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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.

Saturday, December 18, 2004
Google Suggests Guts Disassembled
Chris Justus, a blogger who examines server-side programming, has performed a "live autopsy" of Google Suggest, examining all the guts and explaining who it works. He discovers how Google Suggest breaks many conventions of web programming by fully utilizing advanced programming languages, much liek Gmail does. Google is really proving that there's more you can do with the web than you think.
(via Google Blogoscoped)

Postscript: One guy comments that he basically stole the code and used it on his site. Google's lawyers should be contacting him in 5... 4... 3... 2...

Using Bloggers In Google Ads
Intelliseek's BlogPulse has bought up Google ads for certain influential bloggers' names, including Steve Rubel (screenshot). Intelliseek's Pete Blackshaw shows up in the comments to explain the experiment, which yielded only a 1.5% click-through rate on "modest volume" (ouch!). If you search for my name, you get an ad for books by Nathan Weinberg (not me... for now) at Of course, I clicked on the ad to see where it went, so now you may not see it, plus I cost those guys some money, but whatever...

Still, I wouldn't mind buying the ad myself, just to see how many people are searching for me name (me and my mom). Perhaps, as bloggers become bigger media figures, this practice will gain wider acceptance. For now, at least Scoble and Danny Sullivan have ads.

Friday, December 17, 2004
The Marqui Story So Far

This post sponsored by Marqui

As you may have forgotten at this point, this blog is being sponsored by Marqui. More details are available here and here.

So, what's happened in the first half-month of the largest pay-for-blogging program yet? Well, the sky hasn't fallen, none of the bloggers has been revealed as Satan, and I think my integrity lies intact (except for that time I begged everyone to purchase Charmin. Charmin! I love Charmin!).

Marqui has published a FAQ of sorts, answeing some questions people have been asking these last few weeks. The program certainly seems to be working out for Marqui, getting it a lot of publicity, but I can imagine it'll be a challenge to keep the interest level high as the next ten weeks pass by. Cool enough, the page was produced as an "interactive brochure" using Marqui's system, so it actually functions as both information and a product demo.

The first thing addressed is what Marqui likes to call "Software as a Service" (and because everything must have an acronym, SaaS). Rather than hosting the whole shebang themselves, Marqui sets up the system on your servers and gives you control over it. I know blogs are on a much smaller scale than CMS, but I can't wait to get my blog off Bloggers servers and onto a faster one of my own, where I can better control pages, so I can relate. Way I look at it, if you're paying Marqui $199/month after an initial startup fee of ~$5000, you'd better have full control over your server. If you're interested in it, you'd probably be pleased to learn that its programmed with ASP, so its platform independent. You can use any sort of server, whatever you're comfortable with. Apparently, some people are using it by only publishing Word documents to a file server, so it works not only well for the technically inclined, but also for the people who still think you can use Word in publishing (yeah, I'm referring to one of my relatives, you know who you are).

Anyway, since this program is all about communication (not just about Marqui's communication system, but about communicating with the blogosphere), the bloggers in the program have been pestering Marqui to get out their as well. Marqui figured it could pay us to talk about them, I don't think they expected to find a bunch of people (who they're paying) telling them to start their own blog!

Most companies who have their ear to the blogs implement community oriented features, and it looks like the bloggers are forcing Marqui to move in that direction. Besides the coming corporate blog, Marqui is now talking about a user-to-user support program, public demos, and publishing APIs. Even the FAQ questions were submitted by a blogger. I'm a major advocate that companies that listen to bloggers have to get better, otherwise the bloggers will just skewer them. We're seeing a new attitude at Microsoft in this regard, and I'm hoping Marqui learns from their experiment to develop the same way.

Looking For A Blogger
Since InsideMicrosoft has joined InsideGoogle as a well-trafficked blog, I think the time is ready to expand a little further. I'd like to start another blog, but I won't be writing it. In case it isn't obvious at this point, I'm building a network (and don't be surprised if everything moves to a domain in the next few weeks). So, I haven't settled on the topic of the blog (and it needn't be tech-related), but I am looking for an untapped, dedicated blogger. The blog would have to have a news focus, and be updated constantly and consistently. Feel free to suggest possible topics as well (InsideApple, InsidePolitics, InsideGadgets) that you'd like to see explored. If you know of anyone who I should consider, IM me (check the profile) or comment with contact info.

