As suspected, Google released a flurry of new productsÂ Wednesday at the annual Google Press Day.Â Amongst those released were Google Co-op, Trends, Notebook,Â and a new version of Desktop – all of which get back to Google’s roots in improving the search experience.
Google Co-op is a community-based tagging system.Â It is intended to integrate with the search engine by allowing “expert” users (such as doctors) to share their opinions on the most valuable web resources in their field.Â Presently, there are a limited number of categories, including Destination Guides, Health, Autos, Computer & Video Games, Photo & Video Equipment, and Stereo & Home Theater. Another feature of Google Co-op is the ability to subscribe to links and have them appear on your Google search page.Â
At this time it is unclear how Google will determine who is an “expert”, as it seems as though anyone can sign-up and call themselves an expert.Â The concern I have about this is the potential for spamming and manipulation.Â How many crappy “buy-cheap-viagra-now” sites are going to be listed highly in “Health” by next week? Fortunately, this won’t affect regular searches, only those done while logged into the Co-op service.
The next product Google released today was Google Trends, which seems to be an interesting tool for those interested in search and marketing trends.Â It requires no sign-up, and allows users to search for terms and see how often, where, and when the specified terms were searched for over time.Â This could be an invaluable tool to marketers and AdWords publishers, and is a fun time waster as well.Â
The next release is an update to Google Desktop, which features Google Gadgets.Â There are approximately 160 gadgets available to use at this time, with more likely to be added over time.Â The gadgets are kind of like an update to the panels in that they can either live in your sidebar or be pulled out to float above or below your application windows.Â Gadgets configurations can be stored online in the case of a system crash.Â The new releas also integrates Calendar, and includes updates to the Sidebar. Documentation for Desktop has also been greatly improved. Visually, Desktop has alsoÂ been spruced up to look more appealling to the eye.
Google Notebook was announced today, but will not be released until next week.Â Notebook allows users to “clip” text, images, and links from pages that they are visiting and save them to an online “notebook”.Â The notebook can thus be accessed from any computer, and can be shared with other users.Â It will be accessible next week at http://www.google.com/notebook.
All in all, I am pretty pleased with the new Google goodies the world got today.Â I can definitely see Trends being a big hit, Notebook sounds promising,Â and the update to Desktop is likely appreciated by its users. I am unsure of where I stand on Google Co-op at this time; I think I’d like to see it develop more before I formulate an option.