Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Google Places -- a new boon to the genealogical researcher

Google announced the implementation of its Places search as an additional feature to the already robust search capabilities of the program. Here is a screen shot of the feature to be added within the next few days:

As introduced, the Official Google Blog stated, "Today [October 27, 2010] we’re introducing Place Search, a new kind of local search result that organizes the world’s information around places. We’ve clustered search results around specific locations so you can more easily make comparisons and decide where to go."

As a genealogist, I am always going somewhere. Usually a library, repository or cemetery. Sometimes even a really strange semi-historical place where my connection is through my ancestors, like Lee's Ferry or Kerlin's Well. As Google notes: "We’ve made results like this possible by developing technology to better understand places. With Place Search, we’re dynamically connecting hundreds of millions of websites with more than 50 million real-world locations. We automatically identify when sites are talking about physical places and cluster links even when they don’t provide addresses and use different names (“stubb’s bbq” is the same as “stubbs bar-b-que”)."

When the feature is implemented, I will check it out and report back on a future post. I guess that a good use for the new feature is locating cemeteries and the surrounding features. But, I can see it working in a number of ways to assist retrieving online information.

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