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Friday, April 16, 2004

Naked Google

This is not safe for work, but if you hit the Send button below the page will spell “Google” with naked people. ’Nuff said.


If you feel experimental, put your favorite search phrases into QueryTracker (built on top of Google):

“Within 24 hours of adding a new query, results should be available for viewing. When you view results, QueryTracker will allow you to enter feedback on which links are or are not relevant to your query. QueryTracker uses relevant feedback documents to build a query profile which helps improve relevance predictions for new documents (and changes to existing ones) encountered in the future”
QueryTracker Home

Gmail Ads


Adam Lasnik posted his detailed Gmail review. This remark mirrored my own feeling:

“While I’m almost afraid to admit this, I rarely even notice the ads on the righthand side of the page. They’re that unobtrusive.”
– Adam Lasnik, Google’s Gmail - An in-depth look (Bladam), April 14 2004

Adam goes on about Gmail ads and the possibility of “insensitive targeting”, which he does not think to be a problem:

“I sent a couple of test mails to my Gmail account, focusing linguistically on the theme of death and dying, and Gmail “outsmarted” me each time. That is to say, when I sent e-mails about “dying to see funny jokes... man, that last one had me out of breath, on the floor, and about ready to die!...” Gmail smartly showed ads for Joke stuff. When I wrote a note (thankfully untrue!) of equal length about a relative dying (“Isn’t it funny how the doctors didn’t notice anything strange about Aunt Martha before she died?... You have to laugh at the incompetence of medical staff nowadays...”), Gmail showed no ads whatsoever. I’m sure there will be instances in which Gmail’s targeting results in ironic or even unpleasant juxtapositions, but it seems to me that this should be rare, and in the end probably no more likely than the scenario of a recently-widowed woman seeing an untargeted but equally jarring ad for “Single? Looking to date?” ad in her Yahoo mail.”
– Adam Lasnik, Google’s Gmail - An in-depth look (Bladam), April 14 2004

See my previous Gmail review for more (including screenshots), and the Gmail FAQ.

Failure Googlebomb


Whereas Michael Moore firmly sits on top of Miserable Failure, just the word Failure googlebombs Bush on #1. (By the way, this blog tracks Googlebombs in the lower left spot.)


Joey deVilla makes some good points on Google’s social software Orkut:

“Since Orkut displays your friends in a nice tiled three-column mosaic – not unlike baseball cards, or to be less charitable, an entemologist’s collection of insects, clearly labelled and neatly pinned onto felt – there is a natural tendency for Orkut users to fill this list with as many people as they can. (...)

Remember that recent issue of The Onion, in which they wrote an article about a car that ran on anger? Maybe emotion-powered physical devices may not be possible, but that’s not the case with software. Orkut is powered by envy.”

In the competition to collect as many friends as possible, the definition of “friend” gets stretched. As far as the database is concerned, your spouse of thirty years, whom you’ve known since childhood and who donated live-saving bone marrow to you has exactly the same kind of relationship with you as the guy with whom you once instant-messaged.”
– Joey deVilla, Orkward, Part 1 (The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century), March 1, 2004

Note in the mean-time, Orkut did introduce a friends-scale.

Yahoo’s New Soul Search

You saw the spoof, now see the implementation: Yahoo’s soul search will let you ask “What is my destiny?” and returns a different answer every time.

Like from Back to the Future:
“I’m George, George McFly! I’m your density. I mean... your destiny!”
Eini would be proud.

[Via Battelle.]


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