Latest InsideMicrosoft Posts: InsideGoogle: 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Scoble Likes Google The Best
Robert Scoble, a major blogger who is also a "technical evangelist" at Microsoft, says in his post "Just a little search comparison":
Personally, I still like Google the best. Why? MSN and Yahoo push their results down with too much advertising.
Danny Sullivan at the Search Engine Watch blog actually holds up a ruler to his screen to vet Scoble's assertion. His findings are that it's basically true. MSN's search results are actually at the same height as Google's, but Google fills the intervening space more with News and Desktop search results, while MSN has all ads (and Yahoo puts a billion ads, relatively speaking). Of course, Jeeves is the worst offender.

Judge Denies Google Summary Judgement In Geico Case
John Battelle reports that the judge in the Geico vs. Google case has denied Google summary judgement to dismiss the case. A summary judgement is where a party asks to dismiss because the case has no merit (which I, and obviously the judge, would disagree with). John, and the Unofficial Google Weblog both point out that this case isn't getting the coverage it deserves, so much so that even news like this requires some deep digging.

More on the Geico case:
Geico Gets The Go-Ahead To Sue Google And Overture (9/3)
Should Google Ban Trademarks? (11/14)

Content Management Systems And Pay-For-Blogging
Search Engine News Journal has two interesting articles today. The first discusses using blogs as a marketting tool. The second talks about Content Management Systems and SEO. Why am I pointing out these? I find it curious seeing these articles posted almost simulaneously, as they relate to Marqui's new pay-for-blogging program, which begins tomorrow (more on that later).

Mark Mahaney Finally Comes Around; Google Gets $215 Price Target
American Technology Research analyst Mark Mahaney, who has been one of Google's stock's biggest detractors, has given the stock a $215 price target, saying it will increase 17% from current prices. The article also points out that Google's float is very limited compared to similar companies, like Yahoo. Even after all the stock is made available, there will still be significantly fewer Google shares than Yahoo shares, keeping demand relatively high.

Monday, November 29, 2004
Google! Go Get Me A Pizza!
Phillip at Google Blogoscoped has created a mock-up of what he calls "Google Brain", which demonstrates an intelligent, back-and-forth question-and-answer session with Google. The idea is to replace the standard search engine with an automated bot that figures out what you want. The "demo" shows a person who clearly has no clue how to power search (like 80-90% of searchers), and how the bot walks the searcher through it to find what he or she is looking for. Cool stuff.

Google News Inaccessible From China
Interfax reports that Chinese users have been unable to get to the english version of Google News. Evidence suggests it is being blocked by China's firewall. This comes after several other issues Google has had with Chinese censorship tactics.
(via John Battelle)

TV Search Is Coming
Cnet's Stefanie Olsen reports that Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are working on digital video search tools. Google's is reportedly the most ambitious plan, with the search giant working together with broadcasters to create a TV search engine, something I correctly predicted they were working on over three weeks ago. Microsoft's efforts center on interactive cable TV, while Google's focus more on broadband internet users. Yahoo, meanwhile, simply wants to index already available multimedia content, much like AOL's Singingfish already does.
Google's project for TV search is ultra-secretive; only a handful of broadcast executives have seen it demonstrated so far. To build the service, the company is recording live TV shows and indexing the related closed-caption text of the programming. It uses the text to identify themes, concepts and relevant keywords for video so they can be triggers for searching.
(via The Unofficial Google Weblog)

Advanced Users Video Guide To Google
Phillip Lensen of Google Blogoscoped has put together a comprehensive, 23 minute video showing how to use all the advanced features Google offers to their fullest. And, for a little fun, he points to a cartoon: "Before the Internet".

Sunday, November 28, 2004
Google, Oracle, Sun Scramble To Aquire "Nuclear Patents"
Commerce One, a bankrupt software company, is selling off its assets. These assets include 39 patents, some of which include the protocols used for exchanging business documents over the web. Naturally, this has worried every major net business, since it is believed that some company could snatch up the patents (completely violating the purpose of patent law, which is to protect the creator, not the holder of a random document) and begin suing every business on the internet. So, to combat what the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Jason Shultz described as "nuclear material" that shouldn't fall into the wrong hands, some of the biggest net companies have banded together, including Google, Oracle, Sun, and more than a dozen others, into a nonprofit group called CommerceNet, who plan to buy the patents and summarilly trash them.

This really needs to stop. It's bad enough when companies file for patents they have no right to own. But that a company should be allowed to auction off patents to the highest bidder; patents to items that are clearly publicly available (internet protocols) and thus have no value in their own usage; patents which have usage in only one aspect: lawsuits; this has to stop. Why doesn't the governement have any controls over this kind of "patents as a form of rape" usage of a system it owns. Couldn't there simply be a law that states:
"Under no circumstances can a company sell a patent in and of itself. A patent is a property connected with a product, individual, or company, and may only be transferred not through the sale of itself, but through the sale of the attached product, individual, or company. A sale of a patent for pure monetary purposes shall deem that patent void, for all purposes, especially litigation."
Currently, patent law states:
Under no circumstanes may this law be applied in a sane, rational manner honoring the spirit in which it was intended. Under no circumstances shall a company be called to task for being complete douches, for that is the way we were taught in law school. Neener neener neener.
Seriously, that's the passage from the patent law. I swear. You can look it up.

But seriously, this should not be neccessary. I'm the first one to step up and ask the government to stop getting involved in our lives, but I'm also the first one to explain that the governement needs to step in and fix its own messes. You crapped on my floor? You mop it up. Don't force companies to buy the patents to avoid some kind of ridiculous blackmail scheme. It's like when someone figured out you could be the web addresses of popular brand names that had yet to do so themselves, and then wait for that company to show up and pat hundreds of thousands of dollars for the domain name. The government showed up there and made the practice illegal. Why isn't patent blackmail illegal, if all other forms of blackmail are? Why is it the only form of blackmail created, sanctioned and supported by the governement? See a problem here? I do.

Investors (wisely?) Bet Against Google
CBS MarketWatch reports (registration required) that in the month ending Novemeber 15, short selling of Google stock (that is, betting that it will go down) rose 35%.Considering that since then, Google dropped $40, it seems like it was a safe bet. Of course, the stock recovered half of that slide, so, like any good bet, you gotta know when the stocck is about to turn the other way. I wonder if anyone made a lot of money off the slide?

Saturday, November 27, 2004
Taget Pushes Drugs
NOTE: If you are linking, DO NOT link to this post. Link to this one. This post has a misspelling, and I cannot fix it without deleting the post, so I must keep the misspelled one while referring everyone to the corrected post. Please oblige, if you have any understanding about PageRank.

Check it out, Target has marijuana for $25.25! You know why this bothers me? Two reasons. First, there's no proper product description. Where was it grown? What additives can we expect? Where's the photo? Most importantly, how much do I get for $25.25? Also, it says "Free Shipping - when you spend $30". Always like a pusher, trying to hassle you into buying more. Thanks to reader Coolz0r for the heads-up.

