The unknown Google

Arthur Weiss explores features and functions not seen on the Google search bar.

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Organising the world's information

Internet searching and Google have become almost synonymous. Google, however, has moved far beyond basic search since its 1998 founding. Google's mission statement says that it aims to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. In an effort to fulfil this ambition, Google offers a lot more than straightforward search. Google+ is the social media tool of choice for people whose lives circle around Google. Gmail now has over 425 million accounts, Google's Chrome is one of the top three browsers (alongside Internet Explorer and Firefox) and there are more mobile phones running Android than Apple's iPhone iOS. 

Refining search

There are several Google products and services that are not widely known or used. Some of these relate to search - and can help refine or improve complex and specialist searches. Google Scholar ( is perhaps the best-known example providing a way to search scholarly literature and legal judgements. Google Books search provides access to millions of published books, including full-text for many (out-of-copyright) works. Google News includes an archive going back over 200 years, accessible from the Advanced News Search option.

These examples can be reached from the search option list to the left of search results or in the Even More page accessible from the More drop-down menu.  Also on the Even More page is Google's custom search which lets searchers produce their own customised search engine - for searching a specific web-domain, for example. However there are some Google products that won't be found this way. Google Fusion Tables is an experimental feature, launched in 2009, that is now linked to Google Docs ( Fusion tables allows for tables, either uploaded by users, or publicly accessible from the web to be seen visually as a pie or bar chart, or even as a geographical map - allowing for mashups to be quickly created.


Data analysis is the focus of Google's PublicData product, Google Trends and Google Think Insights.  PublicData allows for the analysis of several publicly available datasets from the OECD, World Bank, Eurostat and similar bodies. The tool lets users view, filter and analyse information such as unemployment statistics, greenhouse gas emissions or the number of automatic teller machines (ATMs) per 100,000 adults. Google Trends and Think Insights both allow users to view changes in search terms geographically and over time. The latter combines search data with demographic information on the searcher - and is of particular relevance to marketers researching potential markets and looking for consumer insights.

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