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Saturday, December 25, 2004
We've Moved!
now at
or, if you're lazy

RSS 2.0   Comments RSS 2.0
now at
or, if you're lazy
RSS 2.0   Comments RSS 2.0

That's it. My blogs have now moved to my own site and dedicated hosting. Only its more than just dedicated hosting. I put out the call not long ago for some good people, and I'm gathering together some very talented bloggers and net programmers to create the next thing in blogging, a blog news organization. We want to create a network of blogs that works together to create a news site, but without all the crap of traditional media (and I should know, I work for the bad guys as well). The Blog News Channel aims to be the first news organization to provide personal news, written by real people who you'll get to know, each covering a beat obsessively like any good blogger. Everything you liked about blogs, all in one place, arranged and organized in one place.

For now, we're still building the interface that makes it all tick, but four blogs are already up and running for you to digest. InsideGoogle and InsideMicrosoft retain exactly the same obsessive focus that brought you here in the first place. BusinessBits (RSS 2.0 / Comments RSS 2.0) written by Devin Reams, a business major at the University of Colorado at Boulder, will have a focus on corporate moves and the stock market (stay away from Google and Microsoft!). Finally, The Society Junta (RSS 2.0 / Comments RSS 2.0)is our look at politics, from "BFranklin", a longtime political blogger and insider. You can also go to our Open Source (RSS 2.0 / Comments RSS 2.0) blog, where Amit Agarwal will soon begin blogging about the open source movement and all those subversive computer movement like Linux and Firefox (think of it as the anti-InsideMicrosoft). Coming blogs will focus on independent films, Apple Computers, and Gadgets, plus I'm still recruiting bloggers for other subjects (if you're able, email me at

I think this can be the start of something special and new. If you'd like to be a part of it, let me know. I've got ambitious plans for (for now it just says hi, but bookmark it, because its going to get real interesting), and I'll need good people to lend a talented hand. Everybody, make the trek over there, because this post is the last one you'll see either at BlogSpot or LiveJournal, so I'll need you to change your bookmarks and RSS. I want to know what everyone thinks, so email and comment your butts off. Let's welcome the New Year with the Blog News Channel!

Postscript - I'd also like to give a major shoutout to Matt from LSBlog, who has given me an enormous amount of assistance. Without his help, this would have taken weeks, instead of six days. Check out his blogging software, LSBlog, at It has some major advanced features you wish your blogging software offered, and is definitely worth it.

Friday, December 24, 2004
Happy Holidays
I 'd like to wish a merry Christmas to all those who celebrate it, and happy holidays to everybody else, or at least happy vacation. Whether or not this is a special time of the year for you, use it as the opportunity it is and spend time with your loved ones. I've been to far too many sad occasions these last few months and trust me, you never know when you'll get another chance. Please, party, talk, and just sit around, but make the most of it.

Google Suggests Guts Disassembled - Part 2
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: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.

Related posts:
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

Googlers Grateful For Free Grubs
The San Francisco Chronicle has an article about Google's cafeteria, which provides 4,000 free meals for hungry Googlers all day. Apparently, 85% of the food is "healthy", like wheatgrass, grass-fed Angus beef, and all other sorts of organics. Hmm... I wonder if they also provide ethnic and religious foods, like a kosher or halal cafe?

Anyway, from what I've been told, Googlers like the food, but not as much as they like that its free. Some Google employees have been known to never purchase groceries anymore, getting three squares a day at the Googleplex, and making up for non-working days by eating out and ordering in. Come to Google at lunch, and don't be surprised if a large number of people who are eating there are not Google employees at all, but their family, guests, and business partners. Plenty of people who have access to the cafeteria, take advantage of it for the free food.

Well, good for them. I would too. Who doesn't want a well-prepared entirely free meal? Do you have any idea what it costs me to eat in Manhattan?

Hmm... Does Google's New York office have a cafeteria?