And yes, there is money involved.

Yahoo Signs Up JibJab Guys
Yahoo has picked up the JibJab brothers, Gregg and Evan Spiridellis, with an agreement to exclusively distribute their next two video. This is a great move for Yahoo, since JibJab's last big hit, "This Land", was an internet phenomenon, the most viral video of the year, inspiring a major court case. Yahoo should get a lot of publicity for their entertainment division out of this one (something they've been trying to do), assuming the videos are any good. One video, already available, has a Christmas theme, the other will be a political spoof.
(via CNET)

Thursday, December 16, 2004
Froogle Adds Product Reviews
With nine days left in the holiday shopping season, Froogle has added product reviews to aid customers in their purchases. In typical Google fashion, the whole service is powered by algorithms, not people, as a Google crawler picks up the reviews from other sites, such as, Circuit City and CNET, and attaches them to select popular products, like the iPod and the Playstation 2. The idea is you can now search Froogle for generic products and use the review to find out which one is better. The review page is very cool, with color coded alert levels and "hot topics". The hot topics are quite useful; you click on a set of words that the crawler has found in a large number of the reviews, and Froogle zeroes in on the reviewers who considered "battery life" to be important, and what they said. Gotta love that.
(via Cnet, Search Engine Journal, and Greg Linden)

Postscript - Guess what? Gary was right!

Yahoo Maps Adds Traffic Reports
Yahoo has added traffic reports for 70 major metropolitan areas, according to MediaPost.
Accident reports and news about construction will be available for the 70 top metro areas, while additional information about the speed of traffic will be posted for the top 20 metro areas.
The data will be updated in real time, and will be integrated into Yahoo Search, Yahoo Local, and Yahoo Maps, but will be hosted at
(via Search Engine Watch)

Blinkx Beats Google To TV Search
While Yahoo released yesterday a search engine for video, Blinkx came out with one today that searches TV and radio. Blinkx TV Beta has video results from FOX News, CNN, BBC News, Bloomberg Television, ITN, Sky News, C-SPAN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, HBO, ESPN, Sky Sports, E! Entertainment Television, A&E Biography, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, BBC Parliament, National Geographic, and audio results from National Public Radio, Voice of America, BBC Radio 4 & 5, and BBC World Service. You can limit the search to any number of specific sources if you wish.

Blinkx searches the content of the broadcast, not just the title, but does not do so using closed captioning, as Google's reported work-in-progress will. As the white paper explains:
Through the use of fast server-based audio/video-capture cards and a linearly scalable architecture, the blinkx TV platform seamlessly assimilates audio and video from multiple sources including, but not restricted to, terrestrial television aerials, satellite television feeds, cable TV, analog and digital radio and Internetbased content.
Blinkx's algorithm actually watches the program, contextualizing the images and audio, and determines what it is about. It even time-stamps segments of the video, so you are sent right to whatever you are searching for. The entire process is based on speech recognition technology and context clustering, to create a synchronized metadata stream for every video.
not only does blinkx know what was said, blinkx knows exactly when it was said.
This is just a brilliant idea. Google thought closed captioning was the secret to TV search, but Blinkx realized that speech recognition was better. See, speech recognition isn't perfect, but since you only want keywords, you don't need to get every single word. Besides, if you have ever seen live captioning, its actually far worse than any speech recognition program, rife with misspellings and moronic mistakes. Blinkx went with the more powerful solution, and as long as the speech algorithm holds up, its got a great search engine. Blinkx even provides the transcript so you can read that instead, or look at the snippet to know you have the right video, although it says "this is not what is used for searching as a more accurate phonetic algorithm does the matching process". Excellent work, Blinkx.

The search results page is an innovation in itself, featuring animated Flash previews of each video. You actually get to see a few seconds of the video in the results page (if its radio, you see a dancing radio. Cute). You can sort be relevancy or date (very important in the world of TV). Roll your mouse over a thumbnail, and it expands, a cool effect that says "you're dealing with something new". It all combines into a smart, slick package other companies would be wise to emulate.