UPDATE: tricia_rva2 notes in the LiveJournal comments that Target is also selling Crack for $11.66. Also, I feel like a true idiot for posting this with a misspelled title, but if I fix the misspelling, Blogger changes the URL and I lose my backlinks and referrals. Brilliant bit of programming there!

Comments on this story:

Steve Rubel: Dear Target, a PR crisis is brewing for your company in the blogosphere. Please tell me you're listening. Love, Steve
Neville Hobson: Target, is this really someting you want to be doing?
Jeremy Zawodny: Jesus Fu@%ing Christ, people. It's a stupid mistake.
Larry Borsato: Wow, you really can get more than ever at Target.

Target Pushes Drugs
Check it out, Target has marijuana for $25.25! You know why this bothers me? Two reasons. First, there's no proper product description. Where was it grown? What additives can we expect? Where's the photo? Most importantly, how much do I get for $25.25? Also, it says "Free Shipping - when you spend $30". Always like a pusher, trying to hassle you into buying more. Thanks to reader Coolz0r for the heads-up.

UPDATE: tricia_rva2 notes in the LiveJournal comments that Target is also selling Crack for $11.66. Also, I feel like a true idiot for posting this with a misspelled title, but if I fix the misspelling, Blogger changes the URL and I lose my backlinks and referrals. Brilliant bit of programming there!

Comments on this story:

Steve Rubel: Dear Target, a PR crisis is brewing for your company in the blogosphere. Please tell me you're listening. Love, Steve
Neville Hobson: Target, is this really someting you want to be doing?
Jeremy Zawodny: Jesus Fu@%ing Christ, people. It's a stupid mistake.
Larry Borsato: Wow, you really can get more than ever at Target.

Another AdWords Lawsuit
John Battelle notes that another company has sued over a trademarked AdWords ad, but this time the company, Brannock, is suing the adbuyer, ABC Industries, instead of Google. Remember how I said Google would lose the Geico suit? If they can convince more companies to sue the adbuyer, they might just walk away scot-free.
Other related posts:
Another Company Sues Google (9/20)
German Court Throws Out Google Keyword Lawsuit (9/21)
Should Google Ban Trademarks? (11/14)

Search The Web For Media Files

The AOL multimedia search engine Singingfish now has a new beta interface. It seems a breeze to use, complete with a bunch of options all on the search page, the ability to save searches, random results ("I'm Bored" button), and most popular results (plus editor's picks). Singingfish has an adult content filter, and lists the format of the video or audio before you click on it (although the duration listing is almost always false). The number one result for Google is an NPR interview with Dave Gorman, talking about his Googlewhack Adventure.
(via Search Engine Watch, Google Blogoscoped)

Oh, How I Love Thee, L.A. Times
From the front page of today's Los Angeles Times business section:
Nathan Weinberg, a New York-based blogger who has ridiculed the rash of Google-oriented releases, had a suggestion: "Perhaps Google can boost its stock by announcing it has entered a strategic partnership with Google?"
Of course, writer Chris Gaither is referencing my posts on stupid PageRank press releases. I've been waiting all week for them to run that article so I could brag about another mainstream media mention. Ahhh, it feels good to be noticed.

Friday, November 26, 2004
Three More Google Execs Sell Stock, But GOOG Up $18
Google's Chief Financial Officer George Reyes, VP of Product Management Jonathon J. Rosenberg and Senior VP Omid Kordestani all announced plans today to sell over 327,000 shares of company stock, as part of trading plans similar to those announced last week by Google's top 3. Even with those two bits of news, Google has rebounded handily from its second post-lock-up slide, which saw shares tumble from a high of $201.60 on 11/3 to $161.31 on Monday. Three days of solid trading (markets were closed Thanksgiving) saw the shares inch back up to today's $179.39 close. Expect to see a similar tumble and recovery around next month's lock-up expiry.

Thursday, November 25, 2004
Google Releases Software Suite
Just like I first reported last month, Google has released all of its major free software as a single download, now available on the Google Software Downloads page. The programs included are Google Toolbar, Google Desktop Search, Picasa, Google Deskbar, and Gmail Notifier. Expect Hello to join these whenever Google determines it "ready for prime time".
(via Dirson)

Happy Thanksgiving!
Happy Turkey Day! Except for those of you in Turkey, for whom I say, "Happy Day In Turkey!" Or vegetarians: "Happy Non-Turkey Based Synthetic Alternative Day!"

Today's Google Doodle (at least according to Rustybrick, since I'm not seeing anything now):

Ask Jeeves:

Referencing the Jeeves Macy's balloon:


Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Gmail Deskbar Plugin
Netdroid has created a plugin for the Google Deskbar that lets you check your Gmail through it. You can also search your Inbox, drafts, or only unread messages. Looks cool, works very well. Now if I could only get a Gmail Notifier built into the Deskbar, I would be in heaven.

UPDATE: I spoke to Netdroid again (and he mentions some of this in the comments) and you can expect future versions of the plugin to contain a notifier (yay!) and a compose feature. I'm thinking that if he shows you can build a notifier into the Deskbar, then I need someone to build plugins to replace all those little memory resident programs I use with Deskbar versions. Wouldn't a Bloglines notifier be cool? Or, if you are truly bold, try to integrate full programs into it, like instant messaging, other email services, or even Windows Media Player. Can you imagine not having to open any of those programs, and instead just using one centralized interface? I'm not saying all of that is possible, but wouldn't it be great to try?

Google Desktop Only Receives 640,000 Downloads
John Battelle reports on a Majestic study that shows Google Desktop Search having been downloaded only 640,000 times, small numbers when you compare it to WinZip, which receives 450,000 downloads a week. Is Google looking at these numbers and working ot improve the product? I hope so.

Gmail Adds Inline Images
Gmail has added a new feature that displays multiple images attachments with thumbnails in emails, as opposed to just displaying them as links. This is a great addition, one that many users have wanted for a while. It actually looks very similar to Gmail Image Viewer, which I posted about last Monday. I have to wonder if Google didn't see that tool and went ahead and added the functionality to Gmail. Thanks to Google Blogoscoped for noticing and getting me to check my own account for the function.

Russell Beattie Gets Google News Bombed
John Battelle, Google Blogoscoped, and Russel's own blog report that mobile blogger Russell Beattie has been struck with the first reported Google News bomb. Russell, you may remember, was the blogger who was hours away from his job interview with Google, and decided to turn them down instead. Well, last week Russell interviewed with and got a job at Yahoo instead. Now, Jacek Rutkowski, the rapscallion who runs MS Mobiles, has written a "Press Release" titled Yahoo Mobile (main enemy of Google) hires incompetent leftist cell phone blogger Russell Beattie. Jacek has since declared a truce with Russell, as detailed on Russell's site, and the offending page has been taken down, but the headline and snippet:
Jeremy Zawodny, a Polish-American working at Yahoo, has managed to arrange a job for Russell Beattie, who has been fired lately from Nokia-owned Wavemarket
remain in Google News, sitting ugly at the top spot for searches of Russell's name and Yahoo Mobile, near the top on Yahoo blogger, and about 60 results deep on a search for Yahoo.

