Google Class

GoogleI took a Google class today. Jeff McCaskey, CEO of Aurora Consulting Group, did a presentation on Google’s capabilities at the Jacobs Management Center on Delaware Avenue.

Most people know that Google is much more than a search engine. The depth of its databases, and the sheer speed at which it is able to add to these databases, is unfathomable. The company’s ability to mine this data in various ways has allowed it to produce dozens and dozens of programs that give this capability to anyone with an internet connection. For free.

Example: Type in a UPC code in the search box. Just the 12-digit number, nothing more. Google will figure out that it’s a UPC code and provide all the product information associated with the code. The same is true if you type in just a vehicle’s VIN number. Or a FedEx tracking number. Google can determine the context based on just the codes, do a lookup in the appropriate database, extract the pertinent information, and display it in about as much time as it takes to blink.

One of my favorites was the view:timeline command, which will present information on any subject as a timeline. For example, type “October surprise storm view:timeline” and you’ll get references all the way back to 1900, which is pretty cool considering that the “October Surprise Storm” that I was referring to occurred in 2006 (the articles referring to this storm are categorized in time order starting around October 13, 2006, as would be expected).

Need a quote from Shakespeare? Books.Google.Com/Googlebooks/Shakespeare contains the complete works. Books.Google.Com allows you to search the full text of all books that Google has gotten permission to digitize, and then some.

Finally: Google has created Google 411, a voice-recognition system that allows you to call Google to get the number for any business in your local calling area. It will also dial the number for you. It doesn’t cost a penny, and it’s hands-free.

I find it likely that in my lifetime, virtually every word that’s ever been written down that can be digitized, will be digitized and absorbed into Google’s database. This is a mind-boggling amount of data. I can’t imagine what to do with this much data but I know there are brilliant minds coming up with myriad ideas.

Jeff does the Google lecture to any group willing to make a donation to his non-profit benefit that provides copies of Buffalo Business First to high school students.

Highly recommended.

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