Blinkx TV integrates very well with Blinkx Smart Folders, allowing users of the product to create a smart folder in which all new clips on a certain subject will be placed. For example, create a Jon Stewart folder, and every time a new Jon Stewart video is made available, you have it in your Smart Folder. Call it RSS for video (or video podcasting) or whatever, the point is that it just works.
(via Search Engine Journal)

UPDATE: Gary Price notes that this is the web release of a tool that was always available to users of Blinkx software, and he points out other video search engines.

Overture Can't Be Happy With Geico Outcome
It's virtually a guarantee that Overture is eating crow today after settling with Geico two weeks ago, only to watch Google win its case against the insurance company. I'm predicting two things happening over there right now:Still, there is one bright side for Yahoo-owned Overture, as pointed out by the Uofficial Google Weblog. Since Google pays Yahoo licensing fees off of Overture patents, at least Yahoo will make some money off of Google's victory. Still, they made a decision, and in hindsight, it was the wrong one.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Yahoo Video Search Is Here
What is this?! We seem to get some brand new step forward several times a week. God, I love this industry.

Tonight, Yahoo launches Video Search Beta. Media providers can submit their videos to the engine through RSS feeds, and you get a powerful video search engine. If you search for something that isn't there, Yahoo even shows you the web search results to help you out. Yahoo shows a nice little thumbnail of whatever results it has. I've noticed .avi, .mov, .mpg, .wmv and .rm, so it is sompletely capable of handling all the major formats. You can use the advanced search page to limit your results by format, search by file size or duration (or both), or limit your searches to a domain. Because Yahoo Video relies on publishers for information, it's SafeSearch should work just fine; it should even think about implementing a ratings system.

The idea of all video content sites publishing RSS feeds makes me excited about prospects for using those feeds. You just know some guys are going to code apps that download the latest videos (video podcasting, off course).

Back on topic, good work Yahoo. We should be able to have dedicated engines for every type of content out there. There's no reason we shouldn't have video, audio, newspaper, radio station, library, whatever search engines. I'm very happy with this.
(via John Battelle, who is under embargo till tomorrow to deliver more news about it)

UPDATE: The Yahoo Search Blog has info on the new engine. They explain that the RSS enclosure data is almost exactly like that for podcasting. Yahoo has come up with additional metadata to go in the feed, creating a set of "Media RSS" rules. The data contains ten attributes: the URL, file size, format, media player, player height and width, whether the video is full or a sample, bitrate, duration, and an indeterminate "isDefault" parameter. Expect every other company to use this data, meaning Yahoo can take credit for an industry standard. Expect other companies, like Google, to add more parameters to the standard, like publisher name, or even author, actors, genre, etc. This standard was developed with several partners:
In addition, we're working with several other companies and organizations to help refine these ideas. They include: AtomFilms, Creative Commons, Buzznet, Ourmedia, and Broadband Mechanics.
UPDATE 2: Gary Price has more

Desktop Search Roundup + First Impression: Ask Jeeves Desktop Search
Here you go folks: What I think of Jeeves' offering, plus, I declare a winner (for now).

So, I got Jeeves Desktop Search to work. How? By shutting down every single program on my computer. And when that didn't work, I closed my internet connection, and then I was in business. After allocating all my system resources to the program and selecting the "Fast" method of indexing, Jeeves started indexing things.

I don't like at all Jeeves' practice of automatically selecting the first search result and previewing it in the right pane. If I want a preview, I'll click on it. If I wanted a preview when I was trying to open a video in Media Player through Jeeves, well, that just wouldn't make a lot of sense, would it? Don't play my music without prompting! Dont' play movies without prompting! If my hard drive was loaded up with pornographic images, I'd be pretty pissed if Jeeves started playing porno flicks and showing naked pictures while anyone could be looking over my shoulder! And the preview window only displays snippets of text documents, not the whole thing. This preview window is a good idea in concept, and only in concept. I hope they offer thumbnails as an alternative in future releases, since I can't stand the thing. There has got to be a way to turn the thing off.

Otherwise, the program seems decent, indexing as expected in about the same amount of time as everybody else. I kind of like that it doesn't use IE, since I found that I was always "losing" my Google Desktop Search when I clicked on things, so I had to memorize its IP address. On the other hand, MSN's interface does a better job acting as a hybrid of IE, Explorer and its own thing, plus it has more options, so I think it wins on the interface.

