Sony Ericsson Teams Up With Google

By Coolz0r

Texutally reports that Sony Ericsson has signed a deal with Google that will mean owners of the Sony Ericsson mobile phones will be able to file to a personal blog on the move as soon as they turn on their new phone.

“The company today announced that it will be integrating Google’s Blogger and Web Search features on all its future mobile phones. Owners of a account will be able to file stories via their mobile phone on the move with the included software.”

Darla Mack links to an article on Search Engine Journal and says:

Google and Sony claim to be the first in the US cell market to provide pre-loaded blogging application with a tight integration to the mobile camera and easy set-up for mobile users who do not already have a Blogger blog. Have we forgotten that Nokia’s Lifeblog integrated with Typepad and comes preinstalled on certain Nokia devices?

Indeed, somewhere in 2005 Nokia came up with Lifeblog, so Google & Sony Ericsson are definitely not the first companies to team up and deliver this kind of service. I do however think that they are a worthy competitor to Nokia and Typepad. Any speculation on the next team that will deliver a combo for mobile & blogs.

Cross-posted on Marketing Thoughts

February 28, 2006 by Coolz0r in:

Google News Goes Mobile

By Coolz0r

Google adds Google News to their mobile services. You can visit the Google News with your cell phone, and browse the sizemade news.

From Google’s Mobile page:

Google News for mobile devices keeps you updated on current news articles when you’re on the go. You can access top headlines, browse through news categories, or search for exactly the stories you want — all in a phone-friendly format that’s easy to read and navigate. All you need is a web-enabled phone.

It’s a Beta. Don’t know if that actually means something nowadays.

via [Google Blogoscoped]

Posted: by Coolz0r in:

More On Google’s Legal Brief

By Coolz0r

Gary Price has posted the full text of both last week’s Google court filings and the new government reply. He also posted a new legal filing by the person the federal government has hired to analyse the numbers.

In his post, Gary points to the article about this issue:

The issue has raised red flags among privacy-watchdog groups, which fear that Web sites could be used to spy on Americans or limit their right to free speech. The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging COPA, arguing that Web sites cannot realistically comply with it and that the law violates the right to freedom of speech mandated by the First Amendment. […]

The Justice Department noted that Google’s competitors–American Online, Yahoo and MSN–gathered the information without much trouble when those companies voluntarily complied with similar requests.

Lastly, the government hung its argument on precedent, saying that the right of the government to obtain information needed to present its case outweighed any of Google’s arguments.


Gary posted the full text of Friday’s brief from the feds. (71,9 Kb, PDF)

To be continued.

Posted: by Coolz0r in:

Google’s Privacy Concerns Rejected

By Coolz0r

From Slashdot:

“The Associated Press is reporting that the Justice Department rejected Google’s concerns over a Bush administration demand to examine millions of its users’ Internet search requests on privacy grounds. The department claims this will help revive an online child protection law that the Supreme Court has blocked, by proving that Internet filters are not strong enough to prevent children from viewing pornography online. A federal court hearing is scheduled in San Jose, California, March 13th.”

From AP:

The department believes the information will help revive an online child protection law that has been blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court. By showing the wide variety of Web sites that people find through search engines, the government hopes to prove Internet filters are not strong enough to prevent children from viewing pornography and other inappropriate material online.

The Justice Department submitted a declaration by Philip B. Stark, a researcher who rejected the privacy concerns, noting that the government specifically requested that Google remove any identifying information from the search requests.

Read more on AP.

Posted: by Coolz0r in:

Exclusive Look At Google Payments

By Coolz0r


To see some items on Google Base that are accepting payments via Google go to and search for either ‘xyzzy‘ for a list of items with payments enabled, or ‘magic unicorn beanie‘ for a particular item. The first thing you see is that a price has been set and you can see that the payment method that is accepted is ‘payment through google’. While ordinary users now won’t get an option to purchase these items, we managed to get some screenshots of how the process will look and work.

Read more at TechCrunch

by Coolz0r in:

Social Bookmarking For Google?

By Coolz0r


Google plans to launch social bookmarking, according to an inside source. Sure, it shouldn’t be a surprise (they could just tweak the Search History feature), so the big question is whether it’ll suck.

ValleyWag then points to these links if you want to know more about the rumor of Google Bookmarking & its patent filing:

If a Googler Offers you a Bookmark Manager, Punch Him

Google Tags & Bookmarks : SEO & Ranking Implications

Google: We Didn’t Censor

By Coolz0r

From Neowin:

After much speculation it seems Google were not responsible for withholding a video of the Iraq conflict from US audiences, but the original poster of the video.

The 17-second video presented US viewers with an error message, claiming they are not authorized to view the video. The video shows nothing but an explosion, from quite a distance, followed by a distant cloud of smoke.

A Google spokesperson set the record straight: ” Video uploaders, using Google Video’s ‘Advanced Options’ feature, can choose to blacklist countries. In this case the uploader blacklisted the US and only the US.”

News teams across the world [including The Register, which corrected it’s publication] misinterpreted this as another move towards censorship, after recent controversy over Google’s operations in China.

So this time, it wasn’t Google. It was a non-US minded user.

Posted: by Coolz0r in:

Google and MSN Disagree On Future Of Search

By Coolz0r

The major search companies have expressed varying ideas on how Web searching will evolve over the next few years, with MSN claiming that there will be significant changes in the user interface of search engines and Google contending that changes in the underlying technology will be more important.

ZDNet Australia covers the point of view of the three major search engines very well in their article, go there for some context and MSN’s and Yahoo’s predection. Here’s what Google thinks it’s going to become:

Matthew Glotzbach, the director of product management for Google’s enterprise products, disagreed [with MSN’s Saleel Sathé] , claiming that advances in technology will mean that users will not need to provide more information.

“In the distant future we will not be able to get you to take more action, because we will get close enough with what you give us. A lot of emphasis will continue on doing that in the background — getting the technology to figure out [what you want],” he said. “Larry Page [the co-founder] of Google often says, ‘the perfect search engine would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want’.”

Search technologies are still in their infancy, according to Glotzback, who indicated “we’ve by no means hit the point where search is perfect.”

Read more, click here.

Posted: by Coolz0r in:

High Times For Click Fraud

By Coolz0r

Greg Boser wants to get to the bottom of a blight that’s creating growing concern for online advertisers and threatens to wreak havoc across the Internet: click fraud.

Web consultant Greg Boser has an ingenious method for sending loads of traffic to clients’ Internet sites. Last month he began using a software program known as a clickbot to create the impression that users from around the world were visiting sites by way of ads strategically placed alongside Google search results. The trouble is, all the clicks are fake. And because Google charges advertisers on a per-click basis, the extra traffic could mean sky-high bills for Boser’s clients.

So how do they do it? This isn’t the work of a lone Webmaster with an itchy mouse finger. Software like Boser’s routes traffic all over the Internet through anonymous “proxy” servers scattered in far-flung locales, creating the illusion that visitors are logging on from all over the place, masking the traffic’s true origin.

