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Google News Image View, YouTube Video Cited In Court, Google Earth Solar System, Google Docs Readability Stats, iGoogle Skins

I’m in Atlantic City with my wife, celebrating our one-year wedding anniversary, so here’s a post featuring a bunch of items I should have blogged weeks ago.

Google News Launches Image View


Google News launched a very cool image view, letting you track the news visually by looking at a page of images taken from the latest news stories. You see a block of twenty-five images, with headlines next to them, and an arrow to scroll through the list of headlines (you can navigate the list with your keyboard, even). A very cool way of browsing news stories, and a good alternative to the sea of text that is the regular Google News.

Philipp has a lot of detail and criticism of the initial release.

First YouTube Video Used In Court Decision

For the first time (of undoubtably many to come), a judge has cited a YouTube video in rendering his decision. The case is a strange one, with the judge so annoyed at perennial copyright abuser Leo Stoller, that in supporting Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer George Brett, he invited participants in the trial to check out a complicated incident in Brett’s career.

As background, Evans included a description of what baseball fans remember as Brett’s famous Pine Tar Incident in a 1983 game against the New York Yankees over whether the bat was legal to be used. Brett’s home run was nullified by an umpire, the Yankees won, but on appeal to the American League his team got a second try and eventually beat the Yankees 5-4.

Evans wrote: “Baseball, like our legal system, has appellate review…It ended after 12 minutes when Royals’ closer Dan Quisenberry shut the door on the Yankees in their half of the ninth to seal the win. The whole colorful episode is preserved, in all its glory, on YouTube, at (last visited June 6, 2007). See also Retrosheet Boxscore, Kansas City Royals 5, New York Yankees 4, at (last visited June 6, 2007).”

Ironically, Major League Baseball had the video removed by filing a copyright claim.

From Google Earth to Google Solar System

GEarthBlog points out a mod for Google Earth that turns the Earth into the Sun and adds scale 3D models of all the planets in the solar system, though not in their proper places. Watch this video to see it in action:

Google Docs Adds Readability Statistics

One of my favorite features I always turn on in Microsoft Word is to always show the readability statistics, which analyzes your document and tells you a bunch of things, like what grade level you write at (I’m not a third grader!). Now, Google Docs enjoys the same fun and useful feature, with maybe a little more depth. Click the Word Count button, and you get your Flesch Reading Ease, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, and Automated Readability Index scores. Then, you can spend hours criticizing your education!

Gadget Lets You Skin Your iGoogle


Not satisfied with the options for customizing the look of your iGoogle personalized homepage? This Gadget gives you a bunch more skinning options, including a built-in searchable directory of skins, a skin creator, and a way to submit your own skin to the directory. When it’s all said and done, you can wind up with a pretty cool look, like in the screenshot above.

July 31st, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | iGoogle, YouTube, Docs, Google Earth, Google News, Search, Services, Products, General | no comments

Ultimate Search For Bourne - Day Twelve

Four days to go, and I picked up two more sightings. Can it actually happen? Probably not…

Anyway, today’s mission is the first in New York, the last city in the game. You’ll need to head back to Dater Notes, back to Nicky’s profile, and find one of her photos that holds the clue. Pretty much just copy the URL of each photo and plug it into the Image Filter until you get the answer.

Enter the location into the Message Transmitter, then place your camera. I’d say it’s pretty obvious that you should place the camera in the same place the location in the mission was.

July 31st, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | iGoogle, Products, General | 13 comments

Hosting sponsored by GoDaddy

$130 Unofficial Google Zeitgeist Pillows


One website is selling “Google News cushions”, little pillows with the top ten Google search terms of a specific ear, based on Google’s published Zeitgeist data. You can get pillows for 2003 (Britney Spears! The Matrix! Kobe Bryant) for $250, and 2005 (Janet Jackson! Xbox 360! Britney Spears!) or 2006 (cancer! podcasting! Celebrity Big Brother!) for just $130. The pillows do say Google News in tiny letters on the back, so expect them to get shut down eventually.

Before that happens, you can outfit your couch with the whole set for a measly $510. Huzzah!
(via Better Living Through Design > Digg)

July 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Google News, Search, General | 3 comments

Blogger Adds Comment Form Message

Blogger’s control panel added an area where you can submit a message to show to visitors when they try to comment on your blog. Just go to Comments on the Settings Tab and you’ll see an area for “Comment Form Message”. Whatever you enter in there will be displayed as a message to commenters above the commenting box. If you want to tell them of your policy, instruct them not be to be idiots, or just say something cute, here’s your opportunity.

