockers, fun bags":

      Google on boobies [google.com]

      That's pretty impressive! I think it could pass the Turing test!
  • by gdav (2540) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @08:27AM (#3564620)
    I am in awe.

    I fed it Hugh, Pugh and Barney Mcgrew - and it gave the right answer.

    It can't be far from becoming self-aware.

    george

  • Google rules. I really like the keyboard shortcuts they've implemented. Having them at my disposal may make me use Mozilla more often on my Mac -- at least until OmniWeb has W3C DOM support up to snuff.
  • by GigsVT (208848) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @08:29AM (#3564627) Journal
    No wonder it is still beta, it associates Rob Malda with RMS and Bill Gates!

    Richard Stallman
    Bill Gates
    Linus Torvalds
    Larry Wall
    Bruce Perens
    Eric Raymond
    Steve Jobs
    Brian Behlendorf
    Chris Dibona
    Larry Augustin
    Rob Malda
    Michael Tiemann
    Randal Schwartz
    Jamie Zawinski
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @08:30AM (#3564631)
    "see what google associates with Slashdot or ask for a set of rude words."

    Google assiciates rude words with Slashdot, but i think the sysadmins were typing them in manually for each query i made while their servers were grinding to a slasdotted halt.

  • just when I wanted to enter the set : Natalie Portman, hot grits, petrified.

    If someone gets through, please post the results.

  • I typed: luke, han, leia and chewie and I got all the other charcters including minor ones like admiral ackbar !!! Now if only it wasn't /.ed maybe I could get Star Trek characters :)
  • other LABS servers (Score:5, Informative)

    by phunhippy (86447) <zavoid@gEINSTEINmail.com minus physicist> on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @08:31AM (#3564636) Journal
    It seems that in addition to labs1

    there is also labs.google.com
    labs2.google.com
    labs3.google.com

    labs front page works(right now) the rest don't, and links off of labs, try to go to labs1 and crash and burn...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    looks like googles slashdotted, someone find a cache of the page on google!
  • Google -- slashdotted... O my God.

    What? It's not in Google's cache!

    I guess we need an alternative search/caching engine for this very case...

    ;)
  • Very Impressive (Score:5, Informative)

    by nemesisj (305482) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @08:41AM (#3564678) Homepage
    I spent a couple hours playing with google labs last night and one of the most impressiev things (to me) was how I put in 3 bands:

    Nirvana
    Alice in Chains
    Pearl Jam

    and received one of the most accurate lists of other grunge and hard rock/heavy bands back that I've seen. To be able to build such a list on something as subjective as music is very impressive, and shows you just how good the quality of google's algorithms are.
    • To be able to build such a list on something as subjective as music is very impressive, and shows you just how good the quality of google's algorithms are.

      not that it's not impressive, but i think there is both a lot of info around the web to group music by, and it is well-categorized by all the people who want to identify themselves by their music choices.

      amazon suggests some really interesting music and books for me, and they have a lot less to go on.

      russ
      • Re:Very Impressive (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nemesisj (305482)
        Maybe I should have clarified a little more. Amazon's suggestions never work for me, because I like old school, early nineties grunge and they figure that music sort of falls into "heavy" and "not heavy" categories. So I'm constantly reccomended stuff by Metallica, System of a Down, Primus, etc which are all heavy bands, but which don't fit the particular vein of heavy music I like. Google also made the jump to returning Godsmack, which is a newer hardcore band with a lot of grunge fundamentals (which I like) and Tool, and artsier, more emo-influenced heavy band, but still with grunge influences and ties. I don't think Godsmack would ever refer to themselves as grunge, but the connection exists, and google figured it out. Extremely impressive - after all, this is a highly subjective subject area, but one that still has some overall generalizations to it.
        • I like old school, early nineties grunge

          You know you're old when people referring to the early nineties as old school makes you roll your eyes...


