Introducing Pinpoint: Google’s Research Tool for Business Investigations
Imagine having a research assistant capable of helping you analyze and organize vast data collections, transcribe audio into multiple languages, and decipher your messy handwriting. Google’s Pinpoint is a free research tool designed for investigative journalists and academics, offering these features and more.
Getting Started with Pinpoint
To begin using Pinpoint, you need to request full access and confirm your affiliation with journalism and/or academia. Upon approval, you can start creating ‘private collections’—think of these as projects or investigations. Each collection can hold approximately 200,000 files, including PDFs, audio, video, images, and web pages. With AI assistance, Pinpoint makes it easier to conduct deep investigations in less time.
Automatic File Organization
When adding files to a private collection, Pinpoint automatically converts them into PDFs and organizes your collection by date, people, organizations, and locations. This allows you to filter documents based on specific criteria, such as creation year, company, person, or geographical region. While you cannot organize files into folders, you can add labels for custom organization.
Transcription and Data Extraction
Pinpoint automatically transcribes uploaded audio and video files into PDFs, with options to playback, edit, and highlight the content. It can also attempt to transcribe handwriting from scanned images, though the accuracy may vary depending on the neatness of your handwriting.
One of Pinpoint’s most powerful features is its ability to extract data while searching through a collection. For example, if you have numerous employee contracts using a similar form, you can ask Pinpoint to extract specific information, such as names or salaries, from the source documents.
Limitations and Future Improvements
While Pinpoint offers valuable features, it is not without its limitations. The filter system can sometimes produce inaccurate results, and filters cannot be edited, deleted, or added to. Additionally, Pinpoint’s transcription capabilities do not recognize multiple voices, and users may lose highlighted text when downloading transcripts as .txt files.
As AI technology improves, so will Pinpoint. However, new features will only apply to collections created after the feature’s release. Despite its flaws, Pinpoint offers significant time-saving potential for document-heavy, data-filled business investigations, especially for users already familiar with the Google Suite.
Overall, Pinpoint is a valuable resource for business investigations, making it easier to analyze and organize large data collections, transcribe audio and video, and extract crucial information. To learn more and request access, visit Pinpoint’s official website.
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