Who indexes more? Jeeves found 12,920 files, MSN found 13,275, and Google found 3,126 (not including things like email and AIM, which the others didn't index). I was stunned to discover that Google had indexed so few files. As for relevancy, Google actually loses points because of its cache! Most of its results were files I had already deleted, something it should be smart enough to eaither bump from the index or push to the bottom, with a little "Supplemental Result" tag. MSN and Jeeves don't have any relevancy ranking, but at least MSN makes up for it with the ability to sort columns, something Jeeves barely offers, and both of them have an edge on Google by displaying all the results on the same screen. Ultimately, MSN has the most useful search results page, followed by Jeeves and then Google.

Google is faster. MSN has more cutomizable option (Jeeves has basically none). Google has better online functions. MSN has more features (although Google's cache is very useful). MSN displays metadata, but won't index it. Google handles email best. MSN handles Windows best (naturally). Google handles files better. MSN handles previews best, with image thumbnails, followed by Google's cache and Jeeves preview (which is practically a negative).

So, having tested these three early desktop search offerings from the major search engines, who's the winner?

Interface - MSN, Jeeves, Google
Resources & Speed - Google, MSN, Jeeves
Search Results - MSN, Jeeves, Google
Advanced features - MSN, Google, Jeeves
Internet Options - Google, MSN, Jeeves
Ease of Use - Google, Jeeves, MSN
Index depth - MSN & Jeeves (tie), Google
Index detail - MSN, Jeeves, Google
Email - Google, MSN, Jeeves
Communications - Google, MSN, Jeeves
OS Integration - MSN, Google, Jeeves
File types - Google, MSN, Jeeves
File preview - MSN, Google, Jeeves
Security - MSN, Jeeves, Google

The winner (for now)?
In the category of "Desktop Search", Best Overall Product
- MSN Desktop Search
Google takes second place.

While Google's offering is the only one with seemingly no bugs, and the fastest, smoothest interface, it is also the weakest product, with no interface, no options, and no ability to do anything with your results. Google essentially created a powerful engine, and dumped it on you with no product to take advantage of that engine.

MSN's product is polished. It's powerful. It can do a lot of things. I can use it to browse my computer, something I could never do with Google's. It has kinks, and it needs a ranking system, but its tops in my book.

Jeeves is too rushed, too buggy, too weak. It has promise, and I believe it could pull into second place with a few lines of code allowing customization of the interface and more rankable columns, but without those, it's little more than two windows and a search box. It has no vision, no purpose, but it has a chance, if it sees an upgrade soon.

My plan? I'll keep Google and MSN, but turn off indexing my hard drive in Google. I'll use Google for its communication search (email and IM) and MSN for my hard drive. That makes MSN the desktop search tool I find best, and Google the not-as-good-product with some decent features I really like. Jeeves? It kinda annoys me, and I have no reason to keep it over the others. This is one product, unlike the other two, that has earned its "beta" title.

AskJeeves Desktop Search Is Here
I'm installing the new AskJeeves Desktop Search as I write this (click to install), and here are some of the features from the site.When choosing options for initial indexing, Jeeves invites me to "choose wisely". Good advice for anyone looking into desktop search.

UPDATE: Well, this is a waste of time. AskJeeves Desktop Search crashes when I try to run it. I'll keep trying, but if it doesn't work, not only can't I review it, but that means the program has issues. I know its beta, but Google and MSN work fine for everybody, so why not Jeeves?

UPDATE 2: You can read my later post, since I found a crude work-around for the problem. Also, I would like to note that I was contacted by an employee from AskJeeves, and he was very interested in any information I had to help fix the bug. I was very impressed with the quick and professional response, and I advised them to start a blog :-)

Google Wins Big Part Of Geico Case
In a major victory for Google, the judge has dismissed a key part of Geico's complaint. From the Associated Press:
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema rejected a claim by auto insurance giant Geico Corp., which argued that Google should not be allowed to sell ads to rival insurance companies that appear whenever Geico's name is typed into the Google search box.

Brinkema said she would halt the trial at this point to put a decision in writing and she encouraged both parties to try and settle the remaining issues.
Well, Overture must be kicking themselves now.

