Test the Google Wonder wheel

I have came across this (beautiful) tool during a paper review. It is pretty funny, and a good example on how to visually help a user to express their information need in an Information Retrieval (search engine) system. It is quite like Google Suggest but with an actionable graph showing related queries to a particular one.

In order to play with it, your browser must be up to date. My test is with Firefox 3.5.2.

You enter the query "box", but ensuring Google Wonder Wheel (GWW) will be called. Use the following query:


Note that the code "tbs=ww:1" is the call to the GWW, and the query is "q=box". Then you get a full screen with the graph on the left and the results on the right, I split it:

The graph:

The results:

Then you can click on e.g. "xbox" to expand the graph and get new results on you right. The graph, I omit the results, no wonder there apart from usual good quality results from Google :-)

You can continue on expanding, and as you can see in the pic below, you can go back to previous nodes.

A question: would this really help users? I suppose I have to dig into SIGCHI or SIGIR to know...