Thursday, June 4, 2009

Google Squared and Biblical Studies

Another interesting new project from the Google folks is called Google Squared. What it does is attempt to create a grid of related data based on search parameters entered by the user. According to its developers:

Google Squared is a search tool that helps you quickly build a collection of facts from the Web for any topic you specify.
  • Facts about your topic are organized as a table of items and attributes (we call them "Squares" for fun).
  • Customize these Squares to see just the items and attributes you're interested in.
  • See the websites that served as sources for the information in your Square.
  • Save and share Squares with others.
There are some interesting examples of what it can do here, but I thought I would try some examples related to biblical studies. I was trying to think of some things that might be interesting in a grid, and I first tried listing the codices "alexandrinus sinaiticus vaticanus bezae." As you can see in the results below, it got some aspects correct but missed badly on others.
Fortunately, you can easily delete rows or columns and just as easily create a new row or column with your own description.
It also has a nice feature (when signed in to a Google account) of being able to save the grid. For example, if you click HERE, you can see a grid I generated using various English versions of the Bible. The results seem a bit more apt than my previous example, but there are some strange ones here too. (LOLcat is a textual basis?)
As an another experiment, I tried listing each of the four Gospels and came up with THIS. It does not provided particularly satisfying results. So, using another option with this tool, I started out with an empty square and built up my own grid by row and added columns using suggested parameters. (See the graphic below or click HERE.)
Again, some odd results... a picture of Matthew McConaughey for Matthew and Luke Skywalker for Luke? The descriptions, mostly from Wikipedia, are more often correctly linked, but using the suggested column parameters of Date of Birth and Died provided a very strange mix.
So far this tool has provided some interesting connections but mostly it has provided comic relief. So I tried one more query that actually did return some perhaps insightful results. I typed in "Mark 6:34" and THIS is what I got. It appears to have taken the more significant words from that verse and returned separate analysis for each. That might have some value... (Different verses returned quite different results though...)
BOTTOM LINE: You would probably have to do quite a bit of customization to generate useful results, but some of the returns may be of occasional interest.
If you come up with an interesting query with helpful results, please share them here.
[HT: StephensWeb]

1 comment:

  1. Google Squared appears to be similar to my patent application:

    Frankly, I am getting a Déjà vu effect while going through the “Google Squared” application because it appears to be very similar in function to my United States patent application which was filed on April 12, 2007 and as publicly disclosed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on October 16, 2008, when the patent application was published.

    My patent application is titled as “Method And System For Research Using Computer Based Simultaneous Comparison And Contrasting Of A Multiplicity Of Subjects Having Specific Attributes Within Specific Contexts” bearing Document Number “20080256023” and Inventor name “Nair Satheesh” which may be viewed at http://patft.uspto.gov/ upon Patent Applications: Quick Search.

    Google Squared appears to be using at least some if not many of the same methods and systems as set forth by me more than two years ago in my patent application. In fact there are many more methods and systems disclosed in my patent application which I believe will help resolve certain inaccuracies found in current Google Squared application.

    I have issued legal notices to Google through my Patent Attorney in the US but Google has not responded yet to any of my notices.

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