    • I'm convinced that Google will become a giant AI. Google Sets seems like a small step towards machine understanding. The problem with older AI was bootstrapping their knowledge base. The Google AI systems will use the entire internet as an encyclopedia of self-correcting, peer-reviewed, continually-updated "facts". Suddenly, the problem of manual data entry for a AI system like Open Cyc [opencyc.org] is massively parallelized to the entire population of web users! Of course, the web is full of lies and self-promotion, but the web contains multiple voices, multiple "truths", that will create a general consensus using Google's PageRank algorithm.

  • Catalog Search (Score:5, Informative)

    by DeadBugs (546475) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @08:51AM (#3564714) Homepage
    Also try the beta for Google's Catalog Search [google.com]
  • Damn, seems the page has been Slashdotted. No biggie, I'll just check out the Google cache...

    Oh..wait...
  • Goodbye, everything (Score:4, Informative)

    by seanmeister (156224) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @09:01AM (#3564744) Homepage
    From the Google Labs FAQ [google.com]:

    5. What happened to that cool thing I was playing around with last week?

    The prototypes on Google Labs are meant to be low maintenance experiments. If one disappears it may be because no one was interested enough to use it, it wasn't stable enough for users to try it out, or it was so wildly successful that heavy usage brought the server to its knees. While that particular application may not reappear, there should be something equally interesting to replace it shortly.

    So after today's /.ing, are they going to replace the entire lab site?

    • Earlier in the FAQ:

      3. What will happen to these experiments over time? That depends in part on you. Your comments and the feedback from other users could elevate a project to consideration for integration into Google.com. Other demos may disappear and never be spoken of again.

      Might be worth telling them (on their Google Boards dedicated to the labs) that we actually like it and just don't abuse it for fun.

      Or perhaps that's just what we're doing. :)
  • by WebMasterJoe (253077) <joe@noSpAm.joestoner.com> on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @09:03AM (#3564756) Homepage Journal

    I discovered the voice search yesterday (and submitted it but was rejected... but that's not the point). It was pretty fun - since it's slashdotted, though, I'll mention that it worked for me: when I said "The Simpsons," it gave results for "The Simpsons" and "The Sims," which is understandable. Somebody else did a search for "ISDN" and got results for "ISDN" as well as "ISBN." The last search was for "Corvette," which gave a lot of results that contained "Court of" in the title, but the sidebar on the right (the paid sponsors) had links to Corvette sites.

    So, bookmark that site and someday in the future, when it is not slashdotted, try the voice search! It's not a toll-free number, but the coolness factor is well worth it. I don't know where it would be really useful (you still need a web browser to view the results), except in the case where you know how to pronounce a word but not how to spell it.

  • Keys... (Score:2, Funny)

    by mbbac (568880)
    If Google were smart they'd use the w, a, s, d keys instead of i, j, k, l. My fingers automatically go to wasd after many, many games of Quake 3 -- and many other games using the same engine. :)
    • They must have thought of azerty [alizesonline.com] keyboard users.
      Afaik, i,j,k,l are at the same place on every keyboard.
      • They must have thought of azerty keyboard users. Afaik, i,j,k,l are at the same place on every keyboard.

        MY guess is that they picked i, j, k & l since they are the cursor keys in vi. These days all keyboard have a numeric keypad, with cursor keys, way back when this wasn't always the case...

        Al.
        • My guess is that they are lefties. Some of us use the mouse in our left hand, keyboard in the right. Most of the time I end up with simple cursor keys when doing this, but ikjl gets you more surrounding keys for when you need to bind tons of things.
        • The cursor keys in VI are hjkl!

          I too, would prefer awsd ;)
        • MY guess is that they picked i, j, k & l since they are the cursor keys in vi.


          That's h, j, k, & l to you, buddy. 'i' is used to enter insert mode.

    • I posted the following to the google.public.labs.keyboard-shortcuts [google.com] newsgroup:

      First, I think this feature is great!

