With the advent of Microsoft's Bing, the search engine wars are heating up again. As we all know, the dominant offering - Google - never stands still, and to make things interesting, it's inviting users to help it improve its own products.

Spyglass GuyHere's your latest call to action, an opportunity to try out a beta version of the latest iteration of the search engine, code-named Caffeine. Type in some of your favorite searches and see how they differ, if at all, from what we've come to regard as the traditional Google.  

Of course, Google has a long track record of seeking this kind of crowd-sourced assistance. If you visit Google Labs, you can see and play with dozens of services, online gizmos, Web 2.0 gadgets and share your opinions. It's this style of interactive development that makes Google so different from, say, a more traditional behemoth like, say, Microsoft. (It's also a reason why so many Google services are tagged as "beta" for long periods of time. Gmail just removed its beta designation after five years.)

You may not be able to put your Google assistance on your resume, but it can't hurt to take this opportunity to stay on top of what this incredibly influential company is working on.

--Don Willmott