Google Doodle IX.5
Google Doodle IX.5

What the---? So the water both froze the logo and turned the snowballs into snowcones? Are there normally rabbits in the arctic? Are they selling the snowcones, that they made for free? I know you guys are confused, because the last post got a bunch of comments. Does this new Doodle confirm or inspire any new wackjob theories?

Well, the Google Blog has commented on an element of this "controversy". Apparently, they received an email:
In reference to holiday illustration #3, I am curious as to how the larger polar bear learned, over a period of a few days, how to roll blobs of snow in almost perfect spheres. I mean, wouldn't this require a few thousand years of mental evolution, not to mention the concept of throwing objects and the idea of guessing how much power to put behind their throw in order for the snowball to land in an acceptable radius of the target...

...Well, we won't have to worry about this because apparently the larger polar bear got preoccupied with hosing down the O for no apparent or logical reason. And how exactly can this hose have running water if they are in the Arctic tundra? I'll give your illustrator the benefit of the doubt but come on... Unless the polar bears have developed a heating system for their water supply in order to prevent freezing, this wouldn't be possible. And please, don't use the common "well, they stole the hose from the humans which already have heating methods under development." That is such a cliché...

...Also, considering the size of the polar bear and the circumference of the hose, why would he or she even need help with controlling it? It just seems like the back polar bear is holding up the hose just for the sake of holding up the hose. I mean, these are powerful bears. They can control a small hose with a medium sized jet of water gushing out without requiring the assistance of another bear...

...And where exactly did they learn that holding the back of the hose stabilizes the front part? I'm assuming there isn't a television anywhere close to them. Did they just somehow, by the luck of the draw, decide to hold the hose in that certain way which is so conveniently similar to the method fire fighters use to stabilize their hoses? One final observation: there are more snowballs in picture number 3 than there are in picture number 2. Where did the extra ones come from and why did the polar bear decide to leave them sitting there if he took the time to neatly organize his previously?
And their response:
Dear User:

Thank you for your recent email. We appreciate your concern but must confess to considerable bewilderment with regard to various statements you make about the home page doodle of 12/22/04. First, what makes you assert that those are "almost perfect spheres?" If you look more closely, you'll see that the snowballs in question are in fact somewhat oblong, which is to say, wholly producible by a polar bear paw. Second, why would you assume that the polar bear threw the snowballs into that pile, when placing them there would be much easier?

[regarding the running water in the Arctic] Again with the erroneous assumptions. In this case, you conclude that the presence of a heated hose derives not from nearby humans, but from some technologically advanced and therefore highly unlikely polar bear society, because having humans produce the hose "is such a cliché." Well, life is full of clichés; their prevelance, in fact, is precisely what makes them clichés. As for why the polar bear is hosing down the O: we expect that the past few days have by now made clear that this series of doodles is telling a story whose conclusion none of us have yet to grasp.

Well, this being a holiday doodle and Google being a family-friendly company, the polar bear story has a family-oriented holiday theme; i.e., the daddy polar bear is spraying down the O as part of a plan to (as you must by now realize) decorate it in a festive manner, and the baby polar bear is "helping."

Dude, in the interim of time which elapsed between doodle #2 and doodle #3, they made more snowballs, okay? And in the interim of time which elapsed since we began this response, our attitude toward you, dear correspondent, has segued from righteous indignation at your illogical attack on our graphic designer to warm-hearted gratitude that you cared enough to write to us in the first place. We love all our users, especially those who take the time to brighten our day with such graceful, witty emails. Enjoy the rest of Dennis' holiday doodles. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Michael Krantz
Google Blog Team
Naturally, this answer was evasive and didn't address the issues present in the melting colors, so I fired off an email:
Michael (or whoever answers the Google Blog emails),

We've been having a confused discussion over at InsideGoogle about Google Doodle IX. While the letter writer makes some excellent points, there is far more confusion about Doodle IX.4. No one seems to understand what in god's name is going on when the hose causes the Google logo to melt and turn the snowballs various colors. What the hell is going on? Did someone at Google have too much eggnog at the office Christmas party?