Now, is there any good reason for a site that is almost crearly a blog to be listed on Google News? Well, there is some precedent; Slashdot is listed. I believe Google News does not accept blogs, except those that deal almost exclusively in delivering news, which Jacek's site does seem to do. However, personal attacks should not end up getting spidered.

At my newspaper, our site gets listed in Google News, and while some of our opinion articles are personal attacks that get listed, since the site is filled with articles from a large staff no one could be accused of using it for any personal vendetta. Any writer has to get story approval before he submits it, then it has to be vetted afterwards by anywhere from a minimum of three up to possibly ten people. A site like Jacek's which is run by one guy, no matter how "newsie" it is, is still too personal for Google News, and should be removed. The criteria for Google News should not be "no blogs" but rather: "No editor, no listing".

Lastly, any proper article must always contain a devil's advocate, and here's that. While Russell is certainly justified in being incensed, Russell is not just angry about the content; he seems mad at Jacek himself. Now, I know from experience that for most smaller sites on Google News, Google News becomes your number one referrer. It is possible Russell wants to destroy Jacek's site (and thus his revenue, and thus destroy Jacek himself) by removing him from Google News. Not that he's wrong, but his motives are suspect.

Also, Russell may not be innocent of conducting the same sort of attack. He has title his post "Jacek Rutkowski", and the opening sentence is "In case you don't know it, Jacek Rutkowski from has real problems and now I'm the target of his crazed obsessions." Search for jacek rutkowski on Google and what do you get? Blogs referencing Russell's post on Jacek fill the top seven results. Since it appears Jacek does not have a strong vanity search, by the time of the next Google Dance, expect Russell's post to be firmly entrenched in the top spot, since it is titled after the guy's name. Not only that, but the snippet is guaranteed to include the line "Jacek Rutkowski from has real problems". Looks to me like Russell has Google Bombed Jacek, and a lot more effectively.

Who's at fault? Jacek, of course. He started this (unless there's more we haven't been told) and as a result, he's responsible if any fallout blows up in his face. I doubt Russell was intentionally bombing Jacek, but we know what Jacek's intentions were when he wrote his article. There is a part of me that feels it would be more fitting if Russell intentionally bombed Jacek, but I just don't believe it. Plus, I'm very insulted about the "Polish" crack about Jeremey Zawodny. Some members of my family came from Poland, and its just such a childish insult for someone who purports to be a journalist.

The final word: I've always advocated for a person using their real name as often as possible on the internet in positive instances. In doing so, you control the Google results page for your name and can be certain that when a potential employer searches you they only see the positives. Jacek made the mistake of not putting his name out there enough, and the next time he tries for a job, rest assured he will be answering tough questions about this cyberstalker accusation.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Kilobits, Kilobytes, What The Hell?
I was just chatting with Matt, our Sports Editor, and he mentioned that he tested out his bandwith with the CNet Bandwidth meter and the meter and remarked that he was shocked that he apparently had a 2,454.06 kbps speed connection, when he thought he had only 300. I had to explain that 300 Kb = 2,400 kb, because the 300 is kilobytes and the 2,400 is kilobits, since a bit is 1/8th of a byte. I upgraded my connection for free (thanks Verizon!) to 1.5 mbps yesterday, but I know that is still a little under 200 Kbps. Don't most consumer have absolutely no idea about these distinctions? And why are ISPs using bits, a scale that has no useful meaning at all, instead of bytes, which are standard usable units? I felt like it was the biggest rip-off in the world years ago when I found out my 56k connection was barely good for 7 real k's.

CNet Reviews Seven Search Toolbars
CNet has a comprehensive review of seven major search toolbars. The ratings:
  1. Google & Yahoo - 8.3 (out of 10) (tied) - Yahoo gets the Editor's Choice nod because of its antispyware features.
  2. A9 - 7.3 - loses points for not having special searches (news, stock market) and no pop-up blocker whitelist options.
  3. HotBot & Alta Vista - 7 (tied) - Few special searches or added features (plus HotBot loses points for having such a lousy index).
  4. MSN - 6.7 - New toobar coming out next month, as part of Desktop Search.
  5. Ask Jeeves - 6.3 - Has the most features, but not a very good piece of software, and puts an annoying frame around web pages it finds..
You can also check out CNet's "performance comparison" (literally counting which site has the most results) of the major search engines.

Google Gets $215 Price Target
Early tonight, Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony Noto issued their report on Google stock, giving it a target of $215. The 73-page report is credited with rallying GOOG shares up eight dollars to $175 in after-hours trading. Noto explained his projections say Google will have a compunded 25% rate of growth annually from 2006 to 2009. While this isn't the highest rating (CS First Boston puts it at $225), it may be the most significant. Somebody get me a copy of that report!

Turn Google News Into An RSS Feed
Google Blogoscoped points out this page which allows you to turn any Google News search into an RSS Feed. Seriously, why hasn't Google done this already? If you look, you'll see I have three Topix news feeds, because they are just so extremely useful. Hey Google! Time to step up!

New Blog About Google Scholar
There's a blogspot blog on Google Scholar now, appropriately called "On Google Scholar". It looks like it will be a very handy resource for the academic community.
(via PR Weaver)

Random Google News
Here are three stories I'm not particularly interested in, but feel I should be covering anyway (talk about your ringing endorsements!):

Findory Lets You Know Whats Related
Greg Linden announces that Findory has added a new feature called "Source Pages", where each source, be it news or blogs, has its own page. On that page, you can view all the recent posts, and get two lists of relations. The first is "Top Related Sources", which has the sources most similar to that page. InsideGoogle is considered most similar to: Even more interesting is "Top Related Articles". It features the articles most similar to the focus of the page. This means if you already like reading InsideGoogle, you can get a list of posts similar to mine, and thus get stories I forgot to or chose not to cover (like the porn site suing Google). As interesting as this might be to readers, it's even more useful for bloggers, since we now have a list of what we should be writing about. I know I'm bookmarking my own page, just so I can use it when I need to find something to post about. I want to get an RSS feed of my own Related Articles.

Source Pages brings us one step closer to the feature I wish Findory had more than anything, subscribed sources. I want to be able to tell Findory what I already read, so I never see that on Findory, and only get new stuff. Still I love the site, and it just keeps getting better.