Google and Yahoo say they strive to weed out all kinds of illegitimate traffic. “Monitoring compliance is a regular activity for us,” says Shuman Ghosemajumder, manager of the Google team that monitors invalid click activity. To stop click fraud, Google uses software to scour Web traffic through its ads for repeated clicks, unusual patterns and visits from anonymous and overseas proxy servers. The program filters out what it deems invalid, and doesn’t charge advertisers. When an advertiser complains about potential click fraud, a special team investigates and determines a refund is warranted, says Ghosemajumder.

Says John Slade, Yahoo’s senior director of product management: “Click [fraud] is a serious but manageable challenge. It’s challenging, and that’s why we’ve built up a system that we continually refine and update for new patterns and problems.”

Read more on Business Week

Posted: by Coolz0r in:

AOL Predicts Growth in Online Ads

By Coolz0r

America Online’s recent deal with Google will improve AOL’s profitability by expanding its reach as a provider online advertising services, AOL’s top executive said Monday.

From Market Watch:

Google, along with Yahoo and Microsoft, are expanding their online ad businesses rapidly, gaining a disproportionate share of the business and luring customers away from smaller competitors. As these mega-firms increase their share of the market, the scale of their operations also increases their profitability, Miller said.

“When you hit a point of scale, which Yahoo and Google have done, fifty cents to the dollar falls to bottom line,” Miller said. “We’re trying to get to that point of scale. That’s why it’s so important to be part of that group.”

(The Miller quoted is AOL Chairman and Chief Executive Jonathan Miller)

by Coolz0r in:

Google Desktop, A Warning To IT

By Coolz0r

Nathan already wrote about privacy issues with Google Desktop’s most recent version, and also about LapLink which lets you access Desktop Search on another machine from a web-based interface without leaving traced on any server, anywhere.

Now InformationWeek is running a two page article about the same topic, but from another point of view. Thomas Claburn:

[…] the uproar reflects the new reality of IT: Users want the same easy-to-use search experience in the workplace they get outside the office, and IT organizations are unprepared to immediately meet those demands. “Innovation happens in the consumer space much more quickly,” says Dave Girouard, general manager of Google’s enterprise division. “For a lot of reasons, applications that are delivered to users in the consumer space have a much higher degree of focus on the end-user experience.” The No. 1 reason: Consumers, especially on the Web, can quickly go elsewhere.

The advantages are obvious: People can access files from computers at home or at work. The disadvantage: Employees can put sensitive information at risk, violate corporate policy, and even break the law in regulated industries.

Yet at many companies, employees’ needs for better desktop search will be more than IT departments can fend off. Google and Yahoo spend countless hours improving the responsiveness of their search apps by milliseconds, and users get addicted to that kind of performance.

Still, some IT teams think they need to move at a slower pace, even if that frustrates users. “We step carefully and slowly into supporting the adoption of any consumer-oriented packages,” Ron Bonig, deputy CIO of George Washington University, says via E-mail.

So indeed, IT carries a responsability too: users are getting used to being served quickly and just. They have the luxury at home that serves their needs and then arrive at the office, where things suddenly go slow and it becomes frustrating. IT departments in all companies should be able to deliver a smooth service too, although that’s not always possible because of the amount of time and devotion that goes into such an app.

Google has many admirers, but plenty of IT pros remain wary about anything with a consumer orientation. “I used to have a boss who said that three guys in a garage can do any IT project in a weekend,” George Washington’s Bonig says. “But it takes a whole lot more to ensure the product can integrate and play nicely with the other components of the IT architecture, be supportable, upgradeable.” That’s a reputation Google hasn’t yet earned.

Read more on InformationWeek.

Google to offer NARA films

By Coolz0r

Google has launched a pilot project to digitize historic films held by the National Archives and Records Administration. The search service plans to offer the films to the public online through its new video service.

NARA’s Web site will also host the digitized films.

“This is an important step for the National Archives to achieve its goal of becoming an archive without walls,” Allen Weinstein, archivist of the United States, said in a statement. “Our new strategic plan emphasizes the importance of providing access to records anytime, anywhere. This is one of many initiatives that we are launching to make our goal a reality. For the first time, the public will be able to view this collection of rare and unusual films on the Internet.”

From and

Posted: by Coolz0r in:

links for 2006-02-28

By Nathan Weinberg
Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

No Raises At Google

By Nathan Weinberg

According to Valleywag, you can’t get a raise at Google unless you get promoted, and you are told not to expect promotions that often. Well, that’s a bit depressing. Considering that there are plenty of people hired at Google after the IPO who don’t have $15 billion, is there something wrong with rewarding people for doing a good job? I guess you need a Founder’s Award to make any more money at the new Google.

Posted: February 27, 2006 by Nathan Weinberg in:

SES NY: Rich Media and Video Ads

By Nathan Weinberg

SES - Rich Media

This next session was both about how companies can use rich media on the internet to gain popularity, and about video advertising on the web.

Maria Mandel from Ogilvy kicks it off by saying that adding audio and video to online advertising increases the impact 2.5 times, according to a study. Most companies think they can just take their TV commercials and put them online. This doesn’t work as well as they’d think. By creating an ad that, while similar to a TV ad, is designed for online (designed for people sitting closer to a screen, having links within the creative), the advertiser saw a 3.5 times increase in effectiveness.

She shows a “You Make The Call” ad Miller Lite ran, where you click the sidebar to slideout a video area, and the user is asked what they want to happen in the ad. Maria says the average user spent more than two minutes with the ad. Another ad, for a car, had, if you moused over the ad, the guy in the ad would yell at you to stop touching his car.

One thing during the whole presentation: the popup blocker and other security features continued interrupting and slowing down the demo. This proves the biggest problem with this type of advertising, and was not acknowledged.

She also showed an ad campaign they ran for Sprite called “Miles Thirst”, where they did a viral campaign inserting this character everywhere. They bought search ads on various pop culture references, with the character commenting on them.

Next up was Dorian Sweet from Tribal DDB. He discusses viral advertising, and how he tried to make a rule that no one could use it, or they’d have to sing the national anthem. He explains how there’s nothing new about new advertising, just that the technology is getting better and easier to use.

He shows a quote from Diderot, written when they were putting together the Encyclopedia. Why were they doing it? Because they thought the world was going to end, and they needed a book to remind them how to rebuild it.

He says there are three types of rich content: Function-generated, like Hotmail, where you give away something for free; Brand-generated, supposedly cool stuff put surrounding a product, and user-generated. He shows the Star Wars kid video, which was a great example of a user creating something great.

He also explains how, when an advertiser creates rich media, they run risks, because like the Star Wars kid, users will remake it, and possible make fun of you. As another example, he shows the George Masters iPod Mini video.

“Brands have to realize they are not the sole proprietors of the message”.

Next up was Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus. He explains how in engaging consumers, there are some things that work very well. Urgency works, getting us to news sites. Utility works, getting us to many Google tools. Practicality works, getting us to Flickr. Originality works, in the case of MySpace, which has captured a group’s own originality. Curiosity works, gets us to see unique videos at YouTube. Technology and Innovation works, getting us to all-new types of portals, like Comedy Central’s Motherlode, which does an extremely successful job of repackaging Comedy Central’s content.

