Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Google's Search Feature "Thingy's"; Applications that 'Know' You

After some articles are 'put to bed' at FilterBlogs they get a Posthumous Longtail Aperitif; links to related articles published after my original post - towards a better user experience for you, the reader:

March 20, 2010

In an aside near the end of this article, I hypothesize about the way our brains learn through physical activity. Today, while listening to CBC Radio One's Quirks and Quarks I twigged a related story.
From the March 20 2010 episode of CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks in a piece entitled "Train the Brain" (third segment), Bob McDonald Interviews Dr. Kai Miller, a physicist and doctoral student in neurobiology and medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle who is collecting and analyzing brain wave data of imagined physical actions and comparing it to the real actions effects on brain activity.

CBC Radio One, Quirks and Quarks - "Train the Brain"

In an earlier post, "Google Filling Print Media Voids on the Internet", I rounded up some neat "Thingy's" I'd found in Google Search - little virtual machines Google has added - that I happened upon by chance.

Here's some examples from the earlier post:

The Definition "Thingy".
Twitter Live Feed "Thingy".

These "Thingy's" - these virtual machines - are smart; they know who I am, where I am, what I usually search for and what I'm likely to choose from a list. They remind me of the information I used to get from my local Newspaper. With Geo-Location Google can aggregate local info from the world wide web and provide me with useful, local data, much like my daily newspaper used to do.
*I stopped buying newspapers after they collectively dropped the ball on the Iraq War build up.*
Google has replaced editors, layout craftspeople and printers with some very short lines of HTML code.

What are these Thingy's?

Since publishing the earlier article I have been exploring; using keywords like "weather Toronto" to get real time and local info at the click of a mouse. When the clocks sprung forward last weekend I searched "current time" and got this:

*'Yikes', I said to myself, 'I 'd better get to bed!'
My sleep patterns are screwed up since the time change, more than they were before.
The more I think about this EST/DST thing, and the more I think it's original purpose - to make people feel better about the war effort during World War ll [Wikipedia article] - the more I think that now, it's just a way for governments to place themselves between the people and nature.
Such huberus, such self important posturing - like the nukes they have aren't enough.
Why do governments all over the planet have such an insecurity complex? That observation offers a further insight into why they constantly use macro engineering formula designed to divide us with fear of the 'other'.*

But, anyways... Back to the point of this post...

I'm constantly tripping over these little Google machines everywhere I go. Here's a new one I found this morning called, "Results from people in your social circle for Toronto Blue Jays - BETA": (The link should bring up YOUR social circle for Toronto Blue Jays - which might have no data.)

"Cell Phone Apps on Desktop?

Where are all these Thingy's coming from? Is there a place where I can look at all of them and choose? So I decided to dig a little deeper... . Voila! I found this page in Google:

Google's "Search Features"

It took me some time to figure out why these virtual machines are appearing now, but with them all in one place it's apparent they were originally designed to download on your android phone - they're Cell Phone Apps Google has re-written so they work in Google Search - on the desktop.

Across the top of the page are Titles: Everyday Essentials, Reference Tools, Choosing Keywords, Local Search, Health Search, Trip Planning, Query Refinements, Search by Number. They link to 'groups' of these new applications listed further down the same page.

How to Apply these "Thingy's" in Desktop

My Blog is becoming my "Home Page", one of several reference hubs I use to gather all my Internet activity in one place (other's include Twitter, RSS feeds and email). I think my blog is one of the most useful hubs because I know what's here and where it is, because I write all this stuff.
*That physical act of typing - in tandem with learning - wires info in our brains better than other ways we learn stuff like; Reading (somewhat passive), Listening (somewhat passive), Watching (really passive).
Physical action combined with the creation of new mental pathways, creates a web, a multi connected mesh of contacts to an idea. Thus, if I write it I'm more likely to remember a thing because I have created more possible paths to the data, and a way of verify the path is likely correct. If I write it while running along side a crowd of rioting demonstrators, I'm REALLY likely to remember it!

The only thing that 'learns' us as well, I believe, is sport. The key I think, is both writing and sport have a physical element involved in the learning process; sport involves more muscles, more neurons and more brain areas than typing - but any co-relation between the physical, and learning helps map the stuff in our brains as we learn. They are different but the same; for example - it's hard to Google stuff while your running out a two base hit- on the other hand - it's impossible to learn how to read facial expressions in an online social network.*
So, to get back to the point of this post - again... These phone apps for desktop look really handy, so to start, I'm going to Post Google's "Search Features" links in my Sidebar for quick reference; like today's weather forecast...

Then I'm going to the park - it's going up to 16 C (60 F) today - there's bound to be some baseball, a game of 'round ups' perhaps where I can reinforce some happy facial imprints :)



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