Google Blogoscoped

Thursday, June 5, 2003

Meet Google’s Artist

Meet Google’s Artist this Sunday, June 8 2003, on TechTV (12 p.m., 5 p.m. Eastern):

“The best part of Dennis Hwang’s job (Google’s assistant webmaster) isn’t in his job description. Hwang is also the search engine’s holiday artist, creating dozens of theme logos each year for Google’s 200 million daily users. This weekend on “Tech Live” we interview Hwang to find out how he dreams up Google sketches.”
Hot Click: Secret Search Engine Sketcher, June 5 2003

“Dennis Hwang (Hwang Jung-moak), a 23-year-old Korean computer artist in the United States, who has been drawing the face of Google for almost two years, creating a buzz of sorts with his simple yet witty designs. (...)

Herald: What was the first logo you designed for Google?

Hwang: Google had been using outside contractors to do the earlier logos, so the first project I got was modifying the Fourth of July logo in 2000. The two founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, wanted something more fun, so I redrew parts of the image. The next logo was for Bastille Day, which is the first logo I did from scratch.

Herald: Which letters are your favorite targets for manipulation?

Hwang: Understandably, the “O” and the “L” are the easiest to deal with. The “O” has become a Halloween pumpkin, a Nobel Prize medal, the Korean flag symbol and the planet earth. The “L” has been used as a flagpole, the Olympic flame cauldron or a snow ski. The first “G” is the most difficult to deal with, and I don’t think the “E” has gotten much action because of its location.”
– Kim Jin, Computer artist doodles oodles of ’Google’s (Korea Herald), 03/22/2002

“Hwang’s designs are simple, befitting the spare nature of Google’s site. They cleverly remind Google’s tens of millions of users that real people, not just soulless computers, are working behind the scenes.”
– Brian Bergstein, Google Programmer Creates Buzz (, Mar. 03, 2002

And then there’s the imitators...

Google Cartoon 3

’Is there a doctor in the house? Or someone with access to Google?’

A Google Premium Membership Search

The current survey for 50 search engine features Google, or another search engine, could have — and please vote if you haven’t yet — shows that people* would love to access subscription-based information services via the Google interface.
If you’re serious about online research, you’ll also seriously be interested in squeezing out the last drop of available information; especially because that restricted information could be the juiciest data.

*Many, arguably, are Google Answers Researchers.

Could Google benefit from a premium subscription service — to give members the option to search parts of the deep web that are otherwise not accessible from web search?
I am talking about services like: ProQuest, Factiva, Wall Street Journal, STAT USA, Freedonia Market, FAOSTAT, OCLC FirstSearch, and New York Times.

It is of not much importance wether these services themselves would cost a web searcher money to use. This is only another hurdle put on top of the fact that it becomes too time-consuming to go through all of their search interfaces one by one.

How would a “Google-wrapper” around all these work, from Google’s perspective?

How would a “Google-wrapper” around all these work, from user perspective?
One would simply pay Google a monthly (quarterly, yearly, ...) fee. It should be small enough for the “instinct buy” crowd, say around and below 30 US-$/year. (Maybe cheaper — or even free — for University students, Google Answers Researchers, scientists, and so on.)
Now what Google would do is either offer a separated tab, which would browse only those premium services, or put all the new information into “normal” results as well as soon as you’re logged in. Clearly visually separated of course. (They might have to add artificial ranking boosters because people normally don’t link to private-access data online, thus giving it a decreased PR.)

Here’s how mixing premium results into normal ones could look like:

Google (short of some PayPal donations) is about the only website that managed to get my money. I pay for AdWords, asking at Google Answers, and my Blogger Pro account. Congratulations.* And I would pay for Premium Search as well.

*If this sounds like advertising, feel free to read through some of the negative rants here, and rest assured I’d stop paying as soon as Google would start to fail delivering what I need.

So ask yourself — would you be willing to pay for that too? If so, why not email Google?


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