Two notes: Ian used to have Google Desktop Search, and doesn’t anymore. Two, he made a Flickr “r” joke, talking Flickr Voyrs.

He shows stats that rich media delivers content more effectively than traditional advertising, and consumers stick around longer.

He shows off the Sopranos Google Map, which has just launched, and they built. It allows people to explore the world of the Sopranos, including seeing videos and exploring different areas of the Sopranos website and the map. In terms of quality and coolness, it looks excellent, and I suspect will be quite successful, and a model many other companies will copy.

Another successful thing they did, was linking the Sopranos trailer with Super Bowl commercials, which got the trailer viewed well over 100,000 times, and a “Pimp My Profile” thing they did, creating a fun campaign using a character from Date Movie to let people make fun of their MySpace profile pages.

Last up was Scott Meyer, President and CEO of He says that About takes enormous advantage of search engines, having great optimization with all of their enormous amounts of diverse content. He says the rich media ads, while some are innovative, still mostly look like their Web 1.0 counterparts, just are being used by blue-chip companies.

One problem is that this stuff is still very expensive to produce, and vendors are still very fragmented. Search is not well-developed with rich media, making it harder for people to find content. Google’s video is very different from most of their competitors, and it is a closed system, a rarity with Google. Inventory is in very short supply in video ad networks, and the pricing structures are difficult to determine.

About plans to leverage the 500+ Guides they already have, hire specialized video experts, hire brand-name experts with known credibility, partner with advertisers to take advantage of the the medium, and partner with big third-party content providers. They also believe that simply putting an ad in front of video isn’t the best way, and they’re looking for more interactivity between the ad and the content.

Now, after the session, I approached the first presenter, Maria Mandel, and pointed out that during her demo, she had to move around popup blockers and Flash error messages, and asked if she was worried that users are finding ways, like Firefox’s Flashblock, to block the same rich media content, the entire panel is trying to make money off of, and pointed out that the fault for this lies in the misuse of rich media we’ve had for year, with this sort of things getting shoved down our throats.

She made a good point that all users are finding ways away from push advertising, precisely because all of it has being annoying us for years. In fact, we buy Tivos not just to time-shift shows, but to skip the commercials interrupting our entertainment. She believes all advertising is moving away from that model to one that the user seeks out and engages on their own, and thus enjoys, and is more effective, an on-demand form of advertising. I really like that idea, and it made me come away from the panel feeling pretty hopeful about the future of advertising.

A bit of a footnote: Much of the entertainment industry in this country is built on push advertising. If a large portion of the ad dollars moves to on demand, that money dries up, and the things that rely on it, like newspapers, TV and websites, are going to have a hard time in that new economy.


by Nathan Weinberg in:

SES NY: Lunch With The Google Engineers

By Nathan Weinberg

SES - Lunch with the Google EngineersNext up on the agenda: Lunch With The Google Engineers, which isn’t as intimate and cozy as the name sounds (not with hundreds of people in the room). Got my meal and then a pretty decent seat to listen to “Matt Cutts and Friends”. Matt posted an email address for the conference that we shouldn’t post online, so here it is:

Just kidding. Matt singled out Barry Schwartz as exactly the type of person who might do so. We’ll see if he did.

Google’s Vanessa Fox showed off Google Sitemaps, showing us the Sitemaps stats for Google itself. Turns out a good percentage of Google’s pages are restricted by robots.txt, around 15-20%. Matt says that the three most difficult problems for a webmaster are htaccess, robots.txt, and Apache redirects.

Matt advises against stringing 301 permanent redirects in a row, sending the user (and thus the crawler) through page after page after page until their destination. Anything more than five might confuse Googlebot and make it give up on crawling your site.

While Matt was talking about BMW getting banned, Danny Sullivan brought up Google Blogoscoped on screen, with Philipp’s post showing what the problem was. Nice plug for him, I’m sure.

Matt advises against using Google Sitemaps for premium content that is charged for, like when an academic site will show an excerpt and charge for showing the rest.


Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

SES NY: Contextual Advertising

By Nathan Weinberg

SES - Contextual AdvertisingI also sat in the Contextual Advertising session. While I was too busy getting caught up on things to blog the session, I will say this: It is quite clear that there is a lot of dissatisfaction with contextual tools, especially with AdSense. This came up constantly in the Q&A, like when one woman asked why Google can’t make deals with quality advertisers for quality positioning, so that advertisers get spots that make great returns, that they are willing to pay more money for.

The woman said she pays $12 a click to Industry Brains, and is advertising on sites that have AdSense. But since Industry Brains has the better converting inventory, they get the $12/click ads and 25% of her $25 million budget, and not Google, because Google can’t get the good spot.

Why can’t Google get the good spot? Now, this is my opinion, but its because they can’t guarantee anything to publishers. Now, this wouldn’t work for the majority of Google’s network, but for the Premium AdSense publishers, the ones with lots of quality traffic that some advertisers would love to target, that they have even more options, like advertiser targeting, where they can seek out the bigger advertisers, offer them prime spots, and sell them the spots through Google for the high price they are worth.

Or, at the very least, allow an advertiser to set a minimum price for a prime spot, and just show no ads unless they pay that much, and let advertisers know these options exist. If Google could do that, it could reach a wider range of advertisers, and satisfy the larger publishers and the larger advertisers.


Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

SES NY: Today Is Day

By Nathan Weinberg

If Search Engine Strategies New York had been kicked off with a parade, that parade would most certainly have started with the mayor (in a bowler hat) giving Barry Diller the key to city and declaring today “ Day”. Today is the day of the new, with Jeeves dissapearing, and tonight gives us the big Jeeves retirement party.

Barry Diller and Danny Sullivan at keynote

I missed most of Barry Diller’s keynote (damn subway) but I did get to shake hands with him in an almost empty hallway as I waited for the post-keynote press conference, so I felt quite cool. you can see him in the picture, chatting away on stage with (I think) Danny Sullivan.

The post-keynote press session was not really a press conference, but just an opportunity for about eight members of the media to chat with about 15 people from In the room was new Ask’r, Gary Price, who I always enjoy speaking to, even if I haven’t seen him since the last SES NY. Gary divulged to me the top-secret details of Ask’s new satellite mind control network…

No, I got to hear about Gary’s new job. Gary seems to have really lucked out, working at a place that sees his skills as bringing something seriously valuable, which is why they’re giving him freedom. Gary’s employment contract pretty much lets him do whatever the hell he wants outside of his job, so his ResourceShelf and other various sites remain nice and independent. Hell, they don’t even want him running around “evangelizing” and speaking at conferences for Ask. I’m jealous.

Gary’s got a great post this morning about the changes at Ask, so be sure to read that.

After Gary went off to hobnob with the large pile of minions sporting badges (yes, it was a pile, and they were wrestling), I walked over to where Ask GM Jim Lanzone was fielding questions from vultures. I convinced Jim to speak to the reporters instead of the angry birds, and we were off.