Nathan Weinberg
Jeez, will this ever end (or at least make sense)?

UPDATE: Zorgloob also has the information that the filenames are all Korean, which makes sense since logo creator Dennis Hwang is Korean:

Thursday, December 23, 2004
Will Google Buy Community Photo Service?
There has been a bit of quiet rumbling lately that we'll see a Google aquisition of community photo service Flickr, or perhaps Fotki early next year. With Picasa 2.0 coming (source: USA Today), the word is Google wants the key to the new Picasa's success to be photo sharing, and Flickr/Fotki would be the key. There's a few reasons why this could happen:Adam Lasnik at BLADAM predicts Google will release Picasa 2 on February 15 (very specific... what does he know?), with the Flickr aquisition coming 45 days later. Picking uo Flickr, with fun attitude, small and smart team, open API, "not-evil" history, and considerably large user base (150,000 users and 1.8 million images, according to Fast Company) would be a great asset to Google, and repair the fact that none of its community products (Blogger, Groups, Orkut) work very well. This is an area Microsoft is making serious and successful moves in, and Google would do well to not cede this battle to Redmond. I would call it a very smart move.

Google Doodle IX.4
Google Doodle IX.4

I don't get it at all. Look at the sequence. First the bears are dancing. Then, one makes snowballs while the other builds a snow wall (fort?). Then they use a hose on the Google logo, which presumably freezes it. Now all of a sudden the logo is melting and turning the snowballs different colors? What?

Google AdWords Search Engine
Are you sick of searching Google and getting actual information? Would you rather just get only paid results, the most relevant ads for your keyword? Well, Search Engine Roundtable has noticed the link at the bottom of many ad blocks on Google Search that just says "more". Clicking on it will get you all the ads for that keyword. What does all this translate to? A search engine for Google ads, arranged in a clear order that lets you know which ads Google considers most relevant. It is available via the URL[query], replacing [query] with the actual search term. Or, if you're lazy, click this search for "fish" and then search from the search box at the top of the page. Sure, if this were the regular Google, we'd all be complaining, but by itself it has some good uses.

UPDATE - Dirson rightly points out that there is a much simpler URL:

Wednesday, December 22, 2004
John Battelle Predictions For 2005
John Battelle did a very good job with his predictions for 2004, and his look ahead for 2005 looks pretty solids as well. Go read his post in a new windows, and come back here for my thoughts.What else will happen? Will MSN Search continue to grab headlines and red state net users? Will Google finally open up and reveal what goes on inside its walls? Will blogging conquer its problems with ethics and editing? Will Desktop Search ever live up to the hype? Will Google conquer search spam? Will Google Images ever get updated? Will Slate still exist? Will MSNBC still exist? Will Steve Ballmer start blogging (Bill Gates never will)? Will newspapers ever catch on with younger people?

AOL To Offer Free Webmail
AOL is beta testing a free webmail service with its members that will soon be made available to the public. The service is called "AOL Mail on the Web" and offers 100 megabytes of storage. C|Net reports that the service has an advanced interface similar to Outlook (screenshot), with an address book, advanced message search, and spam control. This is part of AOL's initiative to move services outside the subscriber firewall, and with the upcoming AOL Browser and AOL Desktop Search, 2005 may be the first positive year for AOL in a long time.

