It’s been over two years since Google gave us Google Suggest, its page that suggests search queries as you type, and its been almost as long since we have fun with it. There was that time we saw how Google suggested finishing our sentences, the time it suggested “Jews are evil”, “blacks are lazy” and “whites are superior”, got some Suggest tools, got News Suggest, wrote Suggest poetry, and plenty of other stuff.
It’s been a while, but Philipp’s reignited my interest by pointing out that Google Suggest gives some tips by typing in stuff starting with “how”. Like, if you type:
How to get a
So, time to have some more fun. Lets see…
God heal amputees
my car start
he marry me
my dog eat
the Easter Bunny come from
I go wrong
you sleep last night
easter come from
aids come from
me a job
make you love me
believe it’s not butter
feel my face
stop loving you
get no satisfaction
can’t live if living is without you
the cookies from the cookie jar
dictation from perry mason
I never get tired of that.
Philipp points out a search page created by David Coallier which has a Google Suggest-like AJAX drop-down that updates as you type in the search box, but shows you synonyms. It isn’t quite perfect, since it only shows synonyms of what you type (and not autocompleting what you are in middle of typing), but it works really well, and checks synonyms against the entire thesaurus. Maybe David goes down to Google for a job interview?
Oh, and if you are searching your head, feeling like an idiot:
syn·o·nym: A word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another word or other words in a language.
“JehCt writes “Google is being sued over the ’suggest’ feature built into its latest toolbar. InfoWorld reports: ‘ServersCheck, a small company that makes network monitoring software,’ is complaining that, ‘If ServersCheck is entered, Google generates suggested search terms such as serverscheck crack, serverscheck pro crack and serverscheck keygen which lead to pirated software.’ In an apparent public relations blunder, Google claimed to have no way of filtering suggestions. However, Google can and does filter because the toolbar won’t provide suggestions for keywords like ‘porn’.”
This was in the papers in Belgium a few days ago, because ServersCheck is a Belgian company. I think they have a valid point. Google shouldn’t offer illegal suggestions. They can prevent it from happening. It looks like they just don’t want to. (in this case). I didn’t know it was going to become so huge… to be continued.
I’ve been so busy with wedding stuff the last week, that the amount of “To Post” items is getting absurd. I like posting in quantity as well as quality, so here’s the new deal: I’m going to post multiple items per post, except the most important stuff (which will get longer, better posts), so that nothing gets left behind. I think five stories per post is a good number.
Google got sued over Google Suggest. Some monitoring software company found out that Suggest, uh, suggests software cracks when typing in the name of the software. I think it speaks to the Wild West-attitude of the net that, no matter what the product, almost every product has a lot of people searching for cracks. Maybe the company, ServersCheck, should consider making sure that when people search for cracks, they don’t find any, than trying to prevent them from thinking about doing bad.
Verdict: Google will win this one.
The next Google/Dilbert cartoon is out. I won’t spoil it, but it features Sergey and Larry throwing $billions around. The real question is: What happened to Eric Schmidt? The obvious answer: The death ray happened.
Candace Lombardi reminds us that Scott Adams did some Google Doodles two years ago.
A Digger reports that Gmail For Your Domain now offers Google Calendar with their hosted email service.
Google Talk now has 13 new languages: UK English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian, and Turkish. The Google Blog post has a great SNL reference.
Google released the Google Web Toolkit. The Google Blog says it is a much easier way to make AJAX applications. Could it be easy enough for even me to use? Do dogs have wings?
Google added some Google Suggest technology to Google News. Now, if you go to
news.google.com/news?complete=1, the search box will suggest queries as you type. It appears that the suggestions are based on news searches, and not something else, which means they can clue you in to what is happening in the news. For example, typing in “Google” reveals suggestions for “google sketchup” and “google calendar”, both hot items.
My only wish: that you could turn this on in the preferences, so you wouldn’t have to bookmark it or remember that unfriendly URL. Otherwise, enjoy!
(via the Google blog)
Aside: It appears not to work in Opera, I think.
CNet’s Elinor Mills has posted some commentary of yesterday’s Analyst Day at the Googleplex. Some highlights:
- CFO George Reyes opened the meeting. Last year, the biggest complaint was that attendees heard from the chef but not the Chief Financial Officer. Looks like they listened.