But seriously, Jim was basically holding the post-keynote Q&A for whoever was there (since, as an Ask staffer told me, Barry Diller agreed to give only a single interview, which was where he was heading when he shook my hand).

Jim explained there are a lot of big plans for Bloglines, which makes sense, since it is a hugely popular service that can drive people to use the rest of the Ask products. He said they were looking to bring Bloglines information to the front page, like a sidebar on the left side, for those who wanted to use that. He said that they were in middle of building a new blog search product, “all based on Bloglines”.

Jim was asked about mobile search, and said that they are developing mobile search. He explained that one of the major problems with mobile search right now is that “Mobile search is very slow” right now, and that one of Ask’s biggest focuses in developing their mobile search product is ensuring that it renders very quickly on mobile devices.

He also discussed Ask’s advertising. They used to show as many as ten stacked ads above the fold, and now they show a maximum of three. In addition, he claimed that they were they only search engine to show editorial results above the ads (as in when they show Instant Answers above the ads, something Google certainly doesn’t do). A large portion of their ads are served by Google, although they sell their own ads.

Moving onto the redesign, I asked why the new homepage and branding still looks very similar to the old one. Since the purpose of the rebranding is to make people note how much Ask has changed since the bubble days, I figured they would at least change the look, not just the name, but the new homepage has the same red, the same curves (although they’ve moved), and is instantly recognizable as the same website.

Jim explained that they didn’t want to abandon the whole branding. He said Ask’s homepage is more branded than other search engines. They don’t want to overdesign and put too many things in there, and he said, “Red is in our legacy”. Not exactly what I asked, I wanted to know about why the colors and look hadn’t changed, but, whatever.

I also noted that Bloglines looked very different from the rest of Ask’s properties, and wondered whether they would change it to match. Jim said that would not happen, that Bloglines would remain its own service. However, he volunteered that it is possible there “might be a third product that uses Bloglines” as its backbone, running as an Ask service. I found that very interesting.

His last question was where Jeeves wound up going, after the poll on his vacation website. He noted that while Jeeves was going to be at tonight’s party, the voters chose to send Captain Jeeves off on his boat.

I’d like to note that, knowing today was all about Jeeves, in tribute, I wore my “Bloglines purchased by AskJeeves” t-shirt underneath my regular shirt.


Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in: Is Live; Goodbye Jeeves

By Nathan Weinberg

With the farewell to Jeeves festivities taking place today at Search Engine Strategies, has gone live today with its new name and look. Gone is the familiar butler, although the color scheme is the same and most of the page elements remain. The one major difference: On the right side, there is a collapsible box with links to multiple services, including:

  • Image search
  • News
  • Maps and Directions
  • Local search
  • Weather
  • Encyclopedia
  • Shopping
  • Desktop search
  • Bloglines

According to the AP, the makeover will be accompanied by an ad blitz in March, as well as several new features, like the new mapping service which provides both driving and walking directions.

Despite its recent progress, still lags a distant fifth in the battle for search engine supremacy. Through December, Google led the pack with a 40% U.S. market share, followed by Yahoo at 29.5%, MSN at 24.3%, AOL at 8.5% and then, Media Metrix said.

Berkowitz believes’s latest changes will help boost its market share above 10% to surpass AOL before setting its sights on MSN and Yahoo. While catching Google probably isn’t realistic, Berkowitz and Lanzone hope people begin to realize is the only other large website besides Google primarily focused on search.

Ask has also retired the Teoma brand. Its search technology will now be called ExpertRank, and will redirect to

Barry Diller’s SES New York keynote is starting now (I’m there), and you can listen live at WebMasterRadio.FM.

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Investors Want Guidance From Google

By Nathan Weinberg

The Wall Street Journal is running an article on how many analysts expect (or at least wish) Google to break from its early promises and actually provide investor guidance at its first Analyst Day this Thursday. Google has always said it wouldn’t focus on investors before its core business, explaining that they wanted to be free to concentrate on doing the best with their long-term business. While that makes sense, there’s a certain kind of pressure a company can feel after shares fall 27% precisely because Wall Street didn’t know what to expect.

There’s no reason to believe that Google will yield to any such pressures. “There is a cost to not providing guidance and I understand that,” Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said in a Jan. 31 interview following the earnings report. “The reason that we don’t is our business is so dynamic we’d have to give very broad ranges, and I don’t think that would be constructive.”

There is one recent sign that the company aims to be more analyst-friendly. Company representatives earlier this month solicited analysts for input on what investors wanted to hear about on Thursday, according to a person familiar with the matter. The big question, though, remains whether the company will be more forthcoming with information when it hosts analysts at the Googleplex this week.

(via Slashdot)

by Nathan Weinberg in:

links for 2006-02-27

By Nathan Weinberg
Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Google Brin Creator (As Opposed To What?)

By Nathan Weinberg

Philipp Lenssen has created Tony Ruscoe has created the ultimate counterpart to Google’s Page Creator, the Google Brin Creator. You get to create your own Sergey Brin, customizing his clothes just like you would make a Page. I beg you, please read the About page, the Terms of Use and the Privacy Policy, either if you just don’t get it, or if you want a few more laughs.

Oh yeah, here’s my Brin.

Bad oops, getting the identity of the fiendish mind behind this wrong. Sorry, Tony!

Posted: February 26, 2006 by Nathan Weinberg in:

Video AdSense Revealed

By Nathan Weinberg

Google Rumors points me to The Superficial, which has a nice, pretty video AdSense ad sitting all happy on their front page, plain as day.

Google video ad
Click to view it full size

The video is 15 seconds long and only plays when you click the play button, which is thankful, since the video was kind of stupid. You can change the volume. While the video is playing, moving your mouse over it showed that it was clickable, and showed an overlay with a URL.

Google has done a perfect job with its video ad. Any ad that doesn’t play instantly is no problem with me. Hell, it isn’t even animated. The video resembles a Google Video, so any site which posts videos should love these; they’ll get plenty of playtime. I’m very happy with the way Google has done these, and I wish the animated ads were half as good.

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Blog Popularity Is Fleeting

By Nathan Weinberg

Tristan Louis has done an analysis of the Technorati 100, discovering all sorts of interesting things about it. It’s amazing how many big blogs have fallen, replaced by a newer breed. Many of the big-name political blogs have had big drops (Eschaton lost 28 spots, Andrew Sullivan fell 41), some of the original big bloggers have fallen as well (Dave Winer dropped 75 places), and 65 blogs fell off the list entirely.

Oh yeah, this analysis? It only covers the last 9 months. In the time it takes to have a baby, the “A-list” has undergone almost a complete makeover.

Only one blog held its spot, Boing Boing, which is still number one, and will likely hold it for a little longer. Scoble’s stayed pretty stable, an oddity on the list, shifting two spots from 32 to 34. Engadget shifted into number two, while Wil Wheaton fell off the face of the earth, as did Davenetics.

Some of the dearly departed were pretty big in their day, and you hear nothing about them anymore. Did they quit blogging? Did their writing style suffer? Is there a new breed of blogger tearing up the status quo?

