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Free Hugs, The Second Life Version

This is NOT NOT NOT safe for work, got it?

Opie and Anthony pointed me to this video. Hoo boy did I laugh. The video features the Second Life version of the Free Hugs video, and in perfectly accurate Second Life style, it features a giant floppy penis:

If you never saw the Free Hugs thing, check it out:

I like anything making fun of the Free Hugs thing, because I hated the whole stupid Free Hugs video the second I first saw it. Such a pretentious video, like “Oh, we changed the world, we’re going to make everyone happy”. Blech! With the 15 million views that video got, it could have promoted a charity, promoted helping people who need more than just a hug, but food and medicine, something real.

No, it promoted an album. Hooray. I hope it sold well.

June 13th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Humor, General | no comments

Google Video Now Indexing MySpace Video, Grouper


Just noticed a Grouper video in the results for Google Video, which means Google is now indexing Grouper videos as well as its own, YouTube, and MetaCafe. The index keeps growing. Nice. Google doesn’t play the videos in the search results, like it does with other sites, but I’m sure the extra traffic will make Grouper happy.


Another thing: Click on search results in Google Video, and you are taken to a split page like the one used by Google Images, with Google Video placing a bar at the top with related videos, arrows to page through search results, email sharing, and the page with the video taking up the bottom 80% of the screen. I think a lot of people are going to find this annoying. Hopefully, Google will let you set a preference to turn the frame off.

UPDATE: MySpace Video is also there. Wow!

June 13th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Google Video, Services, General | one comment

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YouTube Leaves In Embarrassing Debug Comments

Chad Upton discovered some comments left in YouTube’s Flash video player that don’t exactly come off as professional. They include:

  • we got meta fuck yeah!
  • showing the goddamn play button
  • The connection just got tea bagged - reset and reload
  • Fuck bandwidth detection script its taking too long or not working so fuck it hard
  • Flash is affecting badly the performance of the ****.com website
  • This feature does not work and crashes the player fix laterz

Probably just something Chad Hurley and Steve Chen left in there many months ago, when only three guys were using YouTube (although there are indications in the comments that it may have only been added recently), but it doesn’t look so good when dragged out for display in the town square. Chad explains the real stupidity:

When you publish your Flash Application for production, you should “omit trace actions” in the publish settings. That way, debug statements will be excluded entirely and you won’t be forcing the end user to download your shitty debug statements that they don’t need and will probably never see.

Yeah, you’re supposed to strip that stuff out. It saves money on bandwidth, avoids posts like this one, and is just good coding practice. I’d never make a mistake like that.

* - don’t 4get to buy cream for that itch we don’t talk about
(via Digg)

UPDATE: Apparently only the first two lines are actually in the YouTube code, the others are past examples. Chad’s post was worded in a way that I didn’t notice the distinction.

June 13th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | YouTube, Services, General | 6 comments

YouTube Rolls Back Part Of New Player

YouTube has undone one of the new features in its new embeddable player, getting rid of the thumbnail bar that would appear every time you ran your mouse over the video. The thumbnails now only appear after a clip has finished, or if you click the Menu button. This is a very good move, because the thumbnails would appear every time you sneezed, and would appear at the beginning of the video no matter what (very distracting, and at exactly the time you’d be least interested in them).

YouTube responded to user criticism, rolling back that feature within a day of the new interface, showing they are listening and care if people really hate a new feature. It was kind of annoying, and I’m glad to see it work this way. I still don’t like the way the thumbnails rip off Apple’s dock feature, and in a way that makes it kind of hard to browse (too sensitive), but they seem committed to improving it, so I wouldn’t be too worried.

Garrett at ZDNet says he thinks Google might introduce sponsored videos into the related videos section, giving them a new revenue source for YouTube. Not a bad idea.

June 13th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | YouTube, Services, General | one comment

Weird Editing On Google Jobs Videos

Philipp points out some Google promotional videos put out by Google Jobs to entice people to work at Google. As he notes, the editing is very questionable, trying to fake some sort of reality show quality on studio-produced footage (something reality shows have too much style to do). Take a look:

I don’t get it. The camera moves all the time, zooms for no reason. It’s like the shooting syle my friend used the first time he picked up a camera, not something you’d expect from anyone who knows their way around an editing machine. Someone must have thought this was stylish. It isn’t. It’s annoying.

By the way, loving YouTube’s embeddable playlist. I just wish the thumbnails could be below the player. Otherwise, very cool.

June 13th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Culture, General | no comments

Publisher Teaches Google A Lesson

Publishers hate Google, for the most part, because of its arrogant opt-out position on book scanning in Google Book Search. So its no surprise that at the BookExpo America in New York a publisher decided to teach Google a lesson. He went into the Google booth and stole a laptop. Just walked off with it. They waited at a distance for an hour till someone noticed it was missing, then returned it, telling the attendees they were just treating Google the way Google treats them.

See, the publishers are mad because Google scans books without asking permission. If a publisher objects, Google will not scan a book, but without an objection Google does as it pleases. The logic behind the laptop theft goes the same way: Since Google didn’t put up a sign saying “Don’t steal these laptops”, why surely that means it was okay to steal them. After all, they didn’t opt-out!

It’s delicious irony, and if you have any sense of humor, even if you agree with Google, it was a pretty funny incident.

Some people don’t like jokes that make points they disagree with.

Funny thing is, I may be coming around on this whole thing. Lawrence Lessig has a really great post about the whole Google Book Search controversy, explaining this:

Remember (and I did a 30 minute preso here to explain it) Google Books proposed to scan 18,000,000 books. Of those, 16% were in the public domain, and 9% were in copyright, and in print. That means, 75% of the books Google would scan are out of print but presumptively under copyright.

The publishers and Google already have deals for the 9%. And being in the public domain, no one needs a deal for the 16%. So the only thing the publishers might be complaining about is the 75% which are out of print and presumptively under copyright.

I’m not totally convinced, but I’m getting there. Google has not been forthcoming with hard numbers stating their case, and it is their typical arrogance that is more of the problem. Assuming that Google has deals for all of the 9%, and the 75% are out of print in the sense of being old and abandoned (and not just a year or two old and not having new copies made), Google might be just misunderstood here.

And if Google is being misunderstood, that’s their fault, as usual. I’ve never seen a company that seemed to want to give people a reason to distrust it, till now.

June 13th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Google Book, Controversy, Search, General | 3 comments

How Many Videos In Google Video Search?

Google Video now indexes Google Video itself, YouTube and MetaCafe, with more sites set to be added in the future. The real question, though, is how many in total? Haochi tried to find out by running a number of searches, and running those same searches plus a few extra, the biggest number I’ve gotten Google Video to admit indexing is:


However, if you use the site: command, Google divides the indexed videos by site, and you get:

That’s pretty damn impressive. Not a billion videos (and not anywhere near all of YouTube, since I’m sure YouTube has more videos than the others), but a really great start.

June 13th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | YouTube, Google Video, Services, General | 6 comments

Google Calendar Gets Directory

Google has started up a directory of public Google Calendars, giving you loads of information to subscribe to get added to your daily schedule. The Top Picks should give you an idea of what to expect, with an NBA schedule calendar, Netflix DVD release dates, Orbitz deals, and events by Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain. Other calendars include TV show schedules and holidays. Subscribe to them all and enjoy a calendar with way more information than you can ever process!

June 13th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Calendar, Services, General | no comments

More Stuff Running On Google Gears

Since Google released Google Gears, its platform for running web applications offline, there have been a few developments with it. Namely:

June 13th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Gears, Services, General | no comments