Google Blogoscoped

Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Technorati Dance Started

The Technorati Dance began today. It’s not quite as sophisticated as Google’s yet. First you could see database error messages exposed, now the backlinks are gone. This happened before and you should expect things to be back to normal soon.

Uru Licence Plate Conspiracy


A licence plate is hidden in computer game “Uru: Ages Beyond Myst”, and it originates on a website of a German photographer. German Spiegel Online writes (my translation):

“Did the developers of game company Cyan Worlds grab the image via Google without asking for permission? There’s no deep inside from “Uru: Ages Beyond myst” publisher Ubisoft. Product manager Torsten Kapp states this should be nothing but coincidence. International law department however is working on the case.”
РChristian Sțcker, Das Geheimnis des mysteri̦sen Nummernschilds (Spiegel Online), March 2004

A forum poster comments on the 7500-FT-A case:

“This reminds me of a problem Ubisoft had with Splinter Cell. Somewhere in the game an Ubi artist put in a made-up URL. A fan of the game saw this URL and registered it and started a web site there that wasn’t the nicest of web sites.”
– DniExplorer, Zandi’s trailer - licence plate (, March 09 2004

Ban Comic Sans

[Ban Comic Sans]

“Like the tone of a spoken voice, the characteristics of a typeface convey meaning. The design of the typeface is, in itself, its voice. Often this voice speaks louder than the text itself. Thus when designing a “Do Not Enter” sign the use of a heavy-stroked, attention-commanding font such as Impact or Arial Black is appropriate. Typesetting such a message in Comic Sans would be ludicrous. Though this is sort of misuse is frequent, it is unjustified. Clearly, Comic Sans as a voice conveys silliness, childish naivete, irreverence, and is far too casual for such a purpose. It is analogous to showing up for a black tie event in a clown costume.

We are summoning forth the proletariat around the globe to aid us in this revolution. We call on the common man to rise up in revolt against this evil of typographical ignorance. We believe in the gospel message “ban comic sans.” It shall be salvation to all who are literate. By banding together to eradicate this font from the face of the earth we strive to ensure that future generations will be liberated from this epidemic and never suffer this scourge that is the plague of our time.”
Ban Comic Sans Campaign

Googlebot Finding Unlinked Files?

“The bot, says [Craig Neville-Manning, senior research scientist at Google], can find content that’s unlinked. That’s right, the Google bot can find single pages dangling unlinked in space. He didn’t explain how this happens.”
– Garrett French, Crawler Insights From Google And Yahoo! (WebProNews), 8/3/2004 [via Klaus Schallhorn]

OK, if Google would only follow links from pages it stored, we may wonder how it stored its first page. This however enters realms of religions. Usually, Google only indexes what’s linked which makes this statement by a Google scientist (if quoted correctly) a bit strange.

So unless the Googlebot employs hacking methodology, there’s no way to find unlinked files on a server, unless the URL is otherwise publicly posted (e.g. with Google’s “Add URL” service, or in a newsgroup). And if Google would be just trying to have a lucky hit by querying random URLs, they’d leave a trace in our server-logs.

One exception are default files. Google indexes a lot of browsing-enabled directories with no default page of their own. In fact you can see what’s stored inside those directories, which are often forgotten by webmasters, by using FindForward’s “Just Files” search.

Then again I recently was quite amazed to find a URL appearing in Google which I never made public – it was a subfolder “xy” on my server, but I linked to the sub-domain “” and never to the sub-folder. This happened to me before on AllTheWeb (they index this blog as which I never made public).


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