Or, is it what I truly think, that the long tail starts now at #7?

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

links for 2006-02-26

By Nathan Weinberg
Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Who’s Breaking The AdSense TOS? Just Search!

By Nathan Weinberg

Threadwatch points out that a simple Google search turns up a list of websites that are likely breaking Google’s AdSense Terms of Service. For instance, one site says:

While we’re at it, better make them all click the Google ads on the bottom too. Anyone else than me noticed that it has lots of ads for Pete Townsend and Rolling Stones? Click it and check out where it leads you. It’s really fun, I’ve tried it!

*Edit by Matt* I click the google ads at least once a day to help out punkdisasters. Each day it’s usually different, just click it, let it load, and close the page, simple as that. Thanks for everything guys, you’re helping PD be the best of the best!

How about this one:

Underneath the archives link are some more Google ads I am trying out. This site is receiving a lot of traffic these days which makes it more expensive to run. I figure these ads are not to bad and luckily they do blend in with the site colors. So, if you want to support the website/ messageboard and help it continue to grow, simply click the Google ads. Thank you.

Or this:

Please visit our sponsors. Click the Google ads and support!

I linked to the Google cache, so as not to give any of these sites any actual backlinks.

These sites are just three out of the top five in the results for a search for ““click the google ads” -intitle:google -intitle:adsense“. We all know Google is absolutely commited to finding out click fraud, so Googlers who are reading, how about starting with those three and working your way down the list?

Any blogger with a decent audience knows the moment you say “And if you care about me, click on my ads”, they’ll get an email from AdSense. I just can’t believe these guys skated under the radar. I know how hard it is to make money with ads; believe me, it took a long time; but if I can’t break the rules, no one else should be able to either. These sites will get their emails, they’ll take down the notices, and they’ll be fine (except the guy who admitted clicking the ads, he’s screwed, and deserves it).

How about an AdSense 101 course for new publishers? We should have a simple list of the stupid mistakes new publishers usually make.

Here’s AdSense 101:

  • Don’t tell people to click on the ads, its not allowed.
  • Don’t run an ad program that looks or works like Google’s on the same page as Google’s.
  • Don’t use garish or bright ad colors, stick with ads that look as close to your content as possible.
  • Don’t use more than three regular ad blocks on any given page.
  • Don’t click your own ads. Actively tell friends and relatives not to click on purpose, since they will get caught as well.
  • Experiment with ad placement. You’ll usually find that the less annoying an ad is, the more likely someone will click it.

What do you think? Should we do AdSense 110 a little later?

February 25, 2006 by Nathan Weinberg in:

links for 2006-02-25

By Nathan Weinberg
  • Valleywag is VICIOUS: “Google plans to launch social bookmarking, according to an inside source. Sure, it shouldn’t be a surprise (they could just tweak the Search History feature), so the big question is whether it’ll suck.

    If it does suck (and you kinda know it will), chances are Google won’t admit it. It’s not like Yahoo, who bought to fix problems with MyWeb. Google just doesn’t do that, because they’re INFALLIBLE.

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Google Starts Payments On Google Base

By Nathan Weinberg

Google has announced that they are enabling some sellers on Google Base so that customers can buy the items right there, through Google’s system. For now, the program is only for “a very small number of sellers”, according to the Google Base blog, but will eventually be for everyone.

For buyers, this feature will provide a convenient and secure way to purchase Google Base items by credit card. For sellers, this feature integrates transaction processing with Google Base item management.

Perhaps to quiet down speculation on “Gbuy”, Google issued a statement on its blog pointing to this announcement as an example of how some of Google’s products charge money in small ways. Good way to do it, especially since Google is likely building the payments system one step at a time, but into a fairly large one in the end.

There’s been a lot of interest and speculation about what Google is doing with payments.

We expect to add payment functionality to Google services where our users need a way to buy online.

Can anyone actually find a buyable item?

Posted: February 24, 2006 by Nathan Weinberg in:

Google Analyst Day

By Nathan Weinberg

So, the info is out about Google’s latest Analyst Day.

The info:

Google to Host Analyst Day

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Feb 24, 2006 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced today that it will host an Analyst Day meeting on Thursday, March 2, 2006 in Mountain View, California. Presentations by Google’s management team are scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. PT and conclude by approximately 2:00 p.m. PT.

This event will be made available via Webcast at The Webcast version of the presentation will be available through the same link for approximately two weeks following the presentation, after which time Google will include the Webcast in the “archive” section of the Google Investor Relations website.

After last year’s Analyst Day, most of the media coverage focused on the fact that Google’s chef addressed the analysts, but the chief financial officer didn’t. Lets see if Google’s learned from that.

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Google Dashboard Widgets

By Nathan Weinberg

Google has some Mac OS Dashboard widgets they put up this week. Two are pretty normal and cool: The Blogger widget lets you post quickly to your blog, while the Gmail widget shows your inbox at a glance (letting you filter by label). However, the Google Search History widget seems pretty cool, and seems to make more sense than a simple search widget (so many exists already anyway, and a Google one actually comes with the Mac), letting you recall all the things you searched for, so you don’t lose things.

If anyone wants to try these out and see if there are any other features, let me know.
(via The Unofficial Apple Weblog)

The Last Stand Of Jeeves

By Nathan Weinberg

Oh my god! This is unbelievable! Amazing! Funny!

Okay, before my exhuberance turns you off, watch this video where Jeeves makes his last impact on AskJeeves before retiring.

[don’t read on if spoilers bother you]

In it, Jeeves tries to inspire the Asktronauts to win the big basketball game against the team from “”, with references to Teen Wolf and Star Wars.

The video is by J.D. Ryznar, who is apparently known for popular online comedy shorts, and is of great quality. “A must see!”

Uh, that’s my quote. Put it on a movie poster or something.
(via the Ask blog)

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Google Video Gets Categorizing

By Nathan Weinberg

Google Video has added categories to the top of every single page, just like most video sites. Now maybe Google can take a few pages from YouTube’s playbook, like tags, comments, ratings, stats and instant uploading, and I’ll be super pleased.

Here they are:

Popular Animation Educational News
Google Picks Comedy Movies Sports
Random Commercials Music videos TV shows

(via Google Blogoscoped)

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Breakfast Fun: Valleywag’s Google Page

By Nathan Weinberg

So, since everybody needs a few laughs at breakfast, Valleywag’s Google Pages page is presented for your approval, and as proof that Larry Page may be onto something when he wants no more new 20% projects. I declare it a real “corker”.

The page footer, in particular, is funny because it’s true:

Using your e-mail account for the URL? Nice touch. Way to make sure that Gmail spam filter works overtime.

Plus, since it is Valleywag, word from a Google insider is in store right on the page:

Word is that the blogging tool isn’t being abandoned, but “no one good wants to work” on it.

And yes, the cat photo is from the page. Revenge Of The Geocities!

by Nathan Weinberg in:

links for 2006-02-24

By Nathan Weinberg
Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Chris Pirillo’s Google Diet

By Nathan Weinberg

Chris Pirillo is trying to keep himself to a strict no-Google diet for one week, and he’s finding it more difficult than he thought, and he’s only on day one!