July 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogger, Services, General | one comment

Yahoo Testing Killer Search Assist Feature

Danny’s got the scoop on a new Yahoo feature that is so good, it could actually inspire people to switch. The feature, Yahoo Search Assist, detects when you pause while typing a search query, and begins offering suggested search queries. Unlike Search Suggest (or Google Suggest), it doesn’t just autocomplete; it analyzes what you might be searching for and gives a bunch of other queries that might work based on its analysis.

The feature looks great, and Danny’s got a screencast to go with it:

Very cool. It comes in when it thinks you need it, offers a bunch of help, and is far more discoverable than most advanced search features. I can’t wait to see this in action, and if the suggestions are relevant enough, it could go a ways towards helping Yahoo reverse its decline.

Oh, and Danny, if you need somebody to do video for you, just ask…

July 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Yahoo, Search, General | 2 comments

Google’s “Unicorn” Easter Egg

Biz Stone posts about another Google easter egg, this one in the Google calculator:


You can see it by clicking here. If you’ve never seen them, there’s also the famous Hitchiker’s Guide easter egg, and the strange interface language translations. Any others?

July 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Search, Humor, General | 3 comments

YouTube Hacked Over Tay Zonday?

As a fan of Tay Zonday and the Chocolate Rain madness, I was excited to see a post in my RSS reader that Thursday was being christened “Tay Zonday Day” on YouTube, with the front page getting taken over by all Zonday, all day. I clicked to the YouTube Blog post, but there was nothing there but a blank screen, and no homepage takeover either.

I’ve been piecing together the news, and it looks like YouTube was hacked. According to Mashable, the fellas at the 4chan /b/ forum are claiming responsibility, and the front page at was covered in Chocolate Rain parodies and tributes, as can be seen here. They not only hacked the front page, but they posted about it to the YouTube blog, giving it an air of legitimacy and a special place in the Google cache.

The post, no longer available on the YouTube blog:

Tay Zonday Day

What’s up with “chocolate rain”?

Many of you have been following the rapid rise and response videos surrounding a music video from a unique talent. To give proper credit to the millions who have bonded with Tay Zonday and his song “Chocolate Rain,” we’ve gathered the 12 responses with the best rating and comments and are displaying them on our home page — but just for a day.

To those of you who haven’t already gotten caught in the rain, we hope it inspires you to add your response. (And let us know if you enjoy features or home page “takeovers” like this!)

The YouTube Team

No statement from YouTube on what happened.

Meanwhile, Tay has a new video, possibly referring to the recent spurt in internet fame he’s enjoyed:

And then there’s this really strange one somebody pointed out to me, where he sings about TurboTax?

July 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | YouTube, Services, General | 2 comments

Success! Google Trends Updated

Witness the power of a single blog post.

I am taking full credit for the fact that Google has updated Google Trends for the first time in over four months, adding trend data right up through July 17, 2007. Previously, data was only available through February 21, so Google has gifted us with a nice 146 days of extra Trends data. Considering that four days ago, I “reminded” Google that they hadn’t updated Trends in months, and then a big update comes through, I’m declaring this a success.

Hopefully, someone at Google has set up a periodic reminder to do this every once in a while. Otherwise, I’ll have to.

But now, the important stuff. Let’s compare some recently popular terms, now that we have updated data:

harry potter iphone |  wii

clinton obama |  edwards

giuliani romney |  ron paul

democrats republicans |  poop

iraq american idol

digg slashdot

July 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Search, General | 4 comments

Ultimate Search For Bourne - Day Eleven

The final week of Google’s Ultimate Search for Bourne is here! You’ve made it this far, time to close the deal. Day Eleven brings with it some nice news for me: Two more sightings, which means I’ve got 13 in the first ten days. I’ll need a major winning streak to get the requisite 25, but in theory, it could be possible.

The crossword puzzle found by several enterprising readers last week is now in play. My advice: Print it out and fill it out.

I’ve gotten everything but 10 DOWN (”To do each day”) and figured out what the Canada cross-out means. Comment below if you’ve got any ideas.

UPDATE: Oh for F’s sake! It can’t be that easy!


I went to the trouble of printing out the crossword puzzle, solving the clues, and the answer could have been solved by ignoring the clue alltogether!

Want to know how?

I hate doing this, but the answer’s too easy, and if you try thinking about it, you’ll definitely be wrong.

Here it is, if you want to avoid the spoiler:

Just paste the URL of the crossword puzzle in the Image Filter.

Yeah, I know. Crazy, right?

Oh, and did anyone get 10 DOWN?

For my four cameras, I chose the three clustered in the middle of the map, plus St. Paul’s again.

July 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | iGoogle, Products, General | 27 comments

Ultimate Search For Bourne - Day Ten

The end of the second week of the Bourne Ultimatum Google game is here, and I picked up two more sightings yesterday. Looks like my theories regarding the sightings are finally working out.