John Battelle

AskJeeves Announces Desktop Search
Jeeves has put up the press release announcing its desktop search product, expected some time this afternoon for download here.
(via Search Engine Roundtable)

Search Engines Send E-Commerce Sites A Christmas Present
Internet Retailer has some interesting stats about search engines and internet shopping sites:
Google helps drive up share of Internet traffic to shopping sites

The share of Internet visitors landing on shopping and classified sites reached a record 9.73% for the week ended Dec. 11, a year-to-year rise of 24%, as Google led search engines in contributing traffic to shopping sites, Hitwise reports.

Hitwise also reports that the 9.73% of Internet users who visited shopping or classified sites broke the prior record set in Thanksgiving week, when 9.72% of Internet visitors landed on shopping sites.

Google accounted for the largest share of traffic, 4.26%, directed by search engines to shopping sites for the week ended Dec. 11, compared to Yahoo Search, with 2.24%, and MSN Search, with 0.54%, Hitwise says.

But while Google dominates overall search referrals to shopping sites, it doesn’t lead in every product category, Hitwise says. Google sends a higher share of traffic to books, sports, fitness and music sites than does Yahoo or MSN, but Yahoo is stronger in referrals to video, game, automotive and classified sites, and MSN sends a higher share of referrals to sites offering apparel and accessories, house and garden products and appliances and electronics, Hitwise says.

Of the top 500 unique search terms used in visits to shopping and classified sites, 86.7% were related to corporate brands, 10.8% were related to generic product names, and 2.5% were related to product brands, Hitwise reports.

The fastest growing shopping categories were grocery & alcohol, books, computers, sports & fitness, and flowers & gifts, Hitwise says.

In another search-related study, comScore Networks Inc. found that of the 25% of consumers who purchased a consumer electronics or computer product after searching online in the first quarter, 92% made their purchase offline. Of the 8% that bought online, the “vast majority” made their purchase in subsequent online sessions.

ComScore also found that generic product terms accounted for 70% of search volume for consumer electronics and computer products and for 60% of search-to-purchase conversions. In contrast, it found that branded terms accounted for 30% of search volume but 40% of search-to-purchase conversions.

Here's one thing I picked up on: 86.7% of these searches used corporate brands. This means that brands are relevant to search, and that it is important that search engines provide complete results for brands. You listening, Geico?

Browser Usage Meme
I normally don't do memes, but I'll make this one relevant. The idea: just type a letter in your address bar and list the first URL, to give people an idea of your browsing habits. Instead, I'll do an ABCs of InsideGoogle: The most relevant sites I use in regrads to this site. Here ya go, feel free to post any I should be using:

A - - Aboho - Where you can find forums that post RSS feeds of InsideGoogle and InsideMicrosoft, a great way to discuss the topics at hand. bet you didn't know there was an InsideGoogle message board of sorts, did you?
B - This one's just not fair, so I'm listing mutiples: - John Battelle's blog - The MSN Search Beta - Google Blogoscoped - Search Engine Watch Blog
blog.seattlepi.nwsource - Todd Bishop's Microsoft blog - MSDN blogs - An enormous collection of blogs by Microsoft employees
C - - Channel 9 - Community at Microsoft with a user-centric focus and lots of tips
D - still looking...
E - - eWeek
F - - Findory - No contest :-)
G - - Google - What'd you expect?
H - still looking...
I - - Google Image Search - Yeah, I know its another Google site, but I rely on it so much for lame clip art on my posts...
J - - Jeremy Zawodny's blog
K - still looking...
L - still looking...
M - - Microsoft Watch
N - - Neowin
O - still looking...
P - - Photobucket - I know there are better photo hosting sites, but it's fine for me, and I won't need it anymore when the whole shebang moves to dedicated hosting (you are okay with updating your bookmarks, right?)
Q - There are no q's on the internet!
R - - Resource Shelf - A huge resource I don't use often enough
S - - Robert Scoble, Microsoft Geek Blogger - Search Engine Lowdown
T - - Topix news aggregator - I actually never visit the site, but its RSS feeds (you'll notice three of them in my Blogroll) I could never live without
U - still looking...
V - still looking...
W - - Wired News
X - still looking...
Y - still looking...
Z - - Zorgloob

This is by no means a complete list, or even a "Favorites" list. It's simply a list of sites I rely on to produce this site. I may like a site and omit it (I even included a site or two I don't like). If you would like to suggest a site, let me know, but I won't include it unless I come to rely on it. Even if I like your site, I may wind up leaving it out.

