By Jared Newman | Friday, August 13, 2010 at 10:56 am
Here’s an intriguing idea: Google automatically compiles a massive list of release dates for video games, movies, books and music, and sticks the information on top of relevant search results.
I have no idea whether that’s going on, but Google is at least quietly fooling around with the concept for video games, as journalist Kyle Orland discovered. For instance, searching for “Mafia 2 release date” brings up a date and a list of sources, in this case Wikipedia and VGReleases. I’ve gotten this to work for a few other games, but only when they’re a couple weeks away from launch.
Looking up release dates for video games is an otherwise tedious process. Wikipedia tends to be my go-to source, but the information isn’t always reliable — launches are fickle and subject to change — and getting to the page requires a few steps. Publisher’s video game websites are usually abominations, locked behind age verification gates (do those really work?) and drowned in clumsy Flash. Good luck finding any useful information from the official source.
Because I’m a nerd, I don’t look up release information for movies and music nearly as often as I do for video games, but Google search results for other media would be just as valuable. Google could even take it a step further and build a media database for manual browsing, always linking to its sources so you can verify the information.
Google’s video game release date listings aren’t perfect — in all cases, I’m seeing launch dates for Europe, rather than North America — but I hope they’re a work in progress, and a sign of bigger things to come.