Google Year-End Interactive Zeitgeist
Google Interactive Zeitgeist 2004
Google has released its end of the year Zeitgeist for 2004, highlighting the top searches of the year, and in order to top everyone else's, Google's is interactive, made with Flash. Lots of interesting factoids and trivia bits (one day, you will be able to buy a Google Zeitgeist family game, mark my words), including lots of things you may have forgotten, or wish you had, including:
The South Beach diet
Howard Dean
Spalding Gray
Janet Jackson @ the Super Bowl
New Zealand and the Lord of the Rings
Martha Stewart
Avian flu
Gay marriage in San Francisco
The Passion of the Christ
Kobe Bryant on trial
The Madrid terrorist bombing
Omarosa in The Apprentice
Gmail unveiled
Pat Tillman
Fantasia Barrino winning American Idol
John Kerry's daughter in a see-through dress
Nick Berg
The Friends finale
Smarty Jones
Lynndie England and Abu Graib
Ronald Reagan dies
Farenheit 9/11
John Kerry, Barack Obama and the Democratic National Convention
Maria Sharapova!
Lance Armstrong - six in a row
Swift Boat Veterans for truth
Spider-man 2
The Athens Olympics and Michael Phelps
Google goes public
Hurricanes in Florida
George W. Bush, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Rudy Giuliani and the Republican National Convention
Rick James dies
Oprah gives away 276 cars
Hostage situation ends in disaster in Chechnya
Ray Charles dies
Britney Spears marries
Dan Rather and the National Guard scandal
Christopher Reeve dies
Vioxx recalled
SpaceShipOne makes history
John Stewart on Crossfire
The Red Sox win (and the Yankees lose!)
The presidential debates
Ashlee Simpson "sings" on SNL
Yasser Arafat dies
President Bush reelected
Halo 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and Half-Life 2 released
MSN Search and Toolbar Suite
Scott Peterson sentenced to die
Bernard Kerik
Pregnant mother brutally murdered
I've added a few things Google left out. Other companies have released a list of their top search keywords:

America Online

Google Doodle IX.3

Just what are those bears up to?

The Future: Journalism Is Dead

This Flash video is just unbelievable. I love it and hate it at the same time. EPIC 2014, by Robin Sloan, chronicles what will happen over the next four years, as companies like Google tear down all notions of information and news media, destroying traditional media institutions and giving every user access to information that is as personalized and communal as it is sensational and devoid of ethics. I agree that, the way things are going, traditional media will be destroyed by the internet. However, I believe that a new form of media can be created on the internet, one that leverages citizen journalism with old media rules of ethics and organization. You'll see more of what I mean over the next few weeks. Is traditional media dying? Yes, but that doesn't mean that the news has to die as well.
(via Alex Barnett)

Email Firm Pimps Gmail For Publicity
IncrediMail is proud to announce that Gmail users can access their Gmail through IncrediMain by POP3 access... just like every email provider on the planet. Taking a play from the Stupid Google Press Release file, IncrediMail figures it'll get free publiciy by adding something like four lines of code to its email program to make it so Gmail users only have to enter a username and password to get POP3 through their program. Well, just like with the PageRank releases, I'm sure it'll work out just fine. I should release a press release, too.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Too Many Google Ads?
The Unofficial Google Weblog asks "Why so many ads, Google?" I've noticed that on some very popular searches, Google displays as many ads as the page will fit. I searched for domain registration, and even though I ask for 100 results per page, Google managed to have ads the whole way down. Same thing Brad Hill discovered on a search for MP3 players. Are people okay with this? It doesn't seem that way all the time, but often enough to be noticed.

GoogleBot: Interview
Phillip Lensen has scored a major scoop, an interview with the ever elusive GoogleBot. GB paints a tragic, haunting figure, laid-back, carefree, aware of his own mortality, but unconcerned. Truly, the saddest thing I've read all day. But whatever. He's lazy. "I don't do ranking"? Get off your college-educated pot-smoking good-for-nothing butt and do some real work! Sheesh!

