By Jami Miedema

It’s been a busy day! First, I visited the Smithsonian in Washington DC, then it was overseas to the Palace of Versailles, and finally my tour ended at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. All of this before 8:30AM! This is the reason I enjoy exploring Google Labs, Google’s first phase of the product development process…you never know what you will discover next. My new find was called Art Project, and it allows users to tour several museums around the world and view the incredible artwork that is displayed within them. Although a number of the prototypes in Google Labs are just for fun, there are several that are useful for business professionals.

Here are a few to check out:

Google Shared Space creates places where colleagues can use idea mapping to collaborate on projects, plan events, share diagrams, and chat in real time.

Google Fast Flip compiles headlines from the world’s major newspapers that can be searched by topic or source. There is even a mobile version for use with the iPhone or Android.

Google Goggles allows Android and iPhone users to search Google using their camera phone. Identify landmarks, translate text, and scan business cards into your saved contacts without typing or talking.

One thing to keep in mind is that the gadgets contained in Google Labs are in beta and may change or disappear tomorrow without notice. However, popular prototypes that receive positive feedback may be refined and integrated into, such as the following “graduates”:

Google Trends ranks the world’s hottest searches by hour. As expected, today’s searches have been dominated by the royal wedding and the NFL draft picks.

Google Alerts sends you periodic email updates on your topic of choice. This is the perfect way to stay current with an emerging news story, keep tabs on your competitors, or track changes within a particular industry or company.

Google Realtime gives up-to-the-second news through a social media feed. See what the world is saying about your topic of interest.

Visit to see what Google considers their playground of new ideas. You may just find one of them beneficial to you!