Monday, November 22, 2004
gdSuite, The Google Desktop Interface
Take a look at gdSuite, a program that gives Google Desktop Search an interface, and some much needed advanced features. With gdSuite, you can finally sort results, and easily limit your searches to filetypes, dates, files in specific folders, URL text, and email addresses. gdSuite simply queries Google Desktop Search, then takes the results and reorganizes them, so its very fast. It's free, so why not give it a whirl?
(via PR Weaver > Research Buzz)

More Details On Google Scholar
Resource Shelf's Shirl Kennedy and Gary Price have a look inside Google Scholar. Among the intersting tidbits:They also wonder how many people will find Google Scholar results and pay for the information, when they could access it for free at their local library. Google Scholar doesn't allow searching by date published, which could be very important for some searches. Also, the article notes that while Google is crawling the web for new articles, no one knows when the index is actually updated. Looks like Google has gotten a bit of a "black eye" from the Google Images debacle.
(via The Unofficial Google Weblog)

Saturday, November 20, 2004
Google Sues It's Own AdSense Client For Click Fraud
Google this week sued Auctions Expert, an AdSense client, for fraudulently clicking on its website's ads in order to earn cash. Good! The only way to prevent click fraud is to show that the penalty for getting caught is far more serious than not getting paid.
(via ABAKUS SEO blog)

Findory Launches Personalized Search
Greg Linden notes that Findory has begun personalizing Google search results. I say "It's about time!"

I've been very impressed with the way Findory personalizes news stories and blog posts based on what you've already clicked on. If Findory is bringing those ideas to Google search, then we are all in for a treat. Greg explains one way that it works, that if you search for a movie and click on the IMDB entry, then the next time you search for any other movie, the IMDB entry will be pushed closer to the top. Because Findory Search not only reorders Google results based on your history, but also reorders them in small, subtle ways, it is simply an improvement on an already great search engine. I know Greg may not appreciate me looking at his company this way, but I wish Google just went out and bought them. Google could integrate Findory's tech into several of its engines and that would instantly justify the purchase.

Photos Of Google's Kirkland Office
The SeattlePI Microsoft blog has some photos from Google's new Kirkland office. Check 'em out.

Froogle Now Has A Shopping And Wish List
You can now save items on Froogle to a shopping list for later purchase, as well as publish a public wish list. One serious problem: The URL for the wish list contains your email address. I would post a link to my wish list, but I have no interest in spam. Google needs to remove the email address from the URL, as that is just asking for problems.
(via Dirson)

Google Bigwigs File To Sell Stock
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, as well as CEO Eric Schmidt, filed yesterday with the SEC to sell a portion of their stock. Currently, the three own 90.5 million shares, equal to 33% of the stock and 45.7% of the voting power. Larry and Sergey will divest themselves of 7.2 million shares apiece, and Eric will sell 2.2 million shares, leaving the three with 73.9 million shares, 27% of the total and 40.4% of the voting power. According to HeraldNet, this would generate over $1.2 billion for each of the founders, and over $373 million for CEO Schmidt. The stock is being sold under an automated trading program, which is where a major executive agrees, confidentially, to sell shares at a specific time, thus ensuring that stockholders won't question the timing of the sale. The program was agreed on back in mid-September. Still, Dan Gillmor says, "There's more than a whiff of greed in these sales. Regrettable."

How Google Time Travel Works
Adam Lasnik notes in the comments (to my post about Google's time machine) that I apparently missed the news of Google Time Travel, which he stumbled on in May. I refuse to apologize. While I strive to provide the most up to date news on Google, I actually knew about the Google Time Travel (code named "Tuna Sandwich) back in June of 1992. Problem is, Google didn't even exist back then, and I was worried that announcing Google to the world before its creation would disrupt the time-space continuum and stop Google from ever existing, a lesson I learned from Michael J. Fox. As a result, I decided not to post about it until last March. Using my time machine, I posted it in the future, so no one would know about it until the time was right. That post was this post. See, I knew in March that Adam would point to his post, thus, in March, I posted a response to his comment that he wouldn't write until November about his post that he wrote in May. Got it?

Google Lets You Create Deskbar Plugins
Google launched today an API for the Google Deskbar. This means developers (pretty much anyone who can program) can now create plugins for the program. Considering what great things people have done with the Google Search API, I expect some great plugins. If you make a plugin, I will be more than happy to publicize it, so let me know.

The release:
Today, Google announced the availability of the Google Deskbar API(application programming interface). This technology makes it possible forsoftware developers to build their own features, or plug-ins, for the popular Google Deskbar.

For instance, a developer could use Google Deskbar APIs to create a moviesearch command that enables users to search their favorite movie site byentering a movie name into the Deskbar search field and typing a specialcommand such as "Ctrl'M." Other examples include:

- Locate and play a music play list on your hard drive
-Solve algebraic equations
- Send instant messages from the Deskbar (example: type "AIM- [screen name] [message text]")

Results will be displayed within the Google Deskbar mini-browser whichappears to the bottom right of the user's computer. New features developedwith the Google Deskbar API will be displayed as an option in the Deskbarmain menu.

The Google Deskbar API is in the experimental, beta phase. We invitedevelopers to use the service and encourage them to send us their input andfeedback. Plug-ins can be written in any .NET language, such as C# or VisualBasic.NET. More information about the Google Deskbar API can be found here:

The Google Deskbar Team
Because the Deskbar uses .NET, practically any programming experience should be enough to make plugins. I want to see Windows Media Player, Outlook, Gmail, and Google Desktop Search integrated in the Deskbar. Currently Desktop Search can be used with the Deskbar, but I want more options. The best thing I could think of doing with the Deskbar, if possible? Get it to use Firefox instead of IE.

You can visit the Deskbar API Google Group here, download the SDK here.
(via Google Blogoscoped)

Friday, November 19, 2004
Why Does Jeeves Display So Many Ads?
rustybrick at SEO ROundtable poses this question: If Ask Jeeves is supposed to be such an expert at finding the right answer, then why does it push the search results all the way down, past as many as ten ad results (check out this search). When Google showed up on the scene, it starting grabbing market share in huge chunks because its results were so relevant. After a while, people realized the ads they were trying to ignore were also pretty relevant. If Jeeves is loading up the first screen of search results with ads, then what reason is there for people to use their engine? Jeeves apparently has no confidence in the quality of its Teoma search results, and the ads aren't very relevant either. In some ways, Ask Jeeves seems to be saying: If our butler can't answer it, use someone else's search engine.

Search Bash: Google, Microsoft and Amazon Party Hearty
Last night, Google threw a party to officially open its Kirkand offices. According to Microsoft's Robert Scoble, who attended, it was more of a Microsoft and Amazon party, since employees of Google's rivals vastly outnumbered people who actually worked there. There were only about twenty Google employees, and hundreds of guests, so you do the math. It's nice to now that, business aside, these guys can all hang out and enjoy themselves (or at least enjoy the free food).
(Photos here)
(via Search Engine Watch Blog)

Google Time Machine
In this thread at Webmasterworld, one guy asks why a page on his site is listed by Google as being from 1969. GoogleGuy responds:

I mentioned it to a few folks here, and I'll ask them to check it out and see if
they can get the crawl date to percolate all the way to the cached page display.