      It looks like almost everyone has a different preference for navigation keys. Would it be possible to personalize the navigation keys? Perhaps you could have a form for the user to match each feature to a key and then save the settings to a cookie. I personally found the current configuration to be ok, but I would be more comfortable with other layouts I've seen suggested like VI or the 3D shooter default of WASD. Perhaps you could just have 5 layouts and a user could pick the one they like the most?

      Also, I second the motion mentioned in another post to allow opening in a new window. How about shift-enter to open the link in a new window and shift-C to open the cached article in a new window?

  • In the spirit of automated classification and machine learning, I
    tried searching for a set containing "boosting", "SVM" and "bagging"
    (without "bagging", nothing new is found; another problem).

    Results: "SVM", "Bagging", "Boosting", "stacking" and "Other methods".

    Clicking on either of the 2 new links ("stacking" or "Other methods")
    takes me to the normal Google search on the term. This is of course
    not useful -- I need the terms in the machine learning context, which I
    cannot get.

    Especially in the case of "Other methods", it would be nice to be able
    to get to the page Google had in mind...
  • by Erasmus Darwin (183180) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @09:09AM (#3564785)
    When I played with this yesterday, I noticed that the "small set" option has a tendency to turn up no results on certain queries that return a few replies for the "large set" option.

    For example, try entering "Frank Welker", "Don Messick", and "Maurice LaMarche" (all cartoon voice actors). Under "small set", you get back nothing but a failure page that implies you need to change the terms to get results. The failure page doesn't even have the "expand your search" link that successful small set searches have. But if you use "large set", you get back 3 additional items (well under the 15 item set limit of a small set).

  • amazing (Score:3, Funny)

    by Drath (50447) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @09:21AM (#3564846)
    Wow I entered Natalie Portman into google sets and i got 'hot grits' back!
  • Now you can connect him with everything in the universe.
  • Great idea, but odd key choices, IMO. Why not go with popular key sets like the vi-style keys or emacs-style keys, or better yet: make it user configurable?
  • Most of the Google enhancements I have seen work only with Microsoft Internet Explorer. Since I switch among browsers as appropriate I find this annoying, as well as against the spirit of the Net.

    I can only hope that if AOL switches to Mozilla as their core code, and Google starts seeing millions of Mozilla hits, they might rethink this decision.

    sPh

  • The idea is cool, but they should have used the vi keys instead. "I" means up? Yuck, everyone knows that's the insert key.. "K" means down? How ubout "K" means up like it's supposed to. C'mon, the vi keys are an accepted standard.
  • I'd be pretty damn mad if my project got the slashdotting that this has brought down on labs1.google.com...

  • Where the future is being made today!

  • Anyone tried putting Kevin Bacon in a sets query. I would but the site is slashdotted...
  • I'm serious. They're desperately trying to come up with a way of making money that isn't going to completely alienate their users.

    They're clutching at all sorts of straws - google answers [slashdot.org] for example.
    • They're desperately trying to come up with a way of making money that isn't going to completely alienate their users.

      They're clutching at all sorts of straws - google answers for example.

      Google seems to me to be one of the most successful advertisers on the net. While they may not use evil pop-under ads [x10.com], they have the AdWords [google.com] system. Just because the ads aren't obtrusive, doesn't mean they're not there. I regularly use their ads to find online retailers for special-interest items, and like their search results, their ads tend to be very well-targeted to potential customers. I would not be at all surprised to find that Google makes a significant profit.
  • Hey, free speech is great and all, but what's up with the rude words at the end of that submission? Please... I'm sure at least 50 other people submitted this story in a way that's not offensive to many people. I hope everyone got their giggles out of it.

