We blogged about the release of Wolfram Alpha a couple of weeks back, and discussed how it was “cool” but not ready for legal research topics yet. Yesterday, Google Labs released its new semantic search tool called Google Squared to the public. I thought I’d test some of the same legal search terms that we tried with Wolfram Alpha, to see how G2 would do. My initial reaction is that G2 does a lot better than Wolfram Alpha, but probably still something you wouldn’t want to hang your legal hat on.
Here are the terms, and you can click to see the results:
The first thing that popped out at me on these searches was the fact that the order in which you placed the words mattered. We had to change some of the order of the words within the search to get better results. Again, these results weren’t the ultimate answers we were looking for, but at least we were able to get something back and we could then start manipulating our search from there. With Wolfram Alpha, we just could never get that far.
I also plugged in some other search terms that I found on the Law Libraries Ning site. Scott Frey asked Wolfram Alpha about “Justice of the US Supreme Court” and got information on Justice, Illinois, Supreme, Louisiana, and Court, Bern — not exactly what Scott was looking for.
I tried the same search with G2 and got a much better result. It actually gave me names, pictures, dates of birth, and more on actual US Supreme Court Justices.

That is a much better result than what we were getting with Wolfram Alpha.
Semantic search engines, like Google Squared, still have a way to go before being used as a viable legal research tool. In fact, most researchers would say that the original Google is a better legal research tool than any of the new semantic resources.
Go out and give Google Squared a try with your legal (or non-legal) terms and let all of us know what you think of G2.
  • I like the fact that it's customizable to you, and you can save it in your Google account. I did the suggested search on SciFi TV Shows, but didn't like the Fantasy shows being included, so I removed them by clicking the X. I also added Country of Origin to the columns, and added "Australia" to the cell for Farscape.

  • Anyone that would go out of her way to make sure that Farscape shows up on a list, is a truly great person! If you 'x' any of the Stargate shows, then you are my hero! 😉

    Kidding aside, it is this 'tweaking' of the results list and the saving them to your Google account that seems to have the biggest potential value in the long run. Thanks for point that out!

  • Google Squared appears to be similar to my patent application:

    Frankly, I am getting a Déjà vu effect while going through the “Google Squared” application because it appears to be very similar in function to my United States patent application which was filed on April 12, 2007 and as publicly disclosed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on October 16, 2008, when the patent application was published.

    My patent application is titled as “Method And System For Research Using Computer Based Simultaneous Comparison And Contrasting Of A Multiplicity Of Subjects Having Specific Attributes Within Specific Contexts” bearing Document Number “20080256023” and Inventor name “Nair Satheesh” which may be viewed at http://patft.uspto.gov/ upon Patent Applications: Quick Search.

    Google Squared appears to be using at least some if not many of the same methods and systems as set forth by me more than two years ago in my patent application. In fact there are many more methods and systems disclosed in my patent application which I believe will help resolve certain inaccuracies found in current Google Squared application.

    I have issued legal notices to Google through my Patent Attorney in the US but Google has not responded yet to any of my notices.

  • Anonymous

    WolframAlpha is a computational knowledgebase – it doesn't search the web. As Wolfram has explained a multitude of times before, there is no real comparison between anything Google and Alpha.