Google does not, repeat not, have a Time Machine. :)

Personally, I think he's lying. Google works on all sorts of things in Google Labs, and just because they haven't publicized the project, doesn't mean we won't see a Google Time Machine in the future, most likely two hours before Microsoft launched its time machine.

Thursday, November 18, 2004
Google Warns that Growth Is Slowing
Google warned investors today (and earlier in the week) that growth is expected to slow in the future, and fourth quarter earnings should be below third quarter numbers. This is to be expected, as recent growth has been astronomical, and at unsubstainable levels. Google shares fell five dollars on the news.

Analyze Your AdSense Earnings Properly
PR Weaver posts about CSV AdStats, an advanced program that analyzes the CSV output file AdSense uses and provides you with detailed analysis of it. The program automatically downloads the CSV file from Google, so you never have to visit the unfriendly AdSense site again (lets be honest, if you use it, you hate not being able to stay logged in). You can view the data in all kinds of charts, plus get moving averages for various periods. This is definitely a program that someone needed to make, and I recommend all AdSense customers give it a whirl. It requires the .NET framework, so you may need to download that from here.

Google Scholar: Stand On The Shoulders Of Giants
Last night, Google released Google Scholar, a search engine for academic data.

Google Scholar takes academic papers and applies the PageRank standard to them. However, more than links are important; as in the academic world, its all about citations. If other important researchers cite your paper, Google Scholar's search algorithms recognize this and use that to weight the relevancy of the document. A link without a link, so to speak.

Google says:
With Google Scholar, researchers, students, professors and others can find relevant information drawn from a diverse collection of literature such as peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts, and technical reports.
For exampe, try a search for "search engine". The number one result? The anatomy of a large-scale hypertextual Web search engine by S Brin and L Page. Not only does the engine differ by including the author's name, the institution, and the year published in the search results, it lets you look at the citations, much like you would backlinks. Even though most of the database is in PDF format, Google can translate the pages to html for you, if you like.

Whenever possible, Google has said that the Google Scholar crawler searches not just the abstract, but the full text. All indications are that this also means that Google Scholar is not limited to the first 100 or so KB of a page, much like the regular Google search engine. Why is that so important? Because all of the citations are at the end of most papers, of course!

Google Scholar not only returns online results, but also offline papers. If the most cited paper is by Einstein, who's writings are both very well cited and barely online, Google will let you know, and give you an idea of how to find it.

The service is very impressive from the get-go. Google is clearly making a statement that it is serious about being able to provide tools for users to find the answers for anything. While other engines provide the "dumb" work-around of hard-coding answers into the engine, Google is determined to create the most powerful engine, and create unique ways for users to leverage that power. Last week, when Google announced it had doubled the size of its index, many had criticized the announcement, saying it is more important what you do with data than how much data you have. Well, Google is now showing us just how many things you can do when you have the world's information at your fingertips. Don't be suprised if we see more niche search engines in the future.

Other articles on this topic:
Google Offers Search Service For Researchers

Google Scholar
PR Weaver

I'm Back!
I fixed my ridiculous computer, and it only took two days, a brand new 120-gigabyte hard drive, and a portable drive enclosure (thank you, CompUSA!). Now, not only is Windows stable for the first time since Google was a privately-held company, but I have a massive portable storage device to ensure I never get bored on business trips. First time the fix to a problem is actually a big plus.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Overture Testing RSS Ads
You can now put Overture ads in your RSS feed. I don't plan on doing it yet, but I think its great. Many blogs lose half their traffic to RSS, and for bloggers that make their money that way, ads in RSS had to happen. A tiny text ad doesn't make it harder to read your favorite blog, but does support your favorite blogger. Bloggers need money, too.

Microsoft Employees: Is Google Hiring?
Joe Beda, a former Microsoft employee now working at Google's Kirkland office, says he's been getting a lot of inquries asking about jobs at the Google office. He's not clear about it, but he hints that a significant amount of those requests are coming from current MS employees. Microsoft has pissed off some employees lately; could we be seeing a small exodus?
(via Seattlepi blog)

Google Launches Orkut Media Center
Orkut now has something it calls Orkut Media Center, a collection of words and images that refelct on the community Orkut is trying to build. From the About page:
The orkut Media Center showcases columns and slideshows that capture the humor and irony in our everyday lives. Every week, our fearless columnists share their insights and provide life-saving advice, while our photographers offer a stunning view of the world around us.

The orkut Media Center features three areas: the Porch, Lounge and Studio. On the Porch, you can find our new and exciting columns for the week. The Lounge gives you an index of our columnists and their work, while the Studio features our photo galleries. You can click on any columnist or photographer's name to visit his or her orkut profile.

As a member, you can also join discussions about what you've read. Click on the Communities tab on your home page, then search and join any public orkut community relevant to the Media Center. Write about how it touched you, made you angry, improved your sex life, etc. While you're at it, click on a few profiles. Meet some new people. And just enjoy. =)
(via Google Blogoscoped)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Yahoo Wants An RSS Hacker
Jeremy Zawodny put out the word on his blog that he (or someone else at Yahoo) needs a person with skill at reworking at pulling off tricks with RSS feeds. What does Yahoo plan on doing with RSS? I've got a million ideas, and every one of them has me excited. I hope they get some good resumes.

Feedburner Feeds For Free
I decided to create some Feedburner feeds for both blogs. Don't worry, they don't have any ads. However, I would appreciate the usage statistics that I get with the feeds, so it would mean a lot if everyone switched over to those feeds. They still have the full posts and images. I'm not evil. Here are the links:



You'll also notice the new headline boxes, directing you to what's going on at the site you're not currently reading. I think they're pretty cool. If anyone knows a way to combine the feeds of both sites into a single Feedburner feed, I would greatly appreciate it.

Search Engine Lowdown Creates A Toolbar
The folks at Search Engine Lowdown have created a toolbar, thanks to the Effective Brand website. They got the idea from this article. Turns out, anyone can create a toolbar and use it so people can get instant RSS updates, plus whatever features you add to it. Very cool. Maybe I'll go and give it a shot, once I get my computer back.

Google Stock Falls 6% Thanks To Lock-ups
Google dropped $12.32 to $172.54, a 6% loss, thanks to the end of the second lock-up period. Assuming the next few lock-up expirees follow those numbers, we could see GOOG lose another $30-40 over the next three months. Like I said, don't buy Google stock until February.

Google Translate Adds New Languages
Google has added Japanese, Korean, and Chinese simplified to the languages it can translate. This is definitely a boon to web users, since those countries tend to be very "wired", and I'm glad not to be locked out from their websites anymore.