- Eric Schmidt says the same principles from the founder’s letter of two years ago are still in place.
- High points of the year: the AOL deal, and moving into China
- There’s a $283 billion market for ads in broadcast TV, cable TV, radio, internet, print and direct mail. Google intends to be a major player in all of those markets.
- “Google is primarily focused on Microsoft as a competitor because of the software giant’s history as a company, but Google hasn’t seen an impact from Microsoft’s search products yet.”
- Google does not consider click fraud a major issue yet.
- Google does not believe in being constrained by things like bandwidth and CPU power.
- 20% of resources spent on: Google Video, Google Talk, Gmail, Google Earth, Local Search, Enterprise, Book search, AdSense, Desktop Search and Mobile Search.
- 10% of resources spent on: AdSense Offline, Google Suggest, Orkut and Google Reader.
- Google Ride Finder didn’t work because it followed GPS signals from cabs, but people couldn’t get to the street in time to hail them.
- Google earns $1.44 million per employee.
- Google admits it has not done a good job communicating that some of is betas are just tests, and that’s why they close them so quickly.
(via Google Blogoscoped)
Greg Linden also has some good stuff, and links to Google’s webcast page, which has the webcast for you to view, as well as the presentation slides in PDF format. Of particular interest is the dream of “a world with infinite storage, bandwidth, and CPU power”. While I think its a great goal to shoot for, Google needs to be willing to admit it certainly hasn’t reached that level yet, and many of its services suffer as a result. Developing services with an assumption of bandwidth and computing ability that doesn’t exist is just reckless.
Softpedia writes that Google Suggest seems to hint quite a bit of racism. Here are some screenshots I took:
See, since Google Suggest is based on what people are searching for, this would at first glance, suggest that most people are racist, and that their searches reflect it. However, I think it has more to do with the choice of words, as seen here:
See. a little while back, there was controversy over the fact that an anti-Semitic site was #1 for a search for “jew” (it still is). After some investigation, it turned out it had more to do with the fact that jews tend not to use the word “jew”, but rather “jewish” or another Hebrew/Yiddish expression, like “Yidden” or “B’nai Yisrael”, and impartial academics might use “judaism” or “semitic”, which left “jew” mostly to the racists.
I don’t think a lot of people go around calling people “blacks” without being racially insensitive, so the Google Suggest results make sense. The suggestions for “African American” tend towards the complimentary, history and academic, as usage of that word tends toward as well.
So, where’s the middle ground, which doesn’t use a crass word or a PC one? Try typing in “people”. You’ll find that most good people don’t search for people of one skin color different than people of another. I’ve always believed that, whether you use a PC-term or a racist one, either isn’t as inclusionary as “people”.
(via Andy Beal)
Google’s blog says they have taken their Firefox toolbar out of beta, and it is now damn near perfect. They have gone ahead and fixed the issues I complained about when it was released. You can now customize and move it around, and it uses search-as-you-type, like Google Suggest. How great is that?
On a side note, it won’t let it install in Firefox 1.5 beta. Shouldn’t it let the browser break if it isn’t compatible, so it can be considered properly beta tested? I’m not sure if that’s Firefox’s fault or Google’s, but it still seems unnecessary.
Yahoo has added a Google Suggest-like search as you type feature, called Yahoo Instant Search. What’s interesting about theirs is that you can choose to make it the default interface at search.yahoo.com. As Philipp explains, when you start typing in a search, a bubble pops up with possible results.
UPDATE: John Battelle notes that the press release has a great dig at Google:
Why feel lucky when you can be right?
That should be Yahoo’s new slogan.
Google has added a Japanese version of its Google Suggest tool. Google Suggest (English version), as you may remember, tries to complete your search query in real-time as you type.
(via Blogoscoped > ResearchBuzz)
Just three days ago, I mentioned some Google Suggest facts, including that you could find UPS package tracking numbers by typing in 1ze. Well, looks like 1ze has joined #$&! and ^@&% as a dirty word in the Google Suggest dirty words filter, since Google has made 1ze return no results when you type it in. This took only three days. Google must have a very attentive ear to the blogosphere.
Thanks to Adam at LiveJournal for the tip.
What happened this year?
