Google Blogoscoped

Sunday, March 7, 2004

StumbleUpon - Rating Toolbar

“I’m hooked on the thing, and rate it as the second most useful web browsing tool after Google itself”, PcPro is quoted.
And their motto is: “There’s Google. And there’s StumbleUpon. What else do I need...”

Who’s that? It lets its 100,000 users approve or disapprove websites by clicking “I like it” or “Not for me” on a toolbar. Also, comments can be given. And pressing “Stumble” returns a random page from your preferred topics.

Mapping the Web

And already, the first time I click “Stumble” I discovered a great page: An Atlas of Cyberspaces – Topology Maps.

[Topology Maps]

DMOZ Search as RSS brings you a Open Directory Search to RSS feed converter [via Gadgetopia].

You Can Test Google’s New Look

Google is testing a new look for a small percentage of its vistors and there’s a bookmarklet which will let you see it too:

[Toggle Google Look]
(Add this link to favorites/ bookmarks, and choose the favorite when at Google.)

This nice tool is by Jessy Ruderman [via Aaron Swartz].

Google Layout Before and After



The new look is a slight improvement to the old one. Even lighter with less saturated colors and more whitespace to breathe. A smaller logo on SERPs, a focus on “Web” in default search, and even less clutter. (There’s no more background-colored tabs.)
Also, the Google Directory has been dumped from this view. Instead you can now directly click on “More...” to get to all options. (The Google Directory is based on, which seems to be getting much slower these days – in any case I believe it’s Google’s focus to automate web results, and not let them be hand-picked.)
Another simplification is the logo position, which is now always centered (in current “old” look it moves to the left on search result pages).

Desktop Search Getting Worse

John Battelle’s complaining desktop search is getting worse, and he’s right.

Did you know that in Windows XP, not only does the default Windows Explorer search take you to a selection box showing an animated dog before you can enter your search terms – but also, that it only works for a limited amount of file extensions? E.g. when you are a web developer looking for text inside certain server-side scripting languages, Windows simply won’t find the text. So if you do PHP, ASP and the like, do not trust Windows XP with even the smallest full text search task. (There’s some registry hack to fix this, but it should really be patched by Microsoft, not the end-user.)

Also you can’t easily change certain settings. I once tried to forbid Windows XP to search through ZIP files (because it would take too long). After all, I already provided a limited amount of extensions, and *.zip wasn’t one of them. Still, Windows in its continuing efforts to override user choice is not interested in what I’m looking for. It seems to be too busy trying to find out how to give to me what I’m not looking for.

And then, there’s the fact that calling the search functionality in Windows Explorer doesn’t open a new window like it used to, but instead throws you into a completely different folder view, getting rid of whatever folder view you were at. This also takes some time getting used to with no actual UI improvement.

We wonder why Google takes below a single second to find something in billions of pages (and do some clever ranking at the same time), whereas Windows takes anything from minutes to hours – for a small fraction of documents.


Googleblaster* lets you enter several queries into its textbox to allow for multi-tab browsing. There’s also the Google Alphabet to see who ranks top for every letter in the alphabet. [Via Orkut’s Jeffrey]

*Pan Galactic Gargleblaster pun likely intended.

RankPulse, a SERPs Zeitgeist

This came in via email by Denis Grosz: RankPulse. The site tracks 1,000 selected keyphrases (like “engagement ring”, “accommodation” or “web development”) and displays top movers and other charts.

“The RankPulse Index (RPI) provides an overall glimpse into the daily fluctuations of Google results.”

I really like the idea and execution (via Google Web API). Some more keywords than 1,000 would make it even better.


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