Also, Google's Eric Case notes in the comments the Blogger page about their translation efforts.
(via Dirson)

Google Helps Everyone's Stock But Its Own
Synergy Brands saw its stock go up 48% on Friday, after it announced that it and its cigar-related products will be marked as a "Selected Merchant" on Froogle. The stock rose another 42% today, partially because of the rising buzz, and partially because of its first quarterly profit. I've never heard of a company doing so well just because of an association with Google. In other news, Google stock is down $7.95 to $176.92 after the second lock-up period expired and millions of extra shares were made available. Perhaps Google can boost its stock by announcing it has entered a strategic partnership with Google?

Thank You Service Pack 2
I decided to uninstall Windows XP Service Pack 2. Now, I can no longer use Internet Explorer. Super. Expect posting to be sporadic until I figure out how to fix it. For now, I will have to post whenever I can find another computer to use.

Monday, November 15, 2004
How Many Links Does It Take To Get To The Center Of A PageRank Pop?
Olivier Duffez of PR Weaver conducted a study over the last seven months, figuring out roughly how many backlinks are needed to achieve specific PageRanks. Obviously this is imperfect, because backlinks are also rated by quality, but its still the best such study I've seen. Olivier is advertising his company's software, but the fact that they are conducting studies like this definitely says some good things about the company. Here are the figures for the last two months:


Backlinks 9/04

Backlinks 10/04


































Just note the fact that PR10 sites are very 1334.

Did Ram Make The Greatest Investment Ever?
Silicon Beat asks the question: Is the slightly under $200,000 1998 investment by Ram Shriram, now worth over a billion dollars, the greatest investment ever? Ram, who has remained a close ally of the company (people call him the "Google Guru"), earned roughly 5,000 to 10,000 times his investment. The numbers sure seem to solidify Ram as the gosh darn luckiest guy on the planet.

Blinkx 2.0 Brings Powerful New Features
Blinkx 2.0 launched today, and with it comes some major league features that should cause you to take notice.

Blinkx is a desktop search / web search / toolbar / active bookmarks / inline search system. The Blinkx toolbar resides in the title bar of the window you are using, and allows you to instantly search items in that window, or suggest other items you might be interested in based on either what you are reading, or what you highlight within what you are reading. You can correct spelling with it in programs that don't have that feature, like Notepad. The inline linking option lets the program create links to items relevant to what you are viewing.

The desktop search works like other companies desktop search, except unlike Google's, it updates the search in real time, as opposed to waiting till you hit enter. Unlike MSN's coming desktop search, the toolbar automatically resides in every window, allowing you to search within any program, for example, Word. You can search within archives. You can sort, something Google doesn't allow.

"Smart Folders" are folders you create based on a set of criteria that will contain shortcuts to items that match that search. For example, you can create a "Jeeves" folder, and set it to search the internet for breaking news and blog posts about Jeeves, plus emails you receive and files on your hard drive, and then the folder will be constantly updated with new shortcuts to any items that match that search.

Searches can include practically anything, including the usual (web, email, files) plus multimedia files of all types, blogs, peer-to-peer networks, news sites (BBC, CNN, Fox, NPR, CBS, CSPAN), shopping sites, and Acrobat documents. It can search metadata, including (very importantly) MP3 files, so you can search by artist, album, anything. The web search engine suggests alternative searches, using what it call Implicit Query (figuring out what you're searching for, rather than forcing you to be increasingly specific), lets you search blogs or news, and lets you rank the search results by relevance or date. You can even view your search results as a 3D relational map!

Blinkx is only a 6MB download and needs a 200 MHz PC running Windows 98 or better. In other words, any PC that can still boot.

This is a major improvement over the original release, and puts Blinkx up there with all the major players in this high-profile category. Blinkx is also developing a clustering engine and a TV search engine, so expect this product to continue to grow. Also, regarding a Mac release, Blinkx says:
After a flood of requests from enthusiastic Mac users we're working to get a Mac version out within two months - watch this space!
I am very impressed with this product, and will be giving it a tryout. I encourage everyone else to do the same, and let me know what you think.
(via John Battelle)

Sell, Sell, Sell! Or Don't...
Google's second lock-up period expires tomorrow, so you have less than three hours to get out before it gets rough. Of course, with the stock currently up about four bucks, that may seem like a stupid proposition. The fact of the matter is that tons of Google shares will become available over the next few months, and there is legitimate concern that an increase in supply will have a decrease in demand (Economics 101). Of course, Google is a very good stock, no matter what the pundits tell you, and I think any decrease would be temporary. Also, it depends on when you got in. If you just bought Google, you might want to sell it. If you bought it in August, hold on to your stock. If an $85 stock goes up to $200, then falls to $135, what do you call that? A profit. For early investors, Google can fall 20% and they'll be fine. New investors will panic. Try to remember, folks, Google is a long-term stock, and any small changes won't seem so significant in the larger picture.
(via Search Engine Lowdown)

View Images In Gmail Properly
For some reason, if you get an email in Gmail with multiple images attached, you have to click each one to open them, when many people would like the option to at least see them all at once. Well, this guy has created the Gmail Image Viewer. All it does is create a right-click menu item that executes a few lines of JavaScript and dumps the images in middle of your Gmail message. Quick, dirty, and simple. If you're worried, you can read all the code yourself here. The screenshot shows what Gmail looks like after the program has its way. Great tool.
(via Google Blogoscoped)

Yahoo Mail Hits Back With 250 Megs
Yahoo announced it was upping its email storage space to 250 megabytes to compete with Hotmail and Gmail. Previously, Yahoo and Hotmail had only given users a few megabytes, but following the announcement of Gmail offering 1000 megabytes, Yahoo increased their space to 100 MB, while Hotmail announced a 250 MB upgrade. Yahoo proved to be the smart one, since Hotmail is still rolling out 250 MB accounts, while Yahoo has had increased storage for months. Now that a large number of Hotmail accounts have the larger number, Yahoo has increased its own. Yahoo also said it was beginning testing of DomainKeys to verify email addresses, and thus combat spam. Google has been using the service, created by Yahoo, for months (even before Yahoo decided to use it), and Earthlink will also begin testing it out.

UPDATE: Yahoo posts about the upgrade in their blog. Besides the storage increase and DomainKeys, they announced improved searching of the inbox and DHTML instant autocomplete for email addresses. *cough*Gmail*cough*

Jeeves Adds Cache
Ask Jeeves has begun showing cache results for some pages on some searches. For example, this page from the National Weather Service, reached via this search. The page is several weeks old, but that may simply be because it is static. One question: I rarely use Jeeves, but is it normal for it to have an entire page of ads?
(via Search Engine Watch Blog)

Sunday, November 14, 2004
Gmail Beta All About Patents?
According to this article on, at least part of the reason Gmail is invite-only and still in beta is because Google is waiting on some patent applications. Basically, Google patented the idea of scanning emails for content and serving ads based on them. Google will not make Gmail widely available until the patent is settled. Google is hoping that by having slow growth, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail won't be so alarmed that they will overhaul their systems (which they so far haven't) and try to provide the same targeted ads. If Google can win the patent, not only will they lock out Hotmail and Yahoo from a very successful revenue source, they could possibly make money licensing the technology. Definitely an interesting way of looking at it. The whole article, titled "The Webmail Wars", is worth reading.

