Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Google Options

I was excited to read about the new Google Options when I saw the article on Dick Eastman's blog the other day. Dick captured the salient points of the newly added features, but didn't show any pictures of it. I thought to myself "this should be cool - almost everything on Google is cool. And I should blog about it, since I am so desperate for blog fodder"

The "Show options" appears on the Google results page just below the Google logo. I put "randy seaver" in quotes in the Google search box and saw:

The search found 11,300 matches. I clicked on the "Show options" link and a list of options appeared down the left side of the page, including the time frame limits, the results types, the view types, etc. I was really interested in the "Wonder Wheel" and "Timeline" features. Here is the screen with the "Wonder Wheel" for "randy seaver":

Hmmm. That's underwhelming. I expected something flashier, and perhaps more informative. Maybe the search subject is too boring? I tried other people, and even the "barack obama" Wonder Wheel is boring IMHO.

What about the Timeline? I clicked on "Timeline" for my "randy seaver" search term and saw:

Only 41 matches were found. It seems to take the years from a selection of web pages with the search term on the page. The neat thing is that it lists the matches chronologically by the year mentioned. But it seems to make selections (perhaps randomly?) from the matches - I'm quite sure that I have mentioned a date more than 41 times in my nearly 3,000 posts! I'm underwhelmed again.

I clicked on the "Past 24 hours" link to see who had mentioned the search term in the last day - there were 36 matches:

OK, that seems to be pretty useful!

Finally, I clicked on the "Images from the pages" link and it found 3,740 matches with images:

The order of these matches is a mystery - is it almost random? It found my picture I use on this blog easily and put it at #1. The others on the results page seem like a random selection.

While I was reading my Twitter folks today, I saw Michael Hait's tweet about one of Lisa Louise Cooke's YouTube Genealogy Gems podcasts about using Google News Archive Timelines for genealogy and family history. I watched it, and encourage you to watch it too. See Lisa's video at Now that seems to be a really useful tool! Thanks, Lisa!

1 comment:

Lisa Louise Cooke said...

Happy to do it Randy! Google News Timeline is one of those tools genealogists shouldn't miss! Your readers can also listen to a more detailed explanation of the Timeline on Episode 64 of the Genealogy Gems Podcast (in which I also refer to some of your great comments on Source Citations I might add!) Thanks Randy! Lisa