Another excellent result...
Google Squared - the experimental web tool that delivers Google search results as a table (because tables rock, that's why) - recently received an update to improve the quality and quantity of data it spits out. According to Google's blog, when it launched this spring, Squared could only include 30 facts (aka: squares) for …
Inspired by your article about Google Squared, I wanted to see what this search thingy can tell me about my home country. Searching for Finland I get seven squares of information.The first square contains an image - a crude map of Finland taken from the CIA World Fact Book 2002. Luckily the facts haven't changed that much since 2002. The second square contains a "description" of Finland: surprising or not, the best description Google Squared can find for Finland are the lyrics to the Monty Python song "Finland". The rest of the presented squares (all five of them) contain all the other essential information of my home country: population, currency, national holiday, the amount of Internet hosts and the amount of television broadcast stations. That should cover Finland.
But what about Helsinki, our capital? Google Squared produces three squares of information; first an image - the kind you find on cheap tourist post-cards; then a description, which is a blob of text mined from the "latest news" section of Helsinki University website and not really describing the city in any way; and finally a square informing that Helsinki was "succeeded by Belgrade, Serbia 2008".
Puzzled, I decided to give it one more try. Let's get our beloved president's profile. "Description" and other usual information is mined directly from Wikipedia and is pretty much correct. But "Place of birth" is curiously said to be Tuvalu, a small island state in the Pacific Ocean! Where's this data come from? Clicking on the link takes me to "Uncyclopedia" (http://mirror.uncyc.org/wiki/) which is a joke version of Wikipedia. But hey, Google Squared takes is seriously, maybe I should too?
I'm sure I'm not the only one who's concerned by William Browne dying almost 200 years before he was born...
If I search Google Squared for "President Birthdays" I get a handy table of information including name, image, description, date of birth, place of birth, etc.
Looking down the list, I see all the well known US presidents - JFK, Lincoln, Clinton, Jefferson, Reagan, Geri Halliwell ... hold on a minute ...
One of the images in these results is not quite like all the others: http://www.google.com/squared/search?q=Robots (slightly NSFW).
While the "spectre" is classified as undead and the "beholder" is an aberration, the "gnome" is classified as a desktop environment. Now that's an IT angle.