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Saturday, December 11, 2004

Google Inventions of the Future (1 of 10)

Number 1. The Google GoBot. The Google GoBot is a little walking piece of hardware with an unprecedented level of intelligence. Fifty-thousand beta versions have been produced in the year 2032, set loose on earth to crawl our cities. A GoBot has just one mission in its electronic mind: uncover fresh information whereever it may hide, whenever it may show. Details will be reported back to the Google headquarters in realtime.

What went right: Google GoBots were designed to uncover secrets, and they were bound to legal laws, too. Spying on dark alleys with their night vision lenses they helped report several crimes. One rather important Las Vegas led drug syndicate had to give up its nationwide activities “due to those pestering Googlebots alerting the police.”

What went wrong: Google GoBots had their own idea of human privacy. They started lurking in people’s backyards and gardens, peeking through windows into their bathrooms, questioning neighbors, and even handing out Google Candy to kids who reveal important information on their parents.

[Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5]

Reverse-Engineering Google Suggest

Some people have helped find out what's behind Google Suggest – like, for example, XmlHttpRequest. Using this information I came up with Google Suggests (note the extra "s") which screenscrapes Google Suggest:

This is the crucial PHP function which returns an array of suggestions for a given keyword:

function getSuggestions($keyword)
    $suggestions = array();
    $url = '[keyword]';
    $url = str_replace('[keyword]', $keyword, $url);
    $sAll = implode( ' ', file($url) );
    list($sStart, $sSuggestions, $sPagecount) = explode('new Array', $sAll);

    $sSuggestions = str_replace('(', '', $sSuggestions);
    $sSuggestions = str_replace(')', '', $sSuggestions);
    $sSuggestions = str_replace(',', '', $sSuggestions);
    $sSuggestions = str_replace('" "', ';', $sSuggestions);
    $sSuggestions = str_replace('.', '', $sSuggestions);
    $sSuggestions = str_replace('"', '', $sSuggestions);
    $suggestions = explode(';', $sSuggestions);

    return $suggestions;

What’s That Song

Guess the tune in this new audio game. Andy Baio calls it “a brilliant use of the Amazon API."

Google Suggest Creator on His Invention

“The project [Google Suggest] stemmed from an idea I had a few months ago, and since then I’ve been working on it in my 20% time, which is a program where Google allows their employees to devote 20% of their working hours to any project they choose. What’s really amazed me about this project is how in a matter of months, working on my own, I was able to go from a lunch table conversation to launching a new service.”
– Kevin Gibbs, Google Software Engineer, I’ve got a suggestion, December 10, 2004

Google Suggest Alphabet

The Google Alphabet displays the most popular keyword for each letter, as chosen by the new Google Suggest.


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