Google Blogoscoped

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

German Google Books

Bestselling Google Hacks is now also available in German. Other German Google books include Virales Marketing. Was Google, GMX und Napster erfolgreich macht and Google Dirty Tricks.

Spanish Problems With Google Groups

Until I find a good English translation, I’m not exactly sure what’s happening. But several Spanish news sources report that Google blocked a certain ADSL IP and many cannot connect to Google Groups. (It’s even coming through Google-news USA — so far it’s the first time I notice Spanish-language news there.)

Microdoc Suggests Open-Source Blogger

What happened so far: Google bought Pyra, the company behind Blogger. Then, Google introduced the blogger-only BlogThis! button on their new Google Toolbar. Some people were concerned about this move. Google is for everyone, right?

Now Microdoc suggests an open-source approach to Google Inc:

“Why don’t you form an organization and push it off into the Open Source World – something like and put all software into that realm? This would bring about a couple of things – first there could be some settling of a standard of blogging. Second, your blogging software could be the basis of loads of other blogging sites. Third, variations of the basic Blogger Software could be made by individual companies, much like Lindows and Red Hat are created over the top of Linux. In this way, everyone gets a BlogThis! and everyone can have access to great software.”
– Microdoc, BlogThis! In Any Browser – Is This Very Google?, 07/29/2003

More on: Is Google God?

In reply to the New York Times article:

“Google’s connective capacities seem divine because they are quite literally beyond the average person’s ability to truly understand how they work. As Arthur C. Clarke famously observed, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

And Google does have some attributes that make it very appealing as a deity. The most obvious is that Google answers back when you ask it a question – in contrast to the problematic nature of prayer, which leaves petitioning humans struggling to figure out whether the unseen has even heard, much less responded.

Moreover, if Google’s answer is negative or vague, it lets you do an instant “repray.” You simply change your search terms and tease a truer (or shorter) answer back.”
– Stephen Strauss, Sees all, knows all: Is it God or Google?, Jul. 30, 2003

Historical Findings

What are people using to find something in the real world?

If they’re living in 19th Century London, they consult Sherlock Holmes to navigate through trouble and towards a solution — or they play detectives themselves, after indulging themselves in Doyle-fiction; “get the scoop by being a snoop”. (It’s easy because “when you eliminate all other possibilities, what remains, no matter how improbable, is the answer.”)
If they’re Theseus, being loved by Ariadne (daughter of King Minos), they take her string to find the way back out of the Cretan Labyrinth after slaying the Minotaur. (I’m not referring to the automatic-classifier-of-Web-documents-that-exploits-the-context-of-links-in-Web-documents-Theseus.)
Walking through a modern city, they are guided street signs, and other helpful people they find on the way. They might call information with their mobile phone. Or consult their PDA’s GPS, if they’re out of a compass (which is of greatest use in combination with a map). Orienteering, the skilled ones look at the sun in daylight, or at the stars at nighttime.
They track the footprints of animals, or their scratches in the bark of trees. The olfactory semiotics experts go by the sense of smell. Or maybe they are trusting someone else’s nose, running after their dog to lead them. (“The scenting ability of the Police Drug Dog often provides the only hope of locating illegal narcotics”.)
They could be consulting the oracle of Delphi, or a librarian, and carry a divining rod around. They might let the Bible (the word of God) guide them, or maybe more modern philosophers like Dale Carnegie. Such are the ways of meatspace.

And online?

There’s mostly just Google. Even though expert web searchers do use their nose for best results.


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