Google Blogoscoped

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Google Reviews

ZDNet’s Garett Rogers found first signs of a “Google My Reviews” service. Garett comments, “this website shows you all the ’reviews’ you have made through Google properties. For example, it shows me one I made with the new Google Base ’rating’ feature”. I get the page too, though I don’t have anything reviewed yet...
[Thanks Mambo and Niraj Sanghvi! Screenshot by Garett.]

Join the ongoing forum comments.

Google Releases Russian Translation, News

Google released Google News Russia, as well as a translation option for Russian <-> English. The Russian translations are different than the Systran translator offered at Babelfish, so this might well be Google’s own new machine translation effort at work. As far as Google News Russia is concerned, it’s interesting to note that result snippets are over 3 times as long as the English ones presented at Google News USA, at least when I compare the letter count from two random snippets... does anyone have an explanation?
[Hat tip to Hermon, TomHTML and Ionut!]

A Google Phone?

David Smith of the Guardian writes (my emphasis):

[Google] has held talks with Orange, the mobile phone operator, about a multi-billion-dollar partnership to create a ’Google phone’ which makes it easy to search the web wherever you are. (...)

Their plans centre on a branded Google phone, which would probably also carry Orange’s logo. The device would not be revolutionary: manufactured by HTC, a Taiwanese firm specialising in smart phones and [PDAs], it might have a screen similar to a video iPod. But it would have built-in Google software which would dramatically improve on the slow and cumbersome experience of surfing the web from a mobile handset.

Also see Google’s existing mobile services.

Join the ongoing forum comments.

[Thanks David Hetfield!]

Track Google Bugs

What an excellent idea! Wouter Schut got fed up with untracked Google bugs across Google’s many services, and now created a Google-based but completely unofficial bug tracking system... by kidnapping the Google Code project platform. You can help out by adding a bug description whenever you see something go wrong with any of Google’s services (like Gmail, Picasa Web, Google Blog search, and what-not).

[Thanks Wouter! Also see the previous discussion.]

Google Maps With Multiple Destinations

Google added a feature that lets you add multiple destinations to your driving directions. For example, I’m searching Google Maps for [from stuttgart, germany, to cologne, germany]. Then there’s a link titled “Add destination...” below the left-hand description; clicking it, I can enter a third destination ([aachen, germany], in this case), and another marker will be added to the map. Note Google put some thought into the usability details: the first marker is green with a “play” icon, the second marker is yellow with a “pause” icon, and the final marker is red with a “stop” icon...

[Thanks Billy Masters, who found it at Lifehacker!]

A-hole Googlebomb?

Is this a googlebomb (and if so, is it new)? Try entering “asshole” into and click the “I’m feeling lucky” button – you’ll end up on a movie clip criticizing George W. Bush (well, this may differ depending on your location or the datacenter you hit – I’m ending up here). There’s already emails circulating which, once again, make it look as if it’s Google Inc speaking out politically here, but a googlebomb is just lots of people getting together to link to a certain page with a certain defined keyword. [Thanks Brinke!]

Book: Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge

Jean-Noël Jeanneney is the president of France’s Bibliothèque Nationale, and in his book Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge: A View from Europe criticizes Google for misrepresenting the world’s cultural heritage by focusing too much on English-language works. wraps up some more key points from the book.

Personally I think it’s absolutely obvious but also very natural that a US-based company is tending to focus more on the US – we see this in almost every new product or product feature Google releases, from Google Maps (which always brought higher resolution to the US first) to Google Books (which often doesn’t let you see works in the public domain in certain countries outside the US, even when those countries put the works in the public domain as well)... the list goes on and on, of course.

[Thanks RightReading and Kevin!]

How Hard Is It to Move to the US Anyway?

A search for [permanent residency] returns ’Page Request Not Found’

[Via Drivl.]

Most Popular Google Searches 2006

Google released their Year-End Zeitgeist statistics showing popular search queries. According to these stats, which look “tuned"*, a lot of people asked “who is borat”, “where is togo”, and “how to blog”... [Thanks Eric Lebeau!]

*There’s no adult queries, to begin with. We have to go back to AOL’s data leak to find untuned search queries.


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