You need to retrace your steps from the previous two days to determine if Ross is a liar, and if so, present a more accurate rendevous. Considering that if he weren’t a liar, the answer would be the same as yesterday, you’d better assume he was lying, and work from there.

Damn, that was easy! Ross mentioned a location in London multiple times, and if you go to, the name of that place is listed at least twice, and part of the URL! Three cameras to place today.

For my cameras, I chose Waterloo Station, the London Eye, and, on a hunch, St. Paul’s Cathedral, since it was mentioned in the Google Group.

July 27th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | iGoogle, Products, Groups, Services, General | 10 comments

Twitter and Blogger Get Cozy

Twitter is like Blogger’s cousin, considering both were started by the same guy and several Blogger employees left Google to work on Twitter. So, it’s only natural that the “relatives” would work well together. The team at Twitter have released a new web badge you can click to add to your Blogger sidebar and show your latest Twitter updates. It can show the most recent 1-20 Tweets, and you can customize or remove the title.
(via Blogger Buzz)

July 26th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogger, Services, General | one comment

Do We Have To Do This Again? Google, Update Google Trends!


Jeez, whoever is supposed to be in charge of Google Trends seems to have fallen asleep again. For four months. In March, after many bloggers took notice, Google updated Trends, its search popularity tracking service, for the first time since November. They’ve done it again, so now Trends has no data comparing anything since mid-February. Since this is the only way to get anything done regarding Google Trends, if you have a blog, spread the word: Google, update it already!

What’s really a shame is that Google tracks this stuff on a daily basis on Google Hot Trends, but continues to forget to update the long-term data on the regular Trends.

July 26th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Search, General | 2 comments

Google SketchUp Blog Launches

Google has launched a new blog for SketchUp, its free 3D modeling software. They’ve actually been blogging for almost two months in almost secret, so there are a lot of posts to catch up on, including:

Get the feed.

July 26th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | SketchUp, Products, General | no comments

Gmail Wants Your “M” Video

The Gmail team is asking users to send in video of them passing along the Gmail “M” logo, as a way of participating in a Gmail promo video. This is the video Google made:

And you can get your face in there as well. Just upload a video to YouTube of you passing the M logo from the left side of the screen to the right side (under 10 seconds, audio not important), and Google will rotate a bunch of entries on the promo page, with the best ones becoming part of the official video and shown on the Gmail home page.

Here are some already submitted:

Too long (18 seconds)


Who owns a unicycle?

Not bad

Eh, I don’t know
(via Philipp)

By the way, the Gmail/Threadless t-shirt design competition is only ten days old, and it looks like the “no logo” rule is really hurting. The t-shirts look great, but I have no idea what the hell any of them have to do with Gmail.

July 26th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Services, Gmail, General | 2 comments

Best Of YouTube - July 26, 2007

Here are the top YouTube videos found today on YouTube:

If you’d like to suggest one for today or the future, leave a comment or message me on YouTube. The playlist will be updated throughout the day.

July 26th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | YouTube, Services, General | no comments

Ultimate Search For Bourne - Day Nine

Well, my hunch about the map paid off, and I’m one sighting closer to an iPhone.

Today, you have to contact Simon Ross again, using the username (CRUYFF74) and passphrase (don’t Silence the truth) from yesterday.

Simon leaves a message about a Tube station and a Google Group. The Google group has a map of the train lines, along with a major London tourist attraction that it right on that Tube line. Enter the name of that attraction in the Message Transmitter, and you’re done for the day, with another camera to place.

As for the cameras, I’m using the Tube map to place mine now. I chose Waterloo Station and the London Eye.

July 26th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | iGoogle, Products, Groups, Services, General | 14 comments

links for 2007-07-26

July 26th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Bookmarks | no comments

New iGoogle Homepage Design For Taiwan, Hong Kong Users


Google is testing out a new un-personalized default design for its iGoogle home page in Taiwan and Hong Kong, hoping to attract users who have proven to be fans of the the Yahoo School of Home Page Design. This follows what Google did in South Korea a couple of months ago, adding animated icons there, yet another move to appeal to countries with sensibilities different from the U.S. and the sparse white space design.

The new design has five boxes in a neat minimalist (for this style) design, including one at the bottom in the center, featuring the same animated icons from South Korea. The five surrounding boxes are tabbed to include multiple features. One has Google Trends with seperate tabs for rising search terms, popular videos, popular images and some other set of popular terms. Another has Google News in five different categories. Another lets you access Gmail, Google Calendar and Picasa Web Albums accounts. The last has access to translation, currency conversion and a note-taking box.

Oh, and Philipp caught one other thing:

… and there’s a ticking clock on top (hey Google, it’s the 1990s calling, they want their JavaScript snippet back!).

July 25th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | iGoogle, Products, General | no comments