Google Blogoscoped

Saturday, May 1, 2004

Gmail Around the World

If you want to find out what has been said about Gmail around the world, look at FindForward’s Global search for “Gmail”. (Of course you can also search for any other word.)

What If... Google Would Be Evil? (Part 1 of 10)

Google repeated their mantra in the latest statement attached to their IPO filing, when Larry Page wrote “Don’t be evil”. This was to remind us what the big G strives to avoid. And some might already be scared. We don’t like to switch tools all the time, and put trust into things served by Google may be our website host (, our community (Orkut), our paycheck (AdSense), and last not least our search engine. But we are ready to watch for the signs – and as Google also repeatedly states, other sites are just one click away.
So let’s ask ourselves: What if... Google would be evil?

1. Google front-page now a portal

The Google search engine has somewhat lost its focus on search. The box is still centered and clearly visible, but there are a few dozen new services surrounding it. Such as dating, movies, chat, games, and what-not. Obviously the new mantra is: Don’t rely on search alone. People are reminded of AltaVista, and not in a good way.

To be continued...


New Flash-based search engine Ujiko lets you decide wether or not you like what you are served – by clicking on either the trash or the heart icon. [Via ResourceShelf.]

Gmail on eBay

Gmail (which is getting one month old today) may be free for some, but that doesn’t stop others from paying for it. If you are willing to spend around $20 to $200, a Gmail account may be yours – at eBay. [Via SearchEngineJournal.]


CBS Marketwatch has a video ready of Herb Greenberg analyzing the Google IPO, telling what the relatively rare “dutch auction” Google chose means for investors (more stock for all to a more balanced price, and less of a roller-coaster later on, apparently). Also at CBS Marketwatch, Frank Barnako ponders how to sound like a Google insider, and decides Google blogs are the way to go.

First Signs of Google’s Blog Search

Technorati is becoming about the only way for bloggers to google their feedback (trackbacks are so 2001). However, Abakus shows this URL is working already, hinting at a future to come:

Irrational Numbers

“Reading Bambi Francisco’s CBS MarketWatch article, I see that Google chose to raise $2,718,281,828 in their IPO. Why such an irrational (wink, wink) number?

It turns out that 2.718281828... (...and an infinite number of digits after that) is ’e’, the base of the natural logarithm. Because it can’t be expressed as a ratio of two numbers, it’s known mathematically as “irrational” – something some bankers might say about the way Google is going public. However, ’e’ also happens to be “transcendental,” another fancy property of a number that means it can’t be expressed by a finite number of algebraic operations. Maybe Google is making a little wordplay – saying they expect to transcend expectations – to overcome or notably exceed ordinary limits.”
– Peter Kaminski, Irrational? Transcendental!, April 30, 2004

As the saying goes, be nice to nerds... you might end up in Googleplex.

Accessing Flash

While Flash content is now indexed fine in Google*, search results are anything but meaningful. Or what would you think when reading:

Skip Intro Skip Intro Skip Intro Skip Intro Skip Intro Skip Intro Skip Intro Skip


loading loading loading loading loading loading loading loading loading loading loading


Google Google Google’s complex

So there does not seem to be any way for Flash to meaningful linearize content. Added to that, content may be stuck to XML files for multi-language Flash applications (or really any application where content needs frequent updates).

Same holds true for SVG, the “accessible” Flash (based on industry-standard XML).
Scalable Vector Graphics contain a lot of meta-data which can be used (instead of e.g. a graphical piece like a pie shart). However to Google, SVG at the moment is just text, and displayed as such in the results. In fact it makes even less sense than formerly very non-accessible Flash.

Even if Flash is indexed, and if you see it in the search results, and are tempted to click on it – you may then come to a Flash which was not intended to work outside the context of the HTML page. Just think of an animated “Play” button to fire up some music, scaled up to span the whole browser size. Not very meaningful, is it?

One might wonder if Flash content would not have deserved its own tab, just like images do. An image out of context can be just as meaningful as a Flash out of context, and this is what Google Images tries to resolve; they show the image on top, and the HTML page it rests on fills the rest of the screen.

In any case, I’d like to see a good guide on just what tricks are needed to make a Flash file showing up fine in SERPs. Or if that’s not possible, I guess webmasters will now have to start to exclude SWFs from being indexed at all.

*Some people did not understand the news behind Google now indexing Flash. Yes, Google did previously show links to Flash files. But it did not understand their content. And this is what’s new: Google now goes through the binary SWF files resting on our servers, and it will read the words hidden in those files, and it will show those words upon request by using its query engine.

**I got this when searching for “Google”.


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