    jason
  • Predicted Items --------------- Slashdot Kuro5hin Techdirt freshmeat The Register Linux org Linux Today Crack RC5 Van's Hardware osOpinion Debian Google Linux com Linux Journal Linux Gazette LinuxWorld Linux International NewsForge Linux Start tclug LinuxLinks com Linux Magazine Linux Magazin Linux Newsletter LinuxFocus Sys Admin Apache Week LinuxPlus Linux Post LinuxTone com Linux Berg Linux Ticker USA Today The Reg Segfault Linux Power Penguin Magazine MozillaZine KDE News SourceForge advogato news com Gnome News Kernel Traffic The Onion
  • The Google Labs Terms of Use [google.com] state:

    You also agree that you will not use any robot, spider, other automated device, or manual process to monitor or copy any content from the Site. (emphasis mine)

    Does it mean that revisiting the site is forbidden?
  • by guttentag (313541) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @02:21PM (#3566839) Journal
    At the moment, http://labs.google.com/ [google.com] is displaying this:
    Thanks for your interest in Google Labs.

    The lab is temporarily closed as we deal with an experiment that got slightly out of hand. Nothing to be concerned about, really. All of our engineers are perfectly safe and there was never any real danger of it escaping into the wild.

    Please check back in a few hours. Everything should be back to normal then and science will march on once again. We appreciate your patience.

    I assume they've sent someone to fetch Stephen Wolfram [slashdot.org] so science may continue.

    This makes me wonder what Google will be like 10 years from now. Will they accidentally release a Lawnmower-Man-like entity onto the Internet and then categorically deny everything? Will they have to contribute to a special SuperFund for Internet pollution? Will we see cartoons of Men In Black spray-burning suspicious goo off the Google logo?


  • Here's a funny list of misspelled Google searches for "Britney Spears". Google was able to automatically spell-correct all of them. :-)

    Britney Spears [google.com]
  • Google Labs [google.com] now has a disclaimer explaining what has gone wrong:
    Thanks for your interest in Google Labs.

    The lab is temporarily closed as we deal with an experiment that got slightly out of hand. Nothing to be concerned about, really. All of our engineers are perfectly safe and there was never any real danger of it escaping into the wild.

    Please check back in a few hours. Everything should be back to normal then and science will march on once again. We appreciate your patience.

    Good to know that there was no real danger! Sounds like a close call, though.
  • From the Google Labs page [google.com]:

    Thanks for your interest in Google Labs.

    The lab is temporarily closed as we deal with an experiment that got slightly out of hand. Nothing to be concerned about, really. All of our engineers are perfectly safe and there was never any real danger of it escaping into the wild.

    Please check back in a few hours. Everything should be back to normal then and science will march on once again. We appreciate your patience.
  • I'm guessing that Google sets could work something like this.

    Each query phrase produces a set of documents, i.e. web pages. The intersection of those sets gives a small set of docs which is pretty much the same thing that a normal google query (or any search engine) will return, if all the queries are ANDed. Then the new feature is to find the intersection of all the terms from all the docs in the doc-intersection set. That is, return all the terms that are common to all the docs.

    e.g. in pseudo-code: Assume
    - G is the normal google search engine.
    - G.query("search phrase") returns a set of references (URLs) to docs, e.g. {u1, u2, u3, ...}.
    - u.terms() returns a set of all the words contained in the doc referenced by u, e.g. if u=="http://slashdot.org", then u.terms() == {"news", "for", "nerds", "slashdot", etc.}.
    - * is a set intersection operator.
    s1 = G.query(q1); s2=G.query(q2); s3=G.query(q3); ...
    docSets = s1 * s2 * s3 * ...; // so docSets contains the URLs of the docs that have all the query terms
    ws = docSets[0].terms(); // ws will contain the running intersection of the set of words in all the docs
    forall url in docSets { ws = ws * url.terms(); }
    return ws;

    So my guess is that ws is the final set of terms returned by the google set. Of course, the words should be sorted by some meaningful metric, e.g. frequency. This is all very easy to implement and can be done very quickly, because finding the document set intersection and the word set intersections can be done very quickly using sparse vectors to represent word or document vectors.

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