Chris says Yahoo just doesn’t measure up to Google as much as he expected. Once you’ve used internet search engines enough times, there is a certain order of results you come to expect. Even on searches you’ve never run before, the results can be different enough from the normal standard to stand out. Chris says, “the other search engines I try are not even in the same ballpark - let alone, the same league”.

Chris says he’s trying to prove just how badly he needs Google. If he’s sweating and hyperventalating while spinning around naked and chanting about PageRank at the end of the week, I think we’ll all know.

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Olympic Doodles? Yes, More!

By Nathan Weinberg

Today’s Winter Olympics Google Doodle: Figure skating. Tomorrow’s doodle: Figure Itout. Haha, get it, Figure Itout? Oh, screw you!

We All Love Olympic Doodles - February 22
Can’t Get Enough Olympic Doodles? - February 21
Olympics Google Doodles Continue To Mount - February 17
Yet More Olympic Google Doodles - February 16
Olympic Google Doodles Continue - February 14
Olympics Google Doodle - February 10

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Fark’d Google Logos

By Nathan Weinberg

Fark was running a competition for Google logos for “unconventional” holidays. Problem is, most of the logos are just cruel, with Holocaust and 9/11 references. C’mon! I thought Farkers were, well not high-brow, and not more tasteful, but just, I guess, a little smarter with their humor. Its too easy to throw in a swastika and call it a day.

For instance, tomorrow is National Tortilla Chip Day:

Google tortilla logo

If you have a Fark account, feel free to submit it in my name.
(via Google Blogoscoped)

Posted: February 23, 2006 by Nathan Weinberg in:

Google Shows Scholar To, Uh, Scholars

By Nathan Weinberg

Neil posts that users within his university network in England are seeing Google Scholar inserted among the regular Google tabs. I wonder if Google is doing this with all sorts of known university IP addresses? Of course, I remember once seeing Scholar in there randomly, so it could just be that. If you see a Scholar tab, let me know.

If you want to add/remove/edit Google tabs in Opera or Firefox, check out Kamambe. Now with Digg and Technorati tabs.

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Shortest Google Beta Ever?

By Nathan Weinberg

Well, I’m sure this has to be a new record! Google has closed Google Pages to new registrations already. Since Stu was the first to report this to me at 11 a.m., and I first noticed Pages at around 2 a.m., that would mean a nine-hour beta. Wow. Either Google had a very specific number of people they wanted for this, or the word-of-mouth network is extremely good. Sorry for those of you that didn’t get in, but I did warn you…

Page Creator is actually open to all, although I always worry, so sign up fast in case Google closes the beta eventually.

UPDATE: As pointed out by rr in the comments, Google has issued a statement as to why new signups have been closed. The reasons are understandable and basic, that this was always their intent.

We decided in advance to limit the number of page sign-ups in order to provide users with an optimal publishing experience. Due to extraordinary demand, we recently reached that limit so we have temporarily paused additional sign-ups. We expect to offer sign-ups again very soon. Users may check the Google Page Creator website regularly for updates or submit their email address to a wait list and we will contact them when we have the capacity to support additional users.

Clap. Clap. ClapClap. ClapClapClap. ClapClapClapClapClapClap.

If you couldn’t tell, that was one of those slow, building applause things.

Hey Google, can we try this again some other time? You don’t treat us like undeserving idiots, you give us information, explain things to us, be transparent, and we’ll appreciate it, and you for it. If Google is supposed to be this young, friendly, not like everybody else company, well, then it needs to start treating its users better than all those other companies as well.

With every experience, people are understanding there is a big difference between the myth of Google and the reality of doing business with them or being one of their customers. I hope someone at Google doesn’t like that kind of corporate image, and that those people are winning, and that this is an attempt at .


Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

The Wild Adventures Of Googleman

By Nathan Weinberg

A great way to start your day: Google Blogoscoped presents “The Adventures of Googleman“. Watch as he takes on the “Truth” and fights the forces of anarchy. I can only beg the blog gods that there will be more coming.

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Google Launches Page Creator

By Nathan Weinberg

Google has released Page Creator, an AJAX-powered web page creation and hosting service. Page Creator promises to make “creating your own web pages as easy as creating a document in a word processor”, and half as good looking (I added that part, but you’ll see).

You get 100 megabytes of space for your page and uploaded files, which probably makes it a good way to store a few podcasts.

Page Creator is actually open to all, although I always worry, so sign up fast in case Google closes the beta eventually. It requires Internet Explorer 6 or Firefox 1.0 or higher. It runs very poorly in Internet Explorer 7, at least in my usage, with many bugs.

In the FAQ, Google draws distinctions between “web sites” and “web pages”, and says that, for now, you can only create pages (as many as you’d like), but full websites are not yet possible.

The interface is Google-standard, of course, resembling Gmail. You are presented a view of your current pages, an icon to create a new one, and a place to upload files. The page creation interface shows you the page, with boxes to add content to, and options to alter the look and layout of the page.

Content editing options are: adding images, links, bold, italics, unordered lists, changing text color or font (Normal[?], Times, Arial, Courier New, Georgia, Trebuchet and Verdana), font size (small, normal, large and huge), text alignment and inserting H1, H2 and H3 text. You also can click a button to edit the HTML directly, but you can only edit HTML within the DIVs Google gives you; you cannot change the page structure in any way. And you can try inserting AdSense code, but that didn’t work for me.

The word processor analogy for page creation, as I pointed out above, is a poor one, since a good Word document is a crappy website. Websites are about flow, sending you somewhere, making navigation clear, helping you find things and then letting you process them. None of that is accomplished using a WYSIWYG editor; it needs a real design tool.

There are three options for page layout:

There are 41 options for page themes, my favorite of which turned out to be this one.

Your page URL is your Google Account name, or rather [accountname], which is a great way to announce your Gmail account name. You have the option of choosing a “Site name” in the settings, which simply gives you global control of the title tag. Why can’t you edit it by page? No idea.

Oh, but that doesn’t matter, since the Settings page has no “Save Settings” button, at least in Firefox. That’s smart.

Google must have previously hosted the pages at, like this page, which clearly has the same template as this Google Pages template. PageTastic pages in Google’s index are dissapearing, reapearing at Google accidently left a mention of it in their FAQ:

14. Why aren’t the changes I’m making in Google Page Creator being reflected on my site?

Make sure to click on the “Publish” button after you make changes; until you do, the online version of your page will remain just as it was the last time you decided to publish. Occasionally, it may take up to 30 seconds after you click “Publish” for changes to be reflected on your site.

Anyway, as I’m writing this way too early in the morning, I can’t say I’m too impressed. Google has recreated Geocities, only with more storage and no popups. Meanwhile, Windows Live Office does the same thing, also for free (although with more space restrictions) with the most robust web-based site editor I’ve ever seen (yes, I’ve been playing around with that beta, too).