Google Says: Disappoint Your Relatives This Holiday Season
The Google Blog has some holiday gifts. Problem is, they're the kind that'll get you dumped, fired, or just slapped for being an uncaring little so-and-so. Seriously.
Honey, I love you so much, I got you this free gift certificate from Google that entitles you to an already free download:
Enjoy the gift of Google

Dear _____________________
This holiday season, I would like to bestow on you the gift of Google. I hope and believe that downloading these free Google software products and installing them on your computer will make you more efficient at work, adept at play, happier online and off, and in general a better human being in all possible ways.

Love Always, ____________________
This certificate hereby entitles the bearer to
ONE (1) FREE download
of each of these very cool Google products:
(Yes, they were always free. It's the thought that counts.)

  • Google Desktop Search - search your own computer
  • Google Toolbar - add a search box to your browser
  • Google Deskbar - search from any application
  • Picasa Photo Organizer - find and share digital photos
To redeem, please visit this web page:
Honey? What's that you're muttering under your breath? Did you just say Brad would have gotten you a real present? No honey! Put down the tire iron!
Seriously, anyone who hands out Google Gift Certificates at the office Christmas party is going to look far worse than George Costanza handing out those "A Donation Has Been Made In Your Name" things. I challenge anyone to actually try to pull this off. I would be eminently impressed with the story, and I promise to console you when she dumps your sorry butt.

The Google Suggest Complete My Sentence Game
A poster at Slashdot points out the possibilities for fun with Google Suggest, so I suggest what I call:

The Google Suggest Complete My Sentence Game
The rules are simple: type a word or group of words that produces the funniest set of Suggestions. Examples:
Where are my...
student loans
lymph nodes
children movies
car keys
I have a l...
little shadow
little dreidel
lovely bunch of cocunuts
little sister they call her peep peep
list of folks i know
little dreidle
little list
lovely bunch of coconuts lyrics
little dreydl
little shadow that goes in and out
Do 15 million people ask Google to find their kids and 4 million ask it where their panties are? And I'm glad to know so many people are singing on the net about their dreidels/dreidles/dreydls.

Post any funny ones that you find, I'll collect the best ones.

Well, Google Glogoscoped has gone right ahead and set the standard for what craziness Google Suggest can suggest, and drawn up a nifty table that I would never steal and dump right in my own post:
Type This ...and Google suggests this
When will I ever ...use math
Where in the world is m ...marijuana legal
Is there someone ...out there for me
What time does get dark
Will I l ...lose my hair
Who said ...I have a dream
I want ...I want a hippopotamus for christmas
Who d I vote for
Is Bush ...wired
I lost m frog
When will I ...get married
Who danced ...the dance of seven veils
Why is ...the sky blue
Why is important to vote
Why is ...Mars red
I am ...bored
Will my count
My next ...job
I saw ...mommy kissing
I can't ...wait for the weekend
I really want of those
My sister is ...mean
How do you ...kiss
How do you ...make out
Is my ...boyfriend gay
Is my pregnant
Am I ...fat
How does one ...become a saint
How do people in the desert
What ...not to wear
How do I spell name in Chinese
Why is Google fast
My girlfriend ...hates me
When do I say ...I love you

Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Why Microsoft Always Wins
Technology Review has an intelligent, detailed article handicapping the search war. Writer Charles H. Ferguson, who was involved in the first browser war as a creator of FrontPage, argues that an industry standard proprietary architecture is the only way to succeed. The article starts off with explaining Netscape's greatest failure, which was to realize that fact:
At breakfast, and repeatedly over the following months, I tried to persuade Barksdale to take Microsoft seriously. I argued that if it was to survive, Netscape needed to imitate Microsoft’s strategy: the creation and control of proprietary industry standards. Serenely, Barksdale explained that Netscape actually invited Microsoft to imitate its products, because they would never catch up. The Internet, he said, rewarded openness and nonproprietary standards. When I heard that, I realized that despite my reservations about the monopolist in Redmond, WA, I had little choice. Four months later, I sold my company to Microsoft for $130 million in Microsoft stock*. Four years later, Netscape was effectively dead, while Microsoft’s stock had quadrupled.
Explaining how Microsoft approaches this sort of battle:

Strategies and Prescriptions
In all of Microsoft’s successful battles, it has used the same strategies. It undercuts its competitors in pricing, unifies previously separate markets, provides open but proprietary APIs, and bundles new functions into platforms it already dominates. Once it has acquired control over an industry standard, it invades neighboring markets.