New Worm Uses Google, Just Like Everybody Else
The Net-Worm.Perl.Santy.a worm uses Google to find websites running vulnerable versions of phpBB, and then defaces their homepages.
"This is a little hint of what's coming in 2005," cautions Timothy Keanini, chief technology officer for nCircle Network Security Inc., a network security company. "All the technology that makes us more efficient makes the bad guys more efficient, too."
You have to believe on some level, someone at Google is thinking, "Yeah, they used our search engine. Not Yahoo, not MSN, not Jeeves. Us. Because we're the most eficient way to find anything." Still, Google must use its powers only for good.

Google Doodle IX.2

Monday, December 20, 2004
Search Engine Forums Blow Things Out Of Proportion
Rich Ord explains at WebProNews how a rumor spread through Search Engine Watch forums, Webmasterworld, and eventually MarketingVox that Google was going to limit ads to only one per page. Obviously, that would have been a revenue damaging move, and the rumor was a misunderstanding of the new policy on affiliate ads. Still, another example of why I don't report on message board rumors.

Google Deskbar Plugins
Google Blogoscoped points out the GDeskbar site, filled with plugins for the Google Deskbar. The site has:

Picasa 2.0 Coming In January
USA Today has a story on what Google 2005 will bring. Included in the tidbits is this:
A new, greatly enhanced — and still free — version of Picasa will be released in January.
Google also plans expansions of Orkut and Keyhole and their anathema to ever being a portal. Also, analyst Mark Mahaney continues to speak of gloom and doom for the stock, since the company's lack of disclosure presents serious risks.

Compare All The Desktop Search Tools
Goebel Group has put together a handy matrix to compare all the major free desktop search systems. It looks at
Autonomy Beta 1.7
Ask Jeeves Desktop Search
DT Search
Google Desktop Search
MSN Toolbar Suite
and compares them on:
Download size
Operating System
System Requirements
File types
Browser Supported
Content Integration
Enterprise Integration
(via Search Engine Watch)

Google Loses Top Executive
Cindy McCaffrey, Google's Vice President of Corporate Marketing and with the company practically since the beginning, has announced she's leaving. McCaffrey is in many ways responsible for Google's low-key ad strategy that has relied more on word-of-mouth than anything else, according to SiliconBeat. Because she's been around so long, she can retire on the millions she likely made in the IPO, a great capper to a 20-year career in the P.R. business, which she pursued after a shorter career as a reporter. Danny Sullivan calls her one of Google's "secret weapons". John Battelle also reminisces, giving Cindy credit for "the most unprecedented run of good press in modern corporate history".
Hey Google, you looking to hire any reporters?

Celebrex Soars, At Least In Ad Dollars
Celebrex, the keyword, has soared, as personal injury attorneys scramble to buy the keyword for big bucks at Overture and AdWords, MarketWatch is reporting. The Overture cost of Celebrex soared from 95 cents on Friday to $4.02 today, following news that the FDA was considering regulatory measures for the best-selling arthritis drug. Celebrex is expected to top ten dollars, but not reach the heights of Vioxx, which reched $40 per click within two weeks of its withdrawl from the market. Vioxx still sells at about $9.
(via Search Engine Watch)

The Google Story
Search Engine Watch's Gary Price posts that Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post reporter David Vise has signed a book deal for The Google Story, a "a chronological narrative that also embraces the populist style of the company, its technological expertise and the challenges success has brought". Expect more similar announcements, as Google remains "hot". The abstract from the PublishersWeekly story (evil subscription hides the rest):
Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post business reporter David Vise has signed with Ann Harrisat Bantam Dell to write The Google Story, which traces the search engine from its founding by a pair of graduate students in 1998 to its global reach and multibillion-dollar revenues today.

Google Patches Desktop Security Flaw
Google has patched a security flaw in its Desktop Search product that would have allowed an attacker to search the contents of a user's system.

The flaw was discovered by two Rice University graduate students, who figured out two different attack scenarios that could be used to exploit the vulnerability. The two students were, as part of their final project for their Computer Systems Security class, conducting a security audit of the search tool. You can read their report as a PDF on the Rice university website (they only released their paper after Google fixed the flaw). The flaw was related to the way Google integrates Desktop Search results into regular searches. Apparently, the flaw even allowed attackers to use wi-fi connections to attack the user's computer without even tricking the user into visiting the attacker's website.

