We at What We Now Know always liked Google as a search engine; it's just so much better than Yahoo. The news page is more extensive, the searches more efficient, and the gambler in our brains just loves to play with the "I feel lucky" button. But now Google has gone into overdrive--with new, free functions that you should definitely know about.

For one, there is the priceless
Froogle that--upon entry of search keywords--lists everything related that money can buy. For example, typing in the title of Doug Casey's book "Crisis Investing for the Rest of the '90s" (which is out of print and not available on, within seconds Froogle came up with 56 matches, 13 of them confirmed, i.e. a dead ringer. Froogle not only shows the exact link, it also provides the price, a function to compare prices, and additional information on the product. It lets you determine a desired price range ahead of your search, or sorts your search results in various ways. Net shopper's paradise.

Not new, but still helpful is Google's
News Alert function, whether you want to stay updated on the development of a news story, monitor a competing company or industry, or keep tabs on your favorite sports team. Whenever news is out on your topic, Google will inform you per email alert. A very useful little gadget.

But the "killer app" out of the Google Labs is unequivocally the new
Desktop Search. Forget the lame search function on your computer that takes forever to find files or folders you have misplaced somewhere on your hard drive, and then only comes up with results if you happen to remember the more or less exact name of the file. The free software Google offers takes less than a minute to download and turns your hard drive into an open book. If you don't remember the exact title of the file you're looking for, type a keyword and Google Desktop will--within seconds--show you a list of relevant files, including the occurrence of your keyword in the text of the document. If you put a combination of search terms in parenthesis it will find only those documents, and if you put a phrase in quotes, it will find only those documents that contain that exact phrase. And the best: Google Desktop does not only search your regular files, but also your email and recently visited web pages. Nothing short of miraculous, especially for frustrated Windows users.

Let's hope Google Labs will come up with more inventions like this.



"There are many things in this world you could worry about, but there are relatively few things in this world you should worry about."

--David Galland, Managing Editor, What We Now Know


Posted 11-15-2004 12:59 AM by Doug Casey