Using Google Sets to find related terms

Google is always coming up with cool little widgets and technologies. A lot of their ideas sit dorment in their labs, seemingly because they haven’t yet figured out how to make a buck off them yet. One of my favorites is Google Sets. At first, like a ball peen hammer, it’s one of those tools that doesn’t seem immediately useful. But Google Sets can provide you with answers a normal search engine query couldn’t.

It works by inputing series of related phrases and then growing that list to include additional related items. While Google doesn’t provide many details, I assume their using computational linguistics to locate concordances in thier huge database of cached pages. (Google sucks-up computational linguistics PhD’s like an Oreck vaccum cleaner does bowling balls).

Still doesn’t seem useful, you say? Ok, you’ve been grinding away in World of Warcraft and a looking for a new MMORPG to feed your addiction. You’ve already tired of Everquest, Ultima Online, and City of Heros too. Head over to Google Sets, key in those four game titles, and hit “Large Set” (or just click here). Like magic, Google spits back the names of 38 MMORPGs for you to look into.

I regularly use Sets to find products from various vendors. I might want to know what brands of SOHO firewall applicances are out there. What other bands people who listen Tool, Korn, and Godsmack are listening to. Or even what other snakes people who keep ball pythons and red tail boas are talking about. Pretty slick.