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Google announces new products and enhancements

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May 10 Mountain View, Calif.—Google on Wednesday made several new product announcements and product enhancements at its annual Google Press Day.

Among them is Google Trends, a new product that will help users measure trends by searching Google traffic over time and breaking it out by geographies. "We're giving you the keys to the Zeitgeist kingdom," said Jonathan Rosenberg, senior VP-product management, referring to the company's ongoing tally of search patterns and trends, called Google Zeitgeist. He said it has the potential to be extremely powerful for advertisers. "Imagine if you are an advertiser who wants to understand trends in specific geographies," Rosenberg said.

Another new launch is Google Co-op, an online community in beta testing that Marissa Mayer, VP-search products & user experience at Google describes as akin to a "grocery cooperative."

The goal for the community, she said, is for users to be able to contribute their knowledge and expertise to Google Search. Organizations, businesses or individuals can label Web pages relevant to their areas of expertise or create specialized links to which users can subscribe. Users can subscribe to content and providers at www.google.com/coop/directory.

"Co-op allows us to build inherent verticals in search," Mayer said. "We're excited about what this can do to enable rich experiences in verticals."

The first step in Co-op for Google was to work with partners to annotate Web pages related to health, as well as city guides, Mayer said. Hence the rumors flying in the past week about Google launching a health search vertical.

Google expects that the broader online community will begin building out new topic areas and subscribed links.

Also, Google announced several enhancements to Google Desktop with its latest version, Google Desktop 4 beta. Enhancements include interactive applications that live in the desktop sidebar, as well as something called Google Notebook, which will be available next week. The notebook feature is a link in the search results page that says, "Note This," and when a user leaves Google, they can take the notebook with them and add notes to it and even share it with others through e-mail. "It gives you flexibility on how to organize your notes and do research," Mayer said. "It is addressing the need that you want to take notes when you are searching."

In terms of the future, Google said mobile advertising will be a large part of its strategy. "It should ultimately be a significant business for Google," said Eric Schmidt, CEO, citing the fact that mobile phones currently outnumber computers.

When asked during the Q&A about Google's competition with such companies as Microsoft and Yahoo!, Schmidt said, "There's not going to be a single winner," calling competition good for users.

In addition, Sergey Brin, president-technology, said that Google will continue to look at brokering advertising in other media channels. "We'll continue to try out different media," he said. "I'm certain that we can bring something to the table in these areas."

—Carol Krol

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