In contrast, the losers in these contests have usually made one or more common mistakes. They fail to deliver architectures that cover the entire market, to provide products that work on multiple platforms from multiple companies, to release well-engineered products, or to create barriers against cloning. For example, IBM failed to retain proprietary control over its PC architecture and then, in belatedly attempting to recover it, fatally broke with established industry standards. Apple and Sun restricted their operating systems to their own hardware, alienating other hard­ware vendors. Netscape declined to create proprietary APIs because it thought Microsoft would never catch up. Google—and Yahoo—would do well to take note.

What can Google do to win? Well, Charles argues that Google and Yahoo merging might be a necessary first step to turning Google into an internet standard. Google would do well to try to reach a larger audience than it currently does. Last week, I caught a bit of flack for arguing that Google should have a portal of some sort, but the crux of my argument was that Google cannot afford to not offer anything important that anyone else offers. If Yahoo creates a search engine for movies, Google needs to build its own, or at least license IMDB's database. If Microsoft offers an RSS reader in its search portal (as Yahoo already does), why shouldn't Google? Locking customers into your site by giving them everything they need is important. Give customers one good reason to sign up with Yahoo or Microsoft, and they might find good reasons to switch entirely. I hate to say it, but Google doesn't have a single lock-in product yet. What Google product do you use that you couldn't switch from in the next fifteen minutes, if a better product came along? Gmail? GDS? Neither is good enough to lock-in users, and Google Search will only hemorrhage customers as other engines get better.

But even more importantly, as the article argues, Google must work at locking in content providers into Google's massive indices. Google may need to start offering its search appliances to corporations for next to nothing, or even for free. If companies use Google internally, and software is produced with "Google Inside", then Google has a lead it won't easily lose. Otherwise, Microsoft will just capture it all. Imagine this: How many programs have an internal search feature that sucks? If Google offered to just hand them some Google tech to make it better, most companies would take it. If Google doesn't, WinFS will come around with its powerful search algorithms, which program developers can use in their programs. Google has a powerful spell checker. Why isn't that offered to companies for their text editing products? If no one needs Google, what's going to keep Google around?

Is Google playing to win? Can Google win? Things certainly aren't as rosy as they looked back in April, when Gmail was released. Can anyone still argue that Google is untouchable?

This article was found via Search Engine Watch, which also noted this eWeek article which talks about the future of the search war, and argues that Google is on offense and Microsoft on defense. Really? You're only on offense if you have something to win. Google needs to solidify its territory while creating and expanding in other arenas. Microsoft is trying to take Google's territory. Which one sounds like offense to you?

Google Library Print Project Represents A Full Circle
John Battelle has more on today's anouncement of Google's program to digitize the libraries of Michigan, Harvard, Oxford, and the New York Public Library, as well as this New York Times article. One interesting point is that to Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin this represents them coming back to their roots, since Google began as a Stanford project to organize data. Maybe now Page and Brin can finally complete their Stanford degrees while they're at Stanford? Those freakin' slackers; taking a six-year leave from college to start a multi-billion dollar company.

Anyway, Battelle takes a look at other book-scanning projects, such as Amazon's and Project Gutenberg, as well as the revenue model for Google Print. If this takes off and Google scans a lot of books, they stand to make a lot of money, and finally diversify their revenue streams.

Google Announces Library Partnership
The press release:

The Libraries of Harvard, Stanford, the University of Michigan,
the University of Oxford, and The New York Public Library Join with
Google to Digitally Scan Library Books and Make Them Searchable Online

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - December 14, 2004 - As part of its effort
to make offline information searchable online, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:
GOOG) today announced that it is working with the libraries of Harvard,
Stanford, the University of Michigan, and the University of Oxford as
well as The New York Public Library to digitally scan books from their
collections so that users worldwide can search them in

"Even before we started Google, we dreamed of making the incredible
breadth of information that librarians so lovingly organize searchable
online," said Larry Page, Google co-founder and president of
Products. "Today we're pleased to announce this program to digitize
the collections of these amazing libraries so that every Google user
can search them instantly.

