InsideGoogle

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Deal Or No Deal Flash Game

Thank god I found this Flash version of Deal Or No Deal (or as Ron and Fez call it, “the pick-a-briefcase game”), so now I can prove I’m not just talking out of my extremeties when yelling at the contestants of the NBC version. This version is based on the UK game, so the dollar amounts are different and the rules are slightly harder, but the central concept remains the same. My first time out, I proved that the network would be smart not to take me, by going all the way and winding up with the £100,000 Euro box (the second-highest possible amount). First person to win £250,000 gets a no-prize.
(via Leenks)

UPDATE: Turns out NBC has a Flash version of the U.S. game. I took a deal for $104 after totally blowing it. So I’m not god. I bet, more often than not, I walk away with more than the average contestant. Or not…

May 9th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 12 comments



Advertising In Google Earth

Reto Meier spotted a sponsored link in Google Earth. You can see it, too, by following these instructions:

  • Open Google Earth (duh)
  • Search for “Wimbeldon, UK”
  • Double-click on the second result, for “South Wimbeldon, Greater London”
  • You should see the ad. If not, double-click it again, when the map has stopped moving.

The ad asks, “Does your local area reflect well on your credit rating?” What a uselessly stupid ad. Google Maps has much better advertising.

Can anyone find any more ads?

I found some more. Search for “New York hotel”. Every single result has an ad, in some cases for booking at the very hotel you’re looking at (good ad), for other hotels in the area (great ad) and hotels in other cities (stupid ad).
(via Emad Fanous)

May 9th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Google Maps, Google Earth, Products, Services, Advertising, General | 2 comments

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Google Book Search Blog

Google has started a blog for Google Book Search, called “Inside Google Book Search“. This makes six Google blogs that use “Inside Google”. If Google wants to use the name InsideGoogle exclusively, I’d give it to them, in exchange for a business relationship :-)

But seriously, Andy Beal says this on his blog:

Now the big question; can Nathan claim copyright infringement for using “Inside Google”? He did get there first.

I would love to know what the law on this is, not to enforce it, but in case someone tries to sue me. I’ve been publishing under the InsideGoogle tag since August 17, 2004, which should give me some claim on the name, and that it doesn’t cause confusion with the Google brand. Hell, I have several blogs using the Inside{topic} format name. Maybe I should sue other blogs with that prefix!

Funny, the old InsideGoogle LiveJournal site has had eight new posts since I abandoned it on Christmas Day, 2004.

May 9th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | one comment

Yahoo and Google Come Up Big In Webby Awards

Google and Yahoo came up big in this year’s Webby awards, winning both Webbys and People’s Voice awards.

Google picked up both the Webby and the People’s Voice award in the Best Visual Design - Function category, thanks to Google Earth (Google Maps and Yahoo’s Flickr were also nominated). Google Earth also swept both awards in the Broadband category, while Google Maps swept both awards in the Services category (Google’s Writely was also nominated). Google Maps was nominated for the Travel category.

Yahoo had won the People’s Voice award for Best Home/Welcome Page, with MyYahoo, the Webby award for Best Navigation/Structure with Flickr, and Yahoo Podcasts won the Webby for Podcasts. Yahoo Finance was nominated for the Financial Services category, their Kevin Sites’ Hot Zone was nominted under News, and their Flickr was nominated for Social Networking.

The most interesting category was Best Practices. The Webby winner? Yahoo’s Flickr. The People’s Voice winner? Google Maps. The other nominees? Google’s Writely, Ask’s Bloglines, and Technorati.

Microsoft’s Xbox.com was nominated in the Community category.
(via Digg)

May 9th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Google Earth, Ask, Google Maps, Yahoo, Microsoft, General | no comments

Google / Da Vinci Code Quest #23

Today’s Quest is a Geography Challenge.

That means HELL ON EARTH!

So, other than having the copyright notice on the other side, assembling the map is easy, as usual. As for the question, if you don’t know what the most famous painting in the world is, quit now, you idgit. The first eight Cinqufoil icons are easy to find, since they stand out so stupidly. Still having trouble with the ninth…

Got it! Now for the question. Could it be more difficult?

Okay, it actually isn’t that hard. I’ll try to help you out: Look at the sequence of numbers. Does it seem familiar? Does it seem to be following a pattern? It is! Think of one of the simplest ways of working with numbers (simplest, after addition, multiplication, and the like), and you might get your answer.

