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Blogs Added To Google Universal Search

Google Blog Search results are now making their way into Universal Search, furthering the use of Google search as a one-stop shop for all sorts of search types. You will now, on certain relevant topics, see a few blog results standing out in the middle of regular search results. Considering that Blog Search is buried in the more menu, this makes it more accessible for regular users and more discoverable for unfamiliar users.

December 19th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogsearch, Search | one comment

Google Desperate For Holiday Shoppers

Google really, really, really wants you to buy products while searching on Google (especially if you buy those products through overpromoted money-losing Google Checkout). Google continues to tweak its menu bar in an effort to grab more of those shoppers, first replacing the ever-useful Video link with one for Products, and now, changing Products to Shopping.

Google just isn’t getting enough shoppers, and it’ll keep changing things until it does. Don’t be shocked if tomorrow the Shopping link starts flashing and invites you to shoot the monkey, or something.

December 19th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Product Search, Search | no comments

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Nobody Wants To Be Google’s CFO?

It’s been four months since Google’s Chief Financial Officer George Reyes announced he was retiring as soon as a replacement was found, and Google has thus far had no luck picking one. Shouldn’t potential candidates be storming the gates, desperate for the job?

Well, there are a number of arguments against being CFO. For one, the stock is very expensive, and may not go up. Those stock options may now be as valuable as those that could be obtained at a smaller growing company, like Facebook. Also, Google’s executive core hasn’t exactly looked like a group some experienced businessmen would like to join, with adulterers and hard partying not seen at, say, Microsoft.

Plus, Google’s corporate culture and interview process aren’t going to be appealing to the best candidates. Google values education over experience, youth over experience, problem solving over track records. Top CFOs aren’t going to lower themselves to go through that process, and the type of people Google normally likes are wholly unqualified to run the financials of a $211 billion company.

If you could pick anyone in the entire business world, who would you hire as Google’s CFO? Would you even make them interview for it?

December 19th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Culture | one comment

Another Useless iGoogle Gadget: Yoda Translator

Here’s a crazy Gadget for your iGoogle personalized homepage (or the other places where such things can be added): Convert English to Yoda-Speak. Just enter anything in English, and it gets converted to backwards Yoda-language from the Star Wars movies. For instance, Lou Gehrig’s famous speech gets this line:

Today, myself, I consider myself, the luckiest man, of the earth on the face. Hmmmmmm.

And Dr. King apparently said:

Dream, I have, one day live in a nation, that my four little children will, be judged by the color of their skin where they will not, but of their character by the content. Herh herh herh.

Just terrible.
(via Digg)

You can add the Gadget to any web page, so it is embedded below after the jump:

December 19th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | iGoogle, Products, Humor | no comments

8 More Street View Cities

Eight more cities have been added to Google Maps Street View, letting you see these cities at street level for purposes no one has figured out (beyong amusement, of course):

  • Boston
  • Dallas
  • Detroit
  • Fort Worth
  • Indianapolis
  • Minneapolis
  • Providence
  • St. Paul

UPDATE: As Ionut points out, you can now embed Street View images in your website, like this:

View Larger Map

December 19th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Google Maps, Services | no comments

95.5% Uninterested In Google Docs

A recent NPD survey showed that an overwhelming number of PC users either have never heard of web-based Office suite alternatives, or have no interest in using them. 73.2% have never heard of them, 20.8% heard of them but never tried them, and 1.5% tried them, and never used them again. In addition, 2.1% sometimes use them (with 1.9% using them in addition to desktop apps), 2% often use them alongside desktop apps, and a scant 0.3% often use them and don’t use desktop apps.

Well, it’s a start.

So, why is the online productivity app struggling to take on with consumers? Are people too afraid of not having offline access? Are the features in Google Docs and the like just not powerful enough? Is Microsoft Office too entrenched? If Office so cheap ($150, $60 for students) that free isn’t enough of an improvement? If Office so easy to pirate that free is irrelevant?

These are the questions Google is going to have to answer over the next year if it wants Docs to actually mean anything in the larger marketplace. I’d argue that if Docs doesn’t get the number of users who often use their product up from 2.3% to at least 10%, and those that use it exclusively up from 0.3% to 5%, and do it by the end of next year, then it just doesn’t matter, and it probably never will.

December 19th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Docs, Products, Microsoft | 3 comments

Google Talk Translating Bot

Google Talk has added a number of bots that translate text for you, using Google’s Translation technology. To use them, just add the bot to your contact list. The bot names are all, with the name being the two letter language code being translated from, the number 2, and the two letter code for the language being translated too. The bot names are, as compiled by Ionut:

  • bg2en (Bulgarian->English)
  • de2en, en2de (German< ->English)
  • de2fr, fr2de (German< ->French)
  • el2en, en2el (Greek< ->English)
  • es2en, en2es (Spanish< ->English)
  • fi2en (Finnish->English)
  • fr2en, en2fr (French< ->English)
  • hi2en (Hindi->English)
  • hr2en (Croatian->English)
  • it2en, en2it (Italian< ->English)
  • ja2en, en2ja (Japanese< ->English)
  • ko2en, en2ko (Korean< ->English)
  • nl2en, en2nl (Dutch< ->English)
  • ru2en, en2ru (Russian< ->English)
  • uk2en (Ukrainian->English)
  • ur2en (Urdu->English)
  • zh2en, en2zh (Chinese< ->English)

As he points out, the Bulgarian, Finnish, Hindi, Croatian, Ukranian and Urdu languages are not available in the normal Google Translate service, but Google Talk has them anyway.

If you’re got an unlimited data plan and the ability to use Google Talk on your mobile, this is the easiest way to get a pocket translator.

December 19th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Talk, Products | no comments

YouTube Copyright Article #224

Yet another story about YouTube and copyright issues.

First off, a parody music video about the Web 2.0 world called “Here Comes Another Bubble” was taken down, after a photographer whose picture appeared in the video sicced a lawyer. This one’s been discussed to death in the blogosphere, though I’ll say this: A one-second use of a photo, especially of a person who likely did not sign a release for the photo, is almost certainly fair use, however the totality of the work could be ruled a copyright violation.

See, the video uses a lot of images that it did not seek permission for, and a court might decide that while use of a single image is fair use, a compilation of images is not fair use, and as a result the work, taken as a whole, violated multiple copyrights. And don’t use the parody defense, since the video is a parody of a song, not a parody of the photos, and parody allows you only to use the work being parodied, not other works by other creators.

Here’s the video, uploaded by another user, at least until this copy gets taken down:

Also, the Simpsons parodied a YouTube video, but didn’t ask permission to use the song. Since the song is a vital part of the work being parodied, it is legal use under parody law. Here’s the original video, a YouTube classic:

And the Homer Simpson version:

The Simpsons did do the right thing and contacted the creators, apologized, and promised to make things right. Despite having the law on their side, the significantly rich company did the human thing and the right thing, and they should be applauded.

And yes, someone even produced “Kitten Smokes On Toilet“, as shown at the end of the clip (though nothing happens in it):

Another “Kitten Smokes On Toilet“:

December 19th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | YouTube, Services | no comments