Google Squared launches to lukewarm response

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Google Squared launches to lukewarm response

Google has launched a new analytics tool called Google Squared that presents search results in a spreadsheet.

The launch comes nearly a month after the search firm unveiled the idea for the product. At the time there was talk that Google Squared would rival the 'computational knowledge engine' from Wolfram Alpha, but at the moment Google and initial users have expressed disappointment with the results.

Google Squared is designed to allow users to research a subject without visiting many different web sites. Search results are delivered in a table, which users can then compare side by side.

The tool could be particularly useful to IT departments, for example, wanting to conduct initial research into a new product or a certain strategy.

A Google video showed Alex Komoroske, Google Squared associate product manager, trialling the tool to compare models of hybrid cars. The tool delivered a spreadsheet comparing prices and mileage. But Komoroske admitted that the technology "is by no means perfect".

"While gathering facts from across the internet is relatively easy (albeit tedious) for humans to do, it's far more difficult for computers to do automatically," he noted in the Google blog.

A quick test of Google Squared by vnunet.com shows that the technology has a long way to go. For example, a search for 'software-as-a-service' threw up three rows that would bring no value to users searching for those terms. A search for 'cloud computing', meanwhile, delivered only one row describing the term.

A search for 'EMC' came back with a description of one of the firm's products, and another row with a broader description of the company. A search for 'Microsoft' served up random details on a selection of the firm's products.

Even searching for 'romantic movies', which Google suggested might show off the service, did not really work.

Many of the films listed in the spreadsheet were spot on, such as Pretty Woman, Doctor Zhivago and When Harry Met Sally, but a user of Google Squared wanting to find out which film to watch would not be satisfied.

The descriptions of the films differed between random user comments, to a movie synopsis usually found on the back of the DVD cover.

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