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Photos: The best of Google Labs

Check out what the Googleplex boffins have been up to
By Tim Ferguson, Contributor on
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1 of 7 Tim Ferguson/ZDNET

Check out what the Googleplex boffins have been up to

Google Labs is where Google's latest tech innovations are made available to the public to test and provide feedback.

Some of the apps become full Google products while others quietly disappear from view. Graduates include the web portal iGoogle, Google Desktop and the RSS feed aggregator, Google Reader.

silicon.com took a look around Google Labs and picked out some of the most interesting apps currently making an appearance in Labs along with some recent products that have made it onto the search giant's full time roster.

Shown above is Google InQuotes which uses quotes from stories that appear in Google News on a particular subject. This page compares quotes from Barack Obama and John McCain from the recent US presidential race.

Picture credit: Google

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2 of 7 Tim Ferguson/ZDNET

Another one of the latest Google Labs apps to appear is Google Audio Indexing. This is a search tool for YouTube which allows the user to search for videos that include mentions of a certain term or subject within the audio rather than the written video description.

Picture credit: Google

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3 of 7 Tim Ferguson/ZDNET

Although Google Trends has been around for a while it has recently been used in a new way to help tackle global health issues.

Google Flu Trends aggregates search data around flu-related topics which research has shown correlates closely to actual incidents of flu. In this way, outbreaks of flu can be detected early and healthcare professionals can be ready to deal with the increase in patients.

Find out more here.

Picture credit: Google

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4 of 7 Tim Ferguson/ZDNET

Another app waiting to break out of Google Labs is Google Mars. It works in much the same way as Google Earth, although instead of providing views of the globe, Google Mars offers the surface of our nearest planetary neighbour using images from Nasa's Mars Global Surveyor.

Picture credit: Google

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5 of 7 Tim Ferguson/ZDNET

Canned Responses is an email response system for those who find replying to emails a bit tiresome. The programme sends automated email responses which users can set up themselves.

The system can resend emails replying to common questions - for example, if a user gets a lot of email requests asking for their birthday, Canned Responses will recognise these requests and send an automated response including the right date.

Gmail can be set up to filter combinations of keywords, senders and recipients to generate automatic replies.

Picture credit: Google

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6 of 7 Tim Ferguson/ZDNET

One of the more novel apps recently seen in Google Labs is Mail Goggles - an application designed to stop you sending emails that maybe you shouldn't.

If, for example, you set the application up to work on a Friday night - when many people have had a few drinks - it will ask you several maths questions before letting you send the message. The aim of the app is to make sure you're thinking clearly enough to send the email and thus prevent any drunken missives reaching bosses and ex-loves only to be regretted in the sober light of the next day.

Picture credit: Google

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7 of 7 Tim Ferguson/ZDNET

It was only a matter of time before Google got involved in the virtual world scene and sure enough it introduced Lively to Labs in July.

Lively allows users to bring in content from other parts of the internet - such as photos and videos - as well as embed their Lively area into a blog or social networking site.

At Lively's launch, Niniane Wang, Google's engineering manager for the project, said: "It's integrated with the internet. It's not an alternate destination. Our intention is to add to your existing life."

Unfortunately for Google, it seems not many other people agreed with this and it was announced recently that Lively will shut down by the end of the year.

See what other virtual worlds are looking to make an impact here.

Picture credit: Google

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