Google Blogoscoped

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Google Gallery

Google-blog.dirson points to this huge, private Google gallery by Wesley Chan. Wesley says:

“I’m the staff photographer for Google, Inc.

I also have a day job as a product manager but I’d much rather annoy my colleagues by taking a ridiculous number of photos of them.”
– Wesley Chan, Galleries

Send Some Gmail

I love playing around with new Gmail, so now would be a nice time to let me know you are a reader of my blog, why you come here, what you like, what you don’t like, how frequently you visit, and everything else which comes to your mind! If you have a minute or two, please send an email to <>.

Re: Google Personalization Ten Years From Now

This was an email in reply to my Google Personalization Ten Years From Now post which James Moriarty granted me to publish here:

“What is the problem with creating an ’intelligence’ that can characterize us all? If there is something utterly ’human’ across this world, one binding feeling regardless of nature and nurture then I want to see it. And while I’m at it I want to remove pedophiles, murders, thieves, religious beliefs, human rights and anybody who is not me. This I believe is the universal search for the self.

I want to look whatever it is that makes people ’sentient’ and dogs not right in the eye. Protein chains over 400 million years ago had no idea they’d create humans, they followed their nature; To Sequence. Words, numbers, religion, economy, cities, education and solitaire - All sequencing. And Google..... - Well you can see the connection here.

I put it to you that the inevitable sequencing puts ’people’ into positions. To work, spawn, educate the spawn to work, etc. Throw in recreation that is guided by the same system and you have as close to perpetual motion as this universe can take.

The days of doing what ’you’ like in your ’own’ place went the second ’we’ started drawing on the walls. Whoever ’I’ am and whoever ’you’ are will be dead 1 day. The intelligence of the days after will be as alien to us as we are to neutrinos. It may be presently fashionable to talk of Google and it’s going to far while on a Google blog board, but reason does not find arrogance stylish. Reason is aptly named.

The competition here is for all. And everyone’s playing whether they like it or not.

If it is not Google it is something else based on Google.”
– James Moriarty, April 8 2004

Google and Jewwatch

I’m getting many emails lately telling me to remove JewWatch from the Google rankings (note: I’m not in charge of Google).
If you now type “Jew” into Google ( has been jooglebombed to 4th place), Google advertises a little message to the right side as sponsored link:

Offensive Search Results
We’re disturbed about these results
as well. Please read our note here.

On the explanation page, Google states:

“If you use Google to search for “Judaism,” “Jewish” or “Jewish people,” the results are informative and relevant. So why is a search for “Jew” different? One reason is that the word “Jew” is often used in an anti-Semitic context. Jewish organizations are more likely to use the word “Jewish” when talking about members of their faith. The word has become somewhat charged linguistically (...)

In fact, prior to this incident, the word “Jew” only appeared about once in every 10 million search queries. (...)

Some people concerned about this issue have created online petitions to encourage us to remove particular links or otherwise adjust search results. Because of our objective and automated ranking system, Google cannot be influenced by these petitions.”
– Google Inc, An explanation of our search results, April 2004

Gmail Games


Since AdWords can now be triggered by simply sending a gmail, there are a lof of new opportunities for experiments, games and hacks.

For example, take G-Irony: write a mail message that triggers ads which completely go against the idea of the email.

Consider the hack following to be outdated – I got the information that Gmail prevents this from happening (Google will test ads “in the wild” first before letting them into their email program). Also, my tests of this approach did not yield any results.

Another possible hack is to create a random word which is unique – say, a fantasy word, or a random ID, like “garblemarble1234”.
You then send a greeting to someone with Gmail account, telling them to “Look at the ads to the right”.
In the ad, you can then display your own message, like “Happy Birthday” – because you are the only one whose ads target “garblemarble1234”.
All you need for this to work is an AdWords account, and well, a little time on your hands to build a surprise web site as well just in case your friend clicks on the ad*.

*This has some minor privacy side effects, as your AdWords account will tell you for sure your friend saw the message, and clicked on it; some spammers might make something more nasty out of this. Spammers are always interested to know which email accounts are actually looked at.


If you can think up any nice ways of having fun with Gmail, let me know at and I’ll add it here!

Gmail Usability Problems

After my first positive Gmail review (note: I’m still delighted by Gmail) here are two problems with its usability:

Both problems stem from a DHTML approach (HTML layers are switched via JavaScript, use of framesets, and so on), which admittedly does speed up the application. However as we can see, this speed comes with a price. I’m simply not used to Google disabling my basic browser features (even Hotmail keeps my back button intact).

Google Ads Go Local

If you log into your AdWords account, you will see Google added a new “localized” option. E.g. for Germany I can now create a campaign and select state “Baden-Würtemberg” from the list to more specifically target advertisement.

Google Domains

Gary from ResourceShelf send me this interesting Google domains list.
“It contains all of the domain names registered (com, org, net, info, us) since April 1, 2004 that contain the word Google. Over 100 and the month is just half over. It’s fun to look at and monitor.”


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