"Our work with libraries further enhances the existing Google Print
program, which enables users to find matches within the full text of
books, while publishers and authors monetize that information," Page
added. "Google's mission is to organize the world's information,
and we're excited to be working with libraries to help make this
mission a reality."

Today's announcement is an expansion of the Google PrintT program,
which assists publishers in making books and other offline information
searchable online. Google is now working with libraries to digitally
scan books from their collections, and over time will integrate this
content into the Google index, to make it searchable for users

"We believe passionately that such universal access to the world's
printed treasures is mission-critical for today's great public
university," said Mary Sue Coleman, President of the University of

For publishers and authors, this expansion of the Google Print program
will increase the visibility of in and out of print books, and generate
book sales via "Buy this Book" links and advertising. For users,
Google's library program will make it possible to search across
library collections including out of print books and titles that
weren't previously available anywhere but on a library shelf.

Users searching with Google will see links in their search results page
when there are books relevant to their query. Clicking on a title
delivers a Google Print page where users can browse the full text of
public domain works and brief excerpts and/or bibliographic data of
copyrighted material. Library content will be displayed in keeping with
copyright law. For more information and examples, please visit

Google Provides Inline European City Maps
Reader Mark O. points out that European versions of Google now have inline city map results. Search in Google UK for London, and you'll see the result pictured at right, with direct links to the city maps at two different mapping sites. One of the partners, Map24, says on their home page:
Due to the new cooperation between Google, Inc, and Mapsolute GmbH, maker of the unique mapping portal, it is now possible to search for city maps in all European Google search engines. If you enter a city name into, the first result list entry is a special link to that brings up the correspoinding city map. On the result page, for sure, the full set of the rich Map24 options is available to the users.
I prefer Map24's results to Michelin's, since Michelin requests input from the user and loads a billion cookies before agreeing to load the page.

Monday, December 13, 2004
Details On Ask Jeeves Desktop Search
Andy Beal has the exclusive first word on Ask Jeeves Desktop Search, which will launch tomorrow. Jeeves will be going with an interface (and after seeing MSN's release today, I couldn't agree more), and interesting features will include privacy protection, cache and bandwidth control, a two-pane preview view, and integration with Windows File>Open type dialog boxes (a brilliant idea). Should be another huge news day.

Google And Harvard Team Up For Library Search
One discussion that always pops up is how Google is limited because there are so many real-world resources it can't get at. Well, clearly Google is making an attempt to defeat that notion, by teaming up with Harvard to digitize their fifteen million book strong library. Similar deals are being launched at 9 a.m. tomorrow with Oxford, Stanford, the University of Michigan, and the New York Public Library. You will be able to find a FAQ tomorrow at
(via John Battelle)

Google vs. Geico: Day One
The Geico trademark infringement lawsuit against Google began with opening arguements today, and lots of people are talking about it. Geico's opening statement was pretty by-the-numbers, pushing the common trademark-protecting claim that trademark confusion, seperate completely from any monetary affects on the trademark holder, is still illegal. In my inexpert legal opinion, a stronger case could be made that Google is selling Geico's trademark to advertisers, but Geico attorney Charles Ossola decided to go the road more traveled. Google counsel Michael Page argued that the practice of selling trademarked terms to competitors is no different from a supermarket handing out coupons for a competitor's products when a product is purchased. Geico is seeking $8.65 million in damages. The trial is expected to last three days, after which Judge Leonie Brinkema can issue a decision or take the matter under advisement.

The Unofficial Google Weblog, referring to Geico's claims of confusion, says:
Yes, the confusion… then the inevitable tears and remorse, the lost hours and wasted dreams. Thank you, Geico, for your noble protection of the common person.

Yes, lost to competition. Heaven forbid that any company should capture market share through competitive advertising. The courts must intervene!
Gary Price of Search Engine Watch and Resource Shelf has posted the case docket here.
(via Associated Press, the Unoffical Google Weblog, Search Engine Lowdown, Search Engine Watch, Resource Shelf)

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