I bet they got an A.

Some new details learned about how GDS integrates with Google Search. Apparently, when Google said it didn't access any of your local data, it wasn't kidding. There's no code in Google Search that calls for GDS to see if its there. Instead, GDS intercepts web requests to and runs it through the program instead of the website. Basically, you send a request to Google, GDS intercepts it and sends it out, then, when Google returns the request, GDS intercepts it again and inserts the local results. This works well enough that you can trick Google into returning different local results than web results. There's lots of interesting data about the infrastructure of GDS in the paper.

All versions of GDS 121004 and above are protected against the flaw. Mine hasn't been updated yet. Has yours? Check the GDS "About" page.
(via eWeek, New York Times)

UPDATE: The Google blog comments, and a version history page is now up.

Google Suggest Poetry Generator
Reader Brad has a post on his blog, (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!

Google Doodle IX Is Here
The irregular series of themed Google Doodles, now in its ninth iteration, has arrived, as Google Doodle IX brings a holiday theme to everyone's favorite search engine. Expect new Google Doodles every day for the next few days, starting with today's:

Yahoo also has a holiday logo:

Postscipt - When I said "everyone's favorite search engine", I didn't mean to discriminate against those who don't believe in Google.

Postpostscrips - Great, now I've basically compared Google to Jesus. That'll go over real well.

BusinessWeek: Page And Brin "Great Innovators"
BusinessWeek has been publishing all year its list of the greatest innovators of the last 75 years. Last month they included Bill Gates, and this week its Larry Page and Sergey Brin, innovators in information. Explaining how Google had great tech and no business model:
Although the Google founders were sure their technology was a quantum leap forward, they had no clue how to turn it into a business. Initially they scorned the notion of accepting ads. But after a competitor began selling ads around search results for sizable profits, Google followed suit.

Google Sending Out AdSense Christmas Gifts
Google has sent out these tiny, cool looking radios to certain AdSense publishers (not me). This is an extension of their tradition of sending Christmas presents to AdWords customers. More info at Dirson.

Take A Stroll Through The GooglePlex
6S Marketing president Chris Breikss has thrown up some (very well presented) photos of his visit to the Googleplex just prior to Halloween 2004 (which explains why Google appears to house a coven of devil worshipers). Man, that is one pretty building. Also, where can I get a cool real-time Google Query screen? Did you know Elvis Presley is a member of the AdWords team?
(via Aaron Swartz)

Sunday, December 19, 2004
So, I'm slowly making my way through the list of bloggers interested in joining in my plan to create a network within the blogosphere. I'm in the process of contacting everyone back. You can still contact me (I can never have too many good people). I've pretty much settled on a domain, but if anyone knows of a good, available domain, I could use some help. More importantly, I need advice on web hosting providers, so please contact me at if you can help, or to submit your interest in signing up. I would recommend sending a link to your blog, or something you've written extensively about online, since if you don't, I'll just be asking you for it anyway. I also need someone with experience in website programming, specifically some more advanced techniques (you'll see what I mean).

Anyway, why should you be interested? The pitch:

There are countless thousands of blogs out there. So many bloggers write for months and give up when they realize they have no audience. I'm looking for the bloggers who are willing to post numerouse times per day in a news-driven style about targetted topics, so as to leverage the blogs against each other, creating a blog network that takes advantage of the combined strength of all the bloggers involved. I need well-spoken bloggers who are looking to increase their visibility, and are willing to be consistent, dependable, and professional enough to earn the respect of the blogosphere.

If you want an example of what I mean by consistent and news-driven, just read this site. I post 2-300 times per month, and my goal is a simple one: Don't miss a single news item. If you can offer me a decent commitment, I can offer you a decent opportunity.

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