Google can’t compete with Microsoft in a market where Google-simple graphics and limited options aren’t what people want. The market Google should be appealing to are small businesses that need a web presence, something to point their AdWords at, and Microsoft has the better creation tools for them. Regular people will keep using blogs, since they work better, and have more options to grow.

I hope Google plans more for this, because if they look at what Microsoft is doing and make that their target, they could have something (Microsoft’s is powerful, almost too powerful). But if they plan on having the Blogger of static pages, I suspect they’ll find that space has never worked before, for anyone. They might have been better off just creating Static Blogger.

Search Engine Watch has some explanation of the philosophy:

[project manager Justin] Rosenstein says the service was the result of frustration he experienced when friends or family members wanted to create web sites but were stymied by technical challenges. He said that he assembled a team within Google to create a simple, easy to use tool as part of a “20% project,” in which Google engineers are encouraged to spend a day a week working on non-job related projects.

What’s the difference between Google Page Creator and Blogger, the free blog publishing and hosting service also owned by Google? Rosenstein says that Google Page Creator is aimed at people who are interested in publishing a simple, relatively static web site, whereas Blogger is designed for people who want to post frequently, with regularly changing content.

Dave Winer calls it “totally unremarkable“.

by Nathan Weinberg in:

Valleywag’s “Girls Of Google” And An Angry Page

By Nathan Weinberg

Valleywag is requesting nominations for the hottest “Girls of Google“. So far, people have recommended Marissa Mayer, Asia/Latin America Operations VP Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Deputy General Counsel Miriam Rivera, Trisha Weir from hardware operations, engineer Lauren Baptist, Blogger’s Kimbalina, and UI’s Elizabeth Windram (all pictured above, in order).

Niniane’s still my top pick.

Also, Valleywag says a couple of weeks ago, Larry Page went on a tirade, ripping into the engineering teams, declaring 20% time would from now on be used to work with other group’s projects, not new ideas. Also:

He spent a long time lecturing everyone about how we’re not smart enough to pick the right projects to work on, and he singled out a couple of projects (in front of hundreds of engineers) to complain about because they weren’t using shared infrastructure components.

Damn. The big man could be feeling a lot of pressure over the various federal court issues, the falling stock price (every dollar of which is worth over $10 million to him), and major projects that aren’t really working, like Google Video (which it is rumored started the whole arguement).

We all knew it would be tough for Google to maintain all of its lofty ideas and out-of-the-box thinking if the stock went south, and it looks like its finally happening. Googlers can’t be happy if their 20% time is being messed with (assuming this is true), and unrest among workers, pressure from stockholders could mean Google will be taking fewer risks and going with more safe bets.

Meanwhile, if I were a Googler, I’d start wondering when my free meals would be taken away. Probably not this year, but pretty much every tech company takes away that and many other perks as the need to meet margins becomes more important.

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

T David On eGooglation

By Nathan Weinberg

T David has a great article on what he calls “eGooglation”, that is when a product or service or website is being hyped as the next Google/Flickr/anything without anything to show why. The best example: Riya, which has been so hyped by everyone as the next big thing, yet how many people have actually been granted access to it? 100% hype, the kind that if you eat to much, your stomach makes funny noises for days.

Why hasn’t Riya been released further if its so good? Flickr held up pretty well against the court of public opinion, as did and many other successful companies. One company that followed Riya’s lead was Measure Map, bought last week by Google, and I suspect Riya wants it that way. Rather than release a real product, you instead hype it up like crazy, hoping that some Google/Yahoo/Microsoft picks you up before the mold starts to show.

This is happening everywhere, and its the fault of a lot of bloggers. Chief at fault is Michael Arrington, who I think is really great, but has been hyping companies with no accounting for motivation and seems to have little vision when he’s being used to get venture funding or an aquisition through. Michael wrote about Riya seven times since August, posting images of him using the system and holding a “launch” party at his ranch while rumors were flying that Google was looking to buy the company. Three months hence, no one has bought Riya, nothing has been released, and Riya has scored $15 million funding.

This is super-hype. This is the new bubble. We’re fueling it, with our “innovation”, with our “conversation”, with our “memes” and “memetrackers”. And we refuse to stop because everybody’s making money.

What did Valleywag overhear at the TechCrunch 5 meetup? Oh, yeah:

Hype? You’re at ground-zero for hype.

These get togethers, which practically take place in a metaphorical bubble, are gatherings of people hoping Scoble and Arrington and hundreds of other bloggers will write about how great they are and get them the funding they need to survive a little longer till they have something worth using or flipping.

I’m not bitter; I’m worried. I see so much promise, so much genius and so much talent in this second bubble, but if the same people and attitudes that ruined the first one wind up controlling this one, I lose, you lose, we all lose. If light-weight AJAX-based web apps fail because of super-hype, what’ll replace them? Windows Live, with Microsoft controlling the web? Wouldn’t that be an astonishing twist.

It’s happened before. If we all want to make money now, instead of building systems and platforms and solutions that make life better and the web easier, it’ll happen again, and the same damn people will make their money while we complain about the job market. Again.


So, what do we do? We can’t stop talking about cool companies. That would be stupid, counterproductive, and a great way to kill off good companies and the economy even faster. Products like Flickr should be championed by everyone who uses it and loves it. Lets just try to use discretion with companies like Riya, which might be interested more in getting investors excited than getting users excited the next time they show you a cool demo.

We all make fun of Google’s betas, but Google doesn’t do hype. They release. Maybe their products aren’t perfect, but we skewer the tiny flaws and give them their fair shake in the court of public opinion. And they survive, and they prosper. Google puts little programs like the Web Accelerator out there and gets the kind of bad press that would destroy some companies, and takes it in stride, and keeps going.

We have to appreciate the guts that come with that, even if those guts come with a lot of money backing the people up. If you don’t have the intestinal fortitude to release your product to the public as a crappy beta, you don’t deserve the hype. Take a chance, ship, and let the market help you, yell at you, and put you through the meat-grinder.

Google should start a new program where it gives, for free, server space to startups who couldn’t afford if they become popular. They get Google’s server farms to host their company, and a chance to prove themselves independent of market concerns. A sort of BlogSpot for startups. I’m sure Google would find a way to monetize it, either with a first shot at buying the company, or ads on the page, or they could just rationalize it as a means of improving the web’s economy. I’d love them for it, and we could get rid of some of these major distractions.

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

We All Love Olympic Doodles

By Nathan Weinberg

Google today presents us with a logo on… Alpine skiing!

That’s the third skiing Doodle, and most of them have had something to do with ice or snow, proving there is no variety in these Olympics. You’d think if they had any brains they’d throw in something different, like beach volleyball or that thing where you jump in a lake and ride a bike. Sheesh.

Can’t Get Enough Olympic Doodles? - February 21
Olympics Google Doodles Continue To Mount - February 17
Yet More Olympic Google Doodles - February 16
Olympic Google Doodles Continue - February 14
Olympics Google Doodle - February 10

Posted: February 22, 2006 by Nathan Weinberg in:

Gmail Popup Is History (Mostly)

By Nathan Weinberg

Google has wisely decided to contain its exuberance for popup/popins (what do you call these things?) in Gmail that showed a contact card ever time your mouse hovered over a contacts name or email address. This was a classic example of interface bloat, and the popins will only show now when hovering over the QuickContacts box. Considering people were installing Greasemonkey scripts out of dislike, Google made a good move, although I’m sure there are a few people who’d like to see it remain as an option.