InsideMicrosoft: Microsoft Desktop Search Revealed
The first look at MSN's possible Google-killing desktop search product.

Stock Lockup Expiry Possibly A Good Thing?
A lot of Google shares are about to be made available to the markets in just four days, as the second so-called "lockup" period expires, and some insiders and Google employees are finally allowed to sell their stock. Speculation is that this is normally a bad thing, especially in the case of Google, were limited supply and high demand have pushed the stock astronomically high. Now this article argues it may be a good thing, that the demand may be so high, the lockup will simply result in even more people buying up the Google stock, and pushing it even higher or, at the very least, making its current price more sustainable. With the stock at $169, UBS gives it a target price of $160, while Credit Suisse puts it in a range of $177-$225.

Should Google Ban Trademarks?
First off, go read John Battelle's post, then come back here, because he lays out a lot of important stuff.

Back? Okay.

So, the simple question is what should Google do about trademarked keywords? Obviously, there is a benefit to the searching consumer, since a search for, example, a Cadillac Escalade, will have an ad directing you to a site selling that exact product. Obviously, there is a problem for the searching consumer, since a search for, example, a Swiss Army Knife, will have an ad directing you to a site that makes cheap knockoffs but doesn't clearly state it is not actually the Victorinox company. Obviously, there is a problem for Google, since a search for, example, Geico, will have an ad for one of Geico's competitors. And Geico will sue you for selling their trademark. A trademark you surely do not own. And win. And cost you hundreds of millions of dollars. And make Sergey cry.

So, what to do? Forcing Google to not sell trademarks would be tantamount to saying the Sears catalog cannot mention the trademarks of SONY, who built the TV they are trying to sell. On the other hand, no one would ever say anyone could sell the word Sears to Home Depot for advertising purposes. That is about the most absurd misuse of trademark law, and no lawyer could ever argue it and win.

At some point Google will either A) realize Geico will win and settle or B) Google will be hit by more lawsuits, and change its policies, and settle with more companies. There is no way Google will be allowed to essentially sell other companies trademarks. Trademarks are property, and no one else can make profit off of them. Google's strategy, to prove it is even-handed by selling even more trademarks, is doomed to be a colossal failure. One can only hope they figure it out before more lawsuits come down the pike.

Of course, I basically said all of this back in September.

Saturday, November 13, 2004
Google Detects Phony Ad Clicks... And Refunds The Cash
From SEO Roundtable:

Came across a good thread over at Cre8asite forums about Google refunding some money to an advertiser using AdWords that received some fraudulant clicks from their content network. It was encouraging to see a user report this refund. Google states they are "very serious about catching invalid clicks", and use specific tools and techniques to catch on to fraudelent behavior. They do not however disclose the details of the filtering technology that help catch robots or users who click for inappropriate reasons.

The member stated he saw an increase in CTR from 3-4% to about 12% in a short amount of time. He suspected something but didn't contact Google about it. Google quickly responded to the situation, and he received a refund in his bank account for the fradulent click throughs. Ammon Johns, suggested one site to help monitor click fraud, at Click Detective. Seems to be pretty useful for catching this, they are not the only service however, so if interested its probably wise to investigate a couple other ones.

Very cool of Google. They are under no obligation to check these themselves. Some companies would consider it the customer's responsibility.

AOL Unveils New Snapshot Service
AOL plans to introduce a new service called Snapshot that provides custom answers to over 2.2 million search queries. The search engine, normally powered by Google results, is programmed to deliver specific AOL content on those searches. For example, a search for a movie title delivers MovieFone listings in your area, with the option to purchase tickets. A search for Doonesbury shows that day's comic. A search for a football player reveals a baseball card-type page with his stats via (screenshot). AOL has no plan to develop its own engine, and would rather develop technology to augment Google's results.

The new MSN Search also delivers some answers triggered by specific questions, such as the birthday of a famous person, via the Encarta Encyclopedia, and that sort of feature has been a part of Jeeves ever since it was launched. Will Google follow the lead of some of its rivals? Probably not, but time will tell.
(via Beta News)

Friday, November 12, 2004
InsideMicrosoft: MSN Blog Responds To MSN Bomb And Google Robbing Rumors
UPDATE: I didn't even realize it at first, but the first link, the one for the word MSN Bombs, is a link to my own post! I'm very flattered. Google never linked to me before. Wow.

BBC Puts The Big Players To The Test
The BBC has compiled reviews and comparisons of the top five search engines. Take a look at what they had to say:

And the verdict?

Google, MSN, and Jeeves get points for being too cluttered (and Yahoo is unceremoniously skewered), MSN is hurt for being unstable. BBC clearly likes engines that provide answers and categories for queries that can mean several things, but it seems fine with Google, since their results are so relevant as to make an "answer engine" unnecessary. BBC gives no verdict, but it seems to pick Jeeves for answering questions and offering classifications of searches. Google loses for having too much information, MSN for being too green, Yahoo for being too messy, and A9 for being too pop-culture centric, and not good with obscurity. Fans of any search engine can find reasons to disagree, but still, a very good roundup.
(via Search Engine Lowdown)

Google's Chris DiBona Reads InsideGoogle
I know who in the Search Engine news sector reads InsideGoogle, but its far more interesting to not who shows up from the outside. Recently, Evan Williams, the founder of Blogger, had some nice things to say, and now Chris DiBona, a Google Open source program manager, comments on one of my posts (about how only Google properly separates ads from search results) at his blog:
From InsideGoogle, something that makes me (more) proud to work at Google
God, I love referral logs. Keep reading!

Google And Firefox, Sitting In A Tree...
The story is that Stefanie Olsen has pieced together the overall picture of the close relationship between Google and Mozilla. But the real reason I'm mentioning it (although it's a good story; read it!)? Because Andy Beal's post about it on Search Engine Lowdown has the ridiculous picture, shown on the right. I'd like to believe I am one of the foremost proponents of horrible Photoshopping in the blogosphere (the Seattle Times sure seems to agree), but Andy, your work would be worthy of my horrible reputation anytime! Is that a compliment? I'm not sure, but I still love the image.

Interview With Dave "GoogleWhack" Gorman
b3ta has an interview with Dave Gorman about his GoogleWhack Adventure DVD and stage show. He talks about stalkers, marriage proposals, and of course, GoogleWhacking. His stage show is in New York, and I've really got to figure out how to get tickets. Check here for my earlier post on his adventures.
(via Google Blogoscoped)

InsideMicrosoft: MSN: We Don't Steal From Google
Debunking the rumor that MSN Search steals results from Google's engine.

