Google’s always coming out with new fangled gizmos. It’s amazíng how many new, updated, or overlooked tools you can find during routine research.
Of course, not all of these are completely unknown. There are probably a few on this list that you know, and a couple you’ve heard of but may not know much about.
Let’s look at a few of them.
1 – Google Reader Sharing
This has been around for a while, but I’m still surprised at how few of my peers are using it.
If you have Google Buzz turned on, you’ll notice when you next log into Google Reader that there’s a section for “People You Follow”. In this section, you can share links – or random thoughts, with all the people who are following you, or a select group, and they can share with you.
Those links also show up on your Google Buzz page. I enjoy getting suggestions from people who know and understand me, and what kind of news I like or need. I also like being able to split my audience into targeted groups of people so I can send them updates just on things they would want to know, instead of the whole fire-hose. Accessing Google profiles from within Google Reader has helped me get to know a lot of people better as well.
2 – Your Google Social Circle and Social Content
Surprisingly, lots of people are dismissive of Google’s Social Search. This was understandable when the searches that turned up social results were still at the bottom of the screen. But recently, Google has integrated Social Search results into the main results, and some social signal data is reportedly already part of their algorithm. This alone makes it worth paying attention to, whatever your experience is with social media.
Besides that, there’s a lot you can learn just from the Social Circle Google has discovered for you, which is derived from how you fill out your Google Profile.
For example, if you’re connected to someone with a common name on Twitter, and you can’t figure out which LinkedIn profile belongs to them due to a common name, Google Social Circle can help with that.
Each person/entity is grouped with the social links that they’ve decided to make public on their Google Profile. True, you can also find this by searching the Google Profile directory, but if you’re looking for several people at a time, this is a heaven sent timesaver.
You can also spot trends of what sites you’re not on that are becoming hot, or figure out which service your friend is using that has the least noise, and thus, the highest chance of contact. The secondary connections section can also help you find new people to connect to in your favorite social media site.
3 – Google Insights for Search
Is your business seasonal? Does your favorite search term reflect this? Has the term you targeted peaked? Are there other related terms you could attain rising in popularity? You can use Google Insights for Search to research all these things.
4 – Google Correlate
Google Correlate finds search patterns which correspond with real-world trends. This might not seem important at first glance, but one thing I’ve used it for is to help local businesses with regional chains decide what local search project to prioritize. Another is to find keyword sets I wouldn’t have thought of on my own, by typing in phrases to see what other phrases they often appear within searches.
5 – Google Follow Finder
Not yet a Google Labs graduate. Plug in your name and see who Google thinks you should follow after digging into your social graph. I like to use it to find more people who are like my favorite Twitter friends.
6 – Google News Timeline
Google News Timeline can help you examine the growth of a story, track mentions of your company in the press over time, or see what’s hot in different types of publications. It can even give you a link you can refer back to later, if you want to follow the progress day-to-day.
7 – Google News Near You on Google News for Mobile (On your mobile phone)
This will add a new section to the mobile version of Google News that will tell you what’s going on in your immediate area. Once you browse to the Google News site on your cell phone, and share your location, you will then get a new section called “News Near You”.
That section will give you news according to what’s near your physical location.
Those are just a few of the new or updated tools and resources for search, news and social media that you can find in Google. Keep an eye on the Google Blog and the Google Labs site for more.