What is Google Squared?
According to the party line, the Google blog, Google Squared is, "an experimental search tool that collects facts from the web and presents them in an organized collection, similar to a spreadsheet. If you search for [roller coasters], Google Squared builds a square with rows for each of several specific roller coasters and columns for corresponding facts, such as image, height and maximum speed"
WebProNews offers a more of an explanation - in part
Google squared is a Google Lab, which takes a category (like US presidents, roller coasters, or digital cameras) and attempts to create a starter "square" of information, automatically fetching and organizing facts from across the web.Semantic Web
Users can modify their squares by removing rows and columns they don't like, or by adding new rows and columns. Google Squared will attempt to fetch relevant facts.
Why do all this? Well for Google, it's one of their contributions to the emerging semantic web - i.e. contextual searches - people - place - subject: or shop, price, mountaineering.
Or, more prosaically, a search engine which trys to figure out the the context of your query and builds a search response around the contextual detail of your subject matter - beginning with, for example, James Cook, explorer, not James Cook, pornographer.
And yes, I made this up - as far as I know there isn't a James Cook pornographer - and by the by, I'm more than happy to remain indifferent to a correction.
Also, for Google, its definitely an experiment, which is why it sits inside their Google Labs space - not quite ready for prime time - lets let people play and make it better.
How do you drive it!
I get semantic search - but right now - I just don't get Google Squared - call me thicko - but, hey , how do you drive it? No doubt I will get there. However, currently, I am taking heart from the thread of a local librarian mailing list. They don't get it either. And that, is, frankly, a bit of a relief.
Being Google, of course there is the video - lets all try it, and see if we get any further.