Thursday, November 11, 2004
InsideMicrosoft: Microsoft Predicts It Will Double Search Revenue In Five Years

InsideMicrosoft? Maybe, Maybe...
Raghu says:
Nathan from InsideGoogle has been following with this development every minute. I felt like it has become InsideMicrosoft since last night. Anyway, in his latest post, he listed out all local MSN search betas. I'm not into Yahoo for searching, let alone Microsoft. I just want to Google around.
Ha! Nice. Not to worry, Google still occupies much of my thoughts. MSN is just the big news. Just to be sure, I picked up just in case. Anyone want to help me run it? You'll get instant readership. I could also use assistance adding MSN-related blogs to my Blogroll.

MSN Didn't Waste Any Time
Wow. Google products almost never have ads when in beta. MSN Search has ads on day one, as the picture from a search for Google shows. The ads look slightly different from the results, and have the words "SPONSORED SITES" way off to the right. The ads are delivered by Overture. The same ads appear on the bottom of the page. MSN also now shows inline News results.

Search Completes A Circle: The First MSN Bomb
Back in 1999, what is possibly the first ever Google Bomb is discovered. As recorded by Danny Sullivan in Search Engine Watch on November 1, 1999, a search for "more evil than satan himself" produced as a number one result Today, day one of MSN Search, we have our first MSN bomb: more evil than satan. If the result changes, here's a link to the site that is the number one result. My, the more things change...
(via Google Blogoscoped)

UPDATE: If you are arriving here via the MSNSearch Weblog (and my referral logs say a lot of you are), you might be very interested in my other blog, InsideMicrosoft. It's just like this one, except it has an obsession with all things Microsoft. Its new, so there isn't as much in the archives, but you can see from this site how well I plan to cover the Redmond giant. Welcome new readers!

Details Emerge On Google's Kirkland Office
Remember the announcement that Google was opening a new office in Kirkland, right near Microsoft's? Well, Gary Price at Search Engine Watch notices a King County Journal article that has the details pf the offices, pictured above right. The office will be located at 720 Fourth Ave., and will continue to expand until it reaches 46,000 square feet and employes 200 "'high-level' software engineers and programmers" by November 2006. Google will hold a housewarming party on November 18, but some employees have been there since October 27. The offices are only 5.6 miles from Microsoft headquarters, and will function great as a recruiting post. The building is known locally as the FileNet building, after the company currently occupying most of the structure. Google will supplant Filenet in terms of employees, since Filenet has only 180.

MSN Search Blog Comments On Uptime And Compatibility Problems
The new MSNsearch WebLog has its third post today. I'm impressed! Keep up the frequency.
MSN Search Beta Availability Update
In the process of making our new MSN Search beta broadly available we experienced some technical difficulties that caused the beta service to function improperly or be unavailable for some users for periods of time. We're working through these issues one by one and you should see service availability and quality improve soon if not already. We apologize for any inconvenience.

We expected to find some problems in the beta, and we expect there will also be times when we limit service availability for maintenance purposes. We want to find those problems in order to help us build a higher quality product, and we appreciate your help in doing this.

A few other notes:

1) Several people have reported problems with the search service and with this blog that appear to be browser compatibility issues with FireFox. We're working on broad browser support and have done some specific testing in this area, but it's clear more is needed. Thank you for the reports.

2) When reporting issues, please include as much detailed information as you can in your report so that we can reproduce and fix the bug. E.g. for browser errors, tell us which type of browser, the version number, and information on any proxy you're using. For relevance problems, tell us the exact query you entered, any other special settings you're using, e.g. via search builder, and the resulting URL you expected to see.

3) The "Help us Improve" link at the bottom of the results page is an easy way to give us feedback.


Will we actually see proper Firefox support? I doubt it, but anything's possible. Why just yesterday I saw a hog reach a record altitude...

Google Showing News Images In Google Images
Google now shows the top images from Google News when you search Google Images. Look at this result for a search for "troops":

Is this new, or have I just not noticed it before?

UPDATE: John Battelle posts about this (and gives me credit, thank you very much), and notices that this fixes, to an extent, the complaints about Google Image Search. Since it was revealed that the index is updated every six months, and was missing important, newsworthy images, including two news images kind of solves the problem. I hadn't looked at it that way, but that does make it an excellent idea.

Honoring Veterans Day
Nicholas noted this site, Free Republic, in the comments at the Blogspot blog. Basically, Free Republic says "This is today's Google logo" and shows the regular Google logo. Then they and the commenters rant about Google's left wing bias, ending with "Shame on Google". While Google's employees seem to slant to the left, I think the company has done a solid job remaining impartial.

That being said, ignoring Veterans Day is shameful, but it isn't Google's fault. Many in this country ignore Veterans Day. Businesses and schools remain open, and we don't exactly see an out pouring of support for our troops. Regardless of your political views, our men and women in uniform are not only putting themselves in danger, they volunteered for it. Few of us can say we risk death for our country every time we go to work, and most of us that can are in that position because of crimes. Some people may scoff at patriotism, but I have to admire someone who believes so much in what this country can be that he or she will fight to give the rest of us that chance.

At the very least, if we cannot give them our respect, it is shameful to give them our disdain. My friend Azriel, a young Marine who volunteered after 9/11, and anticipates being called to Iraq at any time, tells of people who scoff at the Marines and others, as though our "Search Wars" can compare to their real wars. I cannot understand what right anyone has to criticize a soldier for protecting our country, unless that person has a legitimate complaint about the manner in which they provide it. We have one day a year for this. We can afford to give them one day, can't we?

MSN Search Beta Finally Works!
After 12 hours of clicking "refresh" and "search", I am finally able to access MSN Search. If you've been waiting, now's your chance to take a test drive. Searching for "InsideGoogle" on MSN turns up 2.421 results, while on Google it shows 14,500. Ever wonder why its InsideGoogle and not Inside Google? Because the term InsideGoogle had six results when I started this blog, and I could easily search for every page that every mentions me. Not only does Google have more of those pages, but Microsoft doesn't list me as the top result for a word I invented! Where do I rank? I haven't found me yet. I am listed, but only my main page and 18 other pages. They still haven't indexed most of the 600+ inner pages. I don't know how MSN's default algorithm ranks pages, but if it can't figure out that the site in which every page has that word in the title, and that every single other page on the internet which has that word is linking to it, that it should be the number one result for that word, then it still needs a bit of work. I don't anticipate getting the kind of traffic I get from Google from MSN, not until they fix their ranking algorithm to have basic sense of how to determine the nexus of a linking pattern. Still, it's speed is decent, and I like the Search Builder.

Do You Worship Google?
Reading The New York Times' piece on MSN Search, I noticed this line, talking about Adam Sohn, director of sales and marketing:
But while dismissing talk of an Internet search war, Mr. Sohn acknowledged that Microsoft hoped its new search abilities might entice Web surfers who do not have what he termed a "religious" commitment to Google.
Do some web users have a religious commitment with the Googlers? When I was on Search Engine Radio this week, I was asked why some people are so loyal to Google. I cited corporate culture, but "religion" might not have been such a bad answer.

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