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

links for 2006-02-23

By Nathan Weinberg
Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

New Google Blog: Google Research; Also Findory And Other Things

By Nathan Weinberg

Greg Linden links to a new official Google blog, the Google Research Blog. Greg hopes that this will lead to pointers to new Googler research papers, something that Google has been lagging in lately. Note the blog is using the new, kinda universal RSS symbol.

This is a good time to point out some other tidbits from Greg. First off, Findory has new features. They are:

  • RSS feed for Findory favorites - once you’ve selected all your favorites, you can subscribe to a feed of them. Or, you can display them in an RSS mashup. If you import your regular RSS subscriptions to Findory Favorites, then export them back out through the RSS feed, you wind up with a very targeted view of your RSS, provided by Findory. I’m thinking of a few cool ways to use this. I’ve heard some success with this on mobile phone browsers, like Opera Mobile.
  • Findory Favorites now goes up to 200 items deep. Just more useful this way.
  • Tag cloud of related articles to any article
  • Tag cloud for any blog or news source

Finally, Greg is confused why Google’s databases have loose consistency, lose data, and the company seems to have a disdain for modern databases. For example, Blogger recently had trouble with their databases, problems that would be solved in a normal database without impacting users, but Google instead had to ask users to fix it for them. There’s something to be said for not reinventing the wheel.

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Full List Of Gmail Emoticons

By Nathan Weinberg

Gmail Help has the list of animated Gmail Chat emoticons, the turning and winking smilies you see when chatting in Gmail, but not in Google Talk, the supposedly full-featured client.

If you miss the animation, uh, reload the page or something. Yeah, these break the normal rightclick > Reload Image behavior in Opera, and I’m not sure other browsers even have that feature. Actually, the one thing that does work in Opera is to scroll down, so they’re off page, and then scroll back up. I have no idea why that is, but its probably also what breaks reloading.

Key Combination
< 3

It’s a monkey!
: ( | )

Rock out.
\ m /
: - o
: D
: (
X - (
B - )
: ‘ (
= D
; )
: - |
= )
: - D
; ^ )
; - )
: - )
: - /
: P

(via Dirson)

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Google / Earthlink’s Wi-fi Proposal

By Nathan Weinberg

Om Malik reports that Google and Earthlink have teamed up to offer the city of San Francisco municipal wi-fi with options for paid and free services. Google will offer the free portion, with download speeds of 256-384 kbps, while Earthlink will charge for premium 1 mbps service. Considering that, barring bribery and/or mafia connections, the only way Google is losing is if there are better proposals from either MetroFi, Communication Bridge Global, NextWLAN, Razortooth Communications or SF Metro Connect (SeaKay, Cisco Systems and IBM).

So, with the exception of us heavy downloaders, who in the hell is paying for DSL or (shudder) dial-up with decent speeds for free? And how much could this be worrying local telcos, which will see not just subscribers for internet access plummet, but sales of wi-fi Skype phones go through the roof?
(via Chris Gilmer)

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Google’s Center Of The Universe: Kansas

By Nathan Weinberg

Rogers Cadenhead at Wired has an article about the center of the universe (or at least the United States) in Google Maps is Coffeyville, Kansas.

Kristine Crispel, who owns the Shamrock “K” Horse Center at the center of the world, seems to like the attention. Geocacher Maggie Dew took pictures at the center, which are features alongside the article. Meanwhile Google can’t explain why the area was chosen (the center in Google Earth is Lawrence, Kansas, hometown of company exec Brian McClendon), but it certainly has nothing to do with the area’s largest employer, Amazon.

The best part is the end of the article:

Though Crispel relies on Google to direct customers to her website, she was unaware of how centrally located the farm has been for the past year on Google Maps.

In fact, she said she’s never even used the service.

“If we’re trying to find something, we use Yahoo or MapQuest,” she said.

by Nathan Weinberg in:

Google’s Seven Principles Of Marketing

By Nathan Weinberg

Niall Kennedy has posted pictures of a few signs from Google, including “The 7 principles of Google marketing“. They are:

  • Results must be trackable
  • Promote trial
  • Let others speak for you
  • Data. Not hype.
  • You’re smart. And your time matters.
  • We’re serious. Except when we’re not.
  • Big ideas move us

Also, tomorrow is apparently Bring Your Daughter to Work Day at Google. The reason?

Research shows that middle-school is the time at which girls tend to lose interest in math and science

Well, isn’t that all warm and cuddly…

Also, check out Google’s trophy case, Google’s servers (and closeups), electric scooters, and a publicly editable whiteboard where anyone can add to the “Google Master Plan” (including South Park references).

Good stuff.

Barry links to Time and ABC photo tours of the Googleplex.

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Yahoo Says No To Allah

By Nathan Weinberg

Yahoo appears to have banned all uses of “Allah” in screen names, even in the middle of words like “Callahan”. This website, by a person named Kallahar who ran into the same problem, found that other banned words include “binladen”, “osama”, “raghead”, “yahoo”, “security”, “admin”, and only three “dirty” words. Allowed? Jesus, god, buddah, islam, nazi, satan, jihad, terrorist, suicide, murder, priest, pedophile, rape, sex and penis, among many other words that could just as legitimately be banned.

Such filters are an insult to your users and a waste of time. If someone wanted to badmouth Allah, and ran into a filter, they could just switch to a slighlty altered spelling and get through just fine. And considering that there are several common says to spell Bin Laden’s name, none of which are banned except the most common one, that isn’t even difficult. Meanwhile, banning the name of god in one religion and not in all of them shows they are singling out Islam, and whether they are doing that for “protection” or anger, it is probably insulting either way.

If someone has a hateful screen name, like “IHate[InsertGod’sName]” or “[Religion]Sucks”, then Yahoo users can complain after the fact. Let people create screen names that pay tribute to their beliefs, and if a few idiots abuse it, ban them.
(via Slashdot)

UPDATE: Yes, Yahoo has reversed its position. Uproar works faster than customer service, always has, always will.

Posted: by Nathan Weinberg in:

Court Rules Google Infringes On Porn

By Nathan Weinberg

In what could be terrible news for the sad few who rely on Google Images for porn, a court has ruled that some aspects of Image Search infringe on copyrights of porn site Perfect 10. Basically, the judge has ordered both sides to craft a narrow preliminary injunction that will likely prevent Google from showing image thumbnails of images stolen by other websites that are indexed in images, but that does not infringe on Google’s right to link to those images.

While the law is perfectly clear that Google is not responsible when sites in its index infringe on copyrights, I can understand how thumbnails of copyrighted images would be unlawful. Why doesn’t Google do the same thing it does when it gets DMCA requests against pages in search results that contain software that violates copyrights? Why can’t it just remove the images from the index and include a notice on the page?

From the AP:

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