Google has had an excellent year. At the beginning of the year, Bill Gates famously said, “They kicked out butts” about Google’s domination of and enormous profits on search, but promised a MSN Search engine within a year. Google began the process of going public. Yahoo freaked out and announced its new search engine and plan to dump Google as its results provider the next day. Google released Orkut, which everyone was convinced was the next big thing is social interaction.
In February, Bill Gates vowed, “We will catch them”. Google won “Brand of the Year” from BrandChannel, and I think everyone agreed they had a powerful brand. They were also named fifth best internet property by Media Metrix. Google’s overall index (web search, images, groups, print) reached a milestone with 6 billion items indexed and searchable.
March brought Froogle Wireless and the beginning of an issue that would dog Google all year, (and still does) sensitive information available on Google). Google Local launched, a model that would be eventually emulated by every major search engine. A man sued Google because his vanity search said terrible things about himself. MSN announced Newsbot. At the end of the month, Google got a facelift.
Gmail was the big news for April, and everyone thought it was an April Fools joke. It’s combination of unprecedented free storage and invite-driven exclusivity made it the hot thing through the summer. It also brought a new trend: privacy advocates vs. Google. Gmail’s scanning the text of messages for ads presented the first of many battles Google would have with privacy hawks. Google began scanning academic papers, a project that would eventually become Google Scholar. Amazon launched A9 in beta, putting itself in competition with Google at the same time it was using Google search results. Google announced it would allow the selling of trademarked terms in ads. At the end of the month, Google did the one thing that could be bigger news than Gmail: it filed for its initial public offering.
Google’s IPO dominated the conversation well into May, as the odd dutch auction style was debated among analysts and armchair stockbrokers all over the net. Google “joined the conversation” and launched the Google blog. Google brought out Google Groups 2 Beta, an attempt to expand Google’s Usenet archive to be like Yahoo Groups. Geico sued Google for selling its name as an ad keyword. Google topped the Wired 40.
June saw Hotmail announced increased email storage, something Yahoo unveiled the month before, as a response to Gmail. Google had such a slow month, it actually published a recipe for Buttermilk Fried Chicken Elvis Loved on the Google blog, the pre-IPO quiet period taking its toll. AOL bought Advertising.com.
Google shut down Gmail account sales in July, while adding address book importing. Google choose the NASDAQ for its IPO, which seemed so imminent that it could be any day. Google bought Picasa, then gave away its software for free, but is still developing its big plan for the software. MSN released Newsbot. Google announced its price range for the IPO, an astounding $108-135, and opened the dutch auction registration process as the month closed.
All through the beginning of August, speculation mounted, as everyone wanted to know if Google was worth its high asking price. As the IPO neared, Google settled its patent dispute with Yahoo/Overture, giving Yahoo 2.7 million shares of their stock. There was also a major flap when an interview with Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s interview with Playboy was printed during the quiet period. Google submitted its IPO for final approval, and wound up with a much lower price target of $85-95, and with a smaller number of shares. Google opened at $101, and has never dropped to double digits. Yahoo started its own blog. Yahoo sold its Google shares at $82.62, losing, at current prices, just under $300 million. Microsoft announced WinFS, its searchable file system, wasn’t going to make it to Longhorn, something it had hidden for months as it developed MSN Desktop Search.
September began with a return to business as usual as Google decided it would be fun if its ads started saying ‘Ads by Goooooogle’ for no particular reason, a dumb idea which continues to this day. It also allowed up to 3 AdSense ads per page. MSN began girding for battle, as Steve Ballmer said Microsoft was “hell-bent and determined” to beat Google. Google celebrated its sixth birthday. Google Alerts came out of beta, with a neat interface for Web and News alerts. Google Local got a major interface upgrade, while Yahoo bought MusicMatch and A9 finally went live, but the biggest move was Jeeves, which upgraded a lot of services, adding MyJeeves.
