I do apologize for the negative connotations of the term steroids, but it seemed very apropos considering the awesome power of the search results visualizations emerging from Google Labs.
Google Labs Experimental is offering some fascinating trials. Users can sign up to join one of the experiments and offer feedback. Here is the experiment I chose to join.
Alternate Views for Search Results
See results on a timeline, map, or in context of other information types. With these views, Google’s technology extracts key dates, locations, measurements, and more from select search results so you can view the information in a different dimension.
Timeline and map views work best for searches related to people, companies, events and places. Info view shows all the data found for each result, to help you select the best choice.
I joined the experiment and spent some time playing around with the search views. I expected a crowded screen and hard-to-navigate results. That is absolutely NOT what I experienced. I am in love with the timeline and map views.
Here is a screen shot of the timelive view of a search for Labor Strikes USA.
Here is what that same search looks like in map view.
I think that the visualization of the search data can actually be used as a source itself – to track trends and make generalizations. As a former social teacher I can envision limitless uses of this technology.
Consider joining this Google Labs experiment or another of Google’s ongoing experiments. (For totally selfish purposes I want many of you to join the Alternate Views for Search Results experiment, offer feedback, and prove to Google that these search results layers would be a valuable addition to the Google empire. )
If you want to learn more about the awesome resources that Google has to offer, visit and contribute to my wiki. I know that many of us in the PA DEN make use of Google resources both professionally and with our students. I’d love for you to join the discussion on my wiki page with ways that you have used some of these Google resources with your students or for professional development. When I have collected a good number of responses, I’ll post them here as well.