I’ll give you one more hint, but if you don’t want it given away, don’t read this one:
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The next number in the sequence is 16. That give it away?

Today’s was surprisingly easy, given how hard the previous ones have been.

Some other stuff:

A forum poster says that the Da Vinci Code Quest is biased against non-US players, since Book Search was used, and it doesn’t work well outside the United States. Of course, there are workarounds.

Also, did you know that there is a button for the Google Toolbar that points to the Da Vinci Code Quest, and alerts you of new puzzles? Sure, there’s only one day left, but now you can know the second it is activated.

One day left. It has been a blast seeing so many interesting people comign to my website, and I hope many of you will stick around. I’m always posting things worth reading, about Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, search engines, video games, email, and you’d be surprised how much fun and interesting news there is out there. You’ve enjoyed getting the answers here the last few weeks, but I’m willing to put money down that you’d enjoy the rest of the site even more.

Even better, we’re about to start doing contests, giving away free DVDs to the readers of this site. The DVDs will include boxed sets of seasons of the TV shows Dinosaurs, Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Northern Exposure, ALF, and the new movie version of The Producers. With any luck, we’ll be giving out new DVDs every week, as soon as they start to arrive, and you’ll get them as a reward for reading and leaving comments on the site.

So stick around, exciting things are happening!

UPDATE: Full details on the Final Challenge, and advice, at my latest post.

May 9th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 120 comments

Gmail Vs. Outlook

Rakesh Agrawal, President and CEO of Snapstream, decided to experiment switching from Microsoft Outlook to Google’s Gmail for all of his email, including business email. After six weeks, he’s written up his thoughts. Rakesh clearly has access to all of Microsoft’s toys (like Exchange), so the fact that he’s chosen to stick with Gmail says a lot about the quality of service Google offers.

So, how can Google address his caveats? The biggest seems to be an offline version of Gmail, something Google has not indicated it is developing. I think the Windows Live Mail Desktop solution is the way to go, designing a light, yet very well featured desktop email client that is clearly designed to work in conjunction with web-based email, not as a replacement. Such a solution is well within Google’s means, and, because of their less-is-more design philosophy, actually easier for Google than Microsoft.

Other issues: Sending email from other accounts can be handled better, either through using Gmail for Domains or a desktop client. Still, the regular email client can be used better. There are ways to play nice with spam filters while still letting professionals send work email throught Gmail without feeling embarressed.

Mobile Gmail doesn’t need the same features as Gmail, but it has got to replicate the behavior.

There’s no reason Google can’t offer unlimited email storage for $50 a year.

Gmail’s text editor should be replaced by something more robust. May I suggest… Writely?

More AJAX: Gmail should act more like Outlook, with AJAX windows within the client area, so you can open multiple emails at the same time. This would be a hugely complicated feature, but it would make Yahoo and Microsoft look like children.

How can Microsoft match the benefits Rakesh lists for Gmail?

Exchange Online: Your Exchange server should be able to publish to a Windows Live Mail interface, so you don’t need a client all the time. If Gmail can handle POP3 accounts, there’s no reason Exchange shouldn’t do web-based email.

Remove the clutter: Give me a better Outlook “Today” screen, containing all my unread email and events, ao I can read it, and be able to handle all this work from a single screen. While I need the full power of Outlook, I should be able to see and work on everything from one clean screen.

Spam filtering needs to get serious.

The other issues have been resolved for Outlook 2007, mostly. So, what do you think? If you have a team of world-class programmers and a huge budget, what would you have them do to Gmail, or to Outlook?

May 9th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Services, Microsoft, Gmail, Email, General | 12 comments



Gmail Chat Notification Sounds

Download Squad points out a problem in Gmail Chat: When you receive a new IM, since it is in a browser window, if you are in a different window or tab, you may miss it. There’s a new Firefox extension they link to, called Gmail Chat Alert, that can help by playing a sound when a new message is received.

I think it isn’t enough. The point of Gmail Chat is so that you don’t have to install new software. If you’re adding a Firefox extension, why not just install Google Talk, which is pretty light by itself? Yes, there are other good reasons why you’d want to stick with just the browser, but I think the notifications should stick to being browser-only. Why not a really tiny popup window that has notifications, and can sit, almost entirely invisible, anywhere on your screen?

May 9th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Talk, Products, Services, Gmail, General | 4 comments