October was Google’s last big month. Before “it” happened, MSN held its Search Champs, flying in search experts to test out the new engine months before it launched. Clusty launched, Yahoo Local went live, I finally got noticed when I posted about Gmail Atom feeds, the MSN Search Preview went online, My Yahoo launched, Bill Gross launched Snap, Google Print got bigger, Evan Williams said nice things about me, Yahoo uncluttered (somewhat), Yahoo revenues increased 212%, Larry and Sergey went to India, Howard Dean shilled for Yahoo. But on October 14, I attended Digital Life and saw firsthand the release of Google Desktop Search, which everyone treated like the second coming, and got a lot of notice for my post on Hello, Google’s instant messenger in Picasa. For the next several weeks, it seemed like Google was rocketing upwards, with a 105% increase in revenues, boosting Google stock to $175, a number it has stayed near for most of the time since, even though it approached $200. Google bought Keyhole, added merchant ratings to Froogle, Page and Brin hit the Forbes 400. Jeeves reported very good earnings. In a snapshot of things to come, MSN accidentally leaked its new search interface.
Google stayed back for the election (wisely, since their guy lost), but it did get embroiled in problems as its Desktop Search’s web history was declared a major privacy and security risk. Companies started bragging about their great PageRanks, Amazon started selling sex toys, and AskJeeves Local launched. I speculated on Google TV Search (and was proved prophetic by C|Net). Apple started promoting Spotlight, which shone a spotlight on how inadequate Google Desktop Search truly was. Gmail offered POP3 access, and Google doubled its official index count to eight billion (the actual number is higher than ten billion). That night, MSN Search Beta launched, too much acclaim for its technical wizardry. Google Images was revealed to be inadequate. InsideMicrosoft launched. Google stock plummeted after a lockup expiry. Google Scholar launched. Google opened a Kirkland office. The L.A. Times quoted me, and Target sold drugs.
December was all about MSN. Besides a “good enough as Google” search engine, MSN launched Spaces, a more mainstream blogging service, and later, the superior MSN Toolbar Suite. Overture settled its suit with Geico, not willing to take the risk Google would. Google Groups 2 got top billing, but it didn’t go over well. Yahoo announced its desktop search, and Jeeves delivered its. Google unveiled Google Suggest, which, because of its open architecture, has become more popular than some other, larger Google services, as well as announcing Google library search. Google beat Geico. Yahoo launched video search, while Blinkx launched TV search. Cindy McAffrey left.
Next: A look at what Google needs to think about to succeed in the coming year.
Slashdot introduces us to this analysis of Google Suggest, which goes even deeper than previous dissections of the Google Suggest engine. Some of the interesting discoveries:
A simple program which finds all possible suggestions for any given starting term.
Google Suggest ignores quotes.
Order is more important than the actual terms.
The number of suggestions is actually smaller than expected, making it possible for someone to implement Google Suggest on their own server, even implementing the whole thing in RAM (its that small).
The most startling thing is that Google Suggest is actually based more on searches than results. To explain: Google Suggest returns results that are not in Google’s index, or for terms that Google can never get to, because it indexes searches made as well as searches found. What does this mean? If you have typed a UPS tracking number into Google (something typical, because Google has searches for tracking numbers built it), it can find its way into Google Suggest. Just go there and type in “1ze” and watch the numbers pop up (all from packages delivered in the last six weeks). Does this mean credit card numbers could be in there as well? Less likely, but possible. Ironically, if you’ve ever searched for your credit card number to make sure it wasn’t publicly available, you may have inadverantly added it to Google Suggest. Oy.
Google Suggest - 12/10
Google Suggests Goooooooooooooooogle - 12/10
Google Suggest Tools - 12/11
The Google Suggest Complete My Sentence Game - 12/15
Google Suggests Guts Disassembled - 12/18
Google Suggest Poetry Generator - 12/20
Reader Brad has a post on his blog, bradsucks.net (I hate big egos), showing his Google Suggest Poetry Generator. Basically, you type a word, and it queries Google Suggest, picks a random next word, and keeps going. As Brad says:
[I]t hits Google with 40-50 queries each page load and is about the dumbest use of
Google’s vast resources I can think of.
Still, it can be fun:
google email addresses in uk universities
in australia bureau of statistics canada
savings bonds factory outlet covers
dvd recorder notes
buddy holly hunter
mountain bike trader
online radio stations
in blackpool tower perrin
Who wants to bet some aspiring rapper is going to view this as a treasure trove of lyrics? Google Suggest is off da’ hook!
Chris Justus, a blogger who examines server-side programming, has performed a “live autopsy” of Google Suggest, examining all the guts and explaining who it works. He discovers how Google Suggest breaks many conventions of web programming by fully utilizing advanced programming languages, much liek Gmail does. Google is really proving that there’s more you can do with the web than you think.
(via Google Blogoscoped)
Postscript: One guy comments that he basically stole the code and used it on his site. Google’s lawyers should be contacting him in 5… 4… 3… 2…
A poster at Slashdot points out the possibilities for fun with Google Suggest, so I suggest what I call:
The Google Suggest Complete My Sentence Game
The rules are simple: type a word or group of words that produces the funniest set of Suggestions. Examples:
Where are my…
I have a l…
lovely bunch of cocunuts
little sister they call her peep peep
list of folks i know
lovely bunch of coconuts lyrics
little shadow that goes in and out
Do 15 million people ask Google to find their kids and 4 million ask it where their panties are? And I’m glad to know so many people are singing on the net about their dreidels/dreidles/dreydls.
Post any funny ones that you find, I’ll collect the best ones.
Well, Google Glogoscoped has gone right ahead and set the standard for what craziness Google Suggest can suggest, and drawn up a nifty table that I would never steal and dump right in my own post:
|Type This …
||and Google suggests this
|When will I ever …
|Where in the world is m …
|Is there someone …
||out there for me
|What time does …
||it get dark
|Will I l …
||lose my hair
|Who said …
||I have a dream
|I want …
||I want a hippopotamus for christmas
|Who d …
||do I vote for
|Is Bush …
|I lost m …
|When will I …
|Who danced …
||the dance of seven veils
|Why is …
||the sky blue
|Why is …
||it important to vote
|Why is …
|I am …
|Will my …
|My next …
|I saw …
|I can’t …
||wait for the weekend
|I really want …
||one of those
|My sister is …
|How do you …
|How do you …
|Is my …
|Is my …
|Am I …
|How does one …
||become a saint
|How do people …
||live in the desert
||not to wear
|How do I spell …
||my name in Chinese
|Why is Google …
|My girlfriend …
|When do I say …
||I love you
Check out the Google Blog, which has a new post by Kevin Gibbs, creator of Google Suggest. He explains that he put it together in his 20% time (when Google employees can do anything not in their job description). Gotta love that program, which has shown some solid results. As he says:
The project stemmed from an idea I had a few months ago, and since then I’ve been working on it in my 20% time, which is a program where Google allows their employees to devote 20% of their working hours to any project they choose. What’s really amazed me about this project is how in a matter of months, working on my own, I was able to go from a lunch table conversation to launching a new service. In my opinion, this is one of the things that really makes Google a great place; that the company’s systems, resources and, most important, people are all aligned to make it as easy as possible to take an idea and turn it into something cool.
Plus, we have Segways.
sendRPCDone(frameElement, “slash”, new Array(”slashdot”, “slash”, “slashdot.org”, “slash dot”, “slash fiction”, “slashdot rss”, “slash and burn”, “slashdot.com”, “slash fanfiction”, “slashdotorg”), new Array(”8,960,000 results”, “2,770,000 results”, “1 result”, “389,000 results”, “802,000 results”, “2,540,000 results”, “470,000 results”, “1 result”, “132,000 results”, “966 results”), new Array(”"));
Cool stuff. Someone should devise a page that requests that data and uses it in some other, inventive way. I’m sure something can be done with it.
Also, we finally have an ABCs of Google. Poster Hatta lists the first result for each letter:
A is for Amazon
B is for Best Buy
C is for CNN
D is for Dictionary
E is for Ebay
F is for Firefox (yay!)
G is for Games
H is for Hotmail
I is for Ikea
J is for Jokes
K is for Kazaa
L is for Lyrics
M is for Mapquest
N is for News
O is for Online dictionary
P is for Paris Hilton (wtf?!)
Q is for Quotes
R is for Recipes
S is for Spybot
T is for Tara Reid
U is for Ups
V is for Verizon
W is for Weather
X is for Xbox
Y is for Yahoo
Z is for Zip Codes
Gotta love the WTF he put by Paris Hilton. Guaranteed that P and K won’t last forever. Dissapointing, though, that I’ll have to beat “News” if I ever want to be the number one N.
Postscript: Google Suggest makes for a decent spellchecker, allowing me to spell “exascerbating” properly.