Google Blogoscoped

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

What Famous People of the Past Would Have Googled

(Humphrey Bogart)

(Joseph McCarthy)

(Stanley Kubrick)

(Groucho Marx)

(Albert Einstein)

(Marilyn Monroe)

(William Shakespeare)

(Marcus Brutus)

(Friedrich Nietzsche)

(Winston Churchill)

(Adolf Hitler)


(Kurt Cobain)

(Thomas Edison)

(Charles Darwin)


Times Square Error Message

I suppose this broken sign on Times Square isn’t a doctored photo. More in Flickr’s BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) category.

Your Favorite Blogs of 2004

Everybody’s been publishing their best-of 2004 lists. Lynn in her First Annual Me Too Weblog Awards wraps up her rules:

“Nomination and voting is entirely arbitrary. I am the sole judge and the only person allowed to vote. The selection process is highly secret and very lengthy, in some cases taking as long as 60 seconds for each winner. Any blog may win in more than one category. The judge’s decisions are final.”

So what are your favorite weblogs of 2004?

Reading Random Blogs

“Thing is, it’s reading the unrelated stuff, the fun stuff, that is important. It’s through picking up on a random comment by someone else that some how fits in just so with something that someone else said and something that I was thinking that pokes my brain and gives me that a-ha! moment that I constantly seek. It’s through faffing and playing around on the edges of things and allowing my brain to synthesise ideas without the imposition of expectation or structure that I stand the greatest chance of coming to some new understanding.”
– Suw, 500 down, 3061 to go, December 21, 2004

The Top 20 Misconceptions

  1. “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.” (82,200 results in Google)
  2. “There are Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.” (5,600)
  3. “Santa Claus really exists.” (348)
  4. “Google is not a good search engine” (27)
  5. “If you hit yourself, you die.” (26)
  6. “Smoking prevents cancer.” (22)
  7. “People can really fly.” (21)
  8. “You can learn Chinese in 10 minutes.” (18)
  9. “Monkeys are smarter than humans.” (12)
  10. “The earth is definitely flat.” (12)
  11. “People always learn from their mistakes.” (9)
  12. “No one can count to four.” (5)
  13. “Blogs have no influence.” (3)
  14. “Evil people are always dumb.” (2)
  15. “Kids have higher IQs than their parents.” (2)
  16. “If you kill someone, they wonÂ’t actually die.” (1)
  17. “Hitler wasn’t as bad as he’s presumed to be.” (1)
  18. “Most people believe in witches.” (1)
  19. “People don’t just make up stories.” (1)
  20. “People love to get Spam.” (1)


A long and interesting read by Mark Dery covers blogging – what it should and what it shouldn’t be. No earth-shattering insights but a nice summary nonetheless.

Government Search Mandatory

“Search engines on federal Web sites will become mandatory by the end of 2005, according to a Dec. 17 memo from the Office of Management and Budget.”
– David Perera, OMB: Set up search, December 22, 2004 [Via SearchEngineWatch.]

Santy Worm Uses Google

Net-Worm.Perl.Santy.a (Santy, for short) is a worm performing a Google search to find vulnerable sites.

“Santy.a is something of a novelty – it creates a specially formulated Google search request, which results in a list of sites running vulnerable versions of phpBB. It then sends a request containing a procedure which will trigger the vulnerability to these sites. Once the attacked server processes the request, the worm will penetrate the site, gaining control over the resource. It then repeats this routine.

Once the worm has gained control over a site, it will scan all directories on the infected site. All files with the extensions .htm, .php, .asp, .shtm, .jsp and phtm will be overwritten with the text ’This site is defaced!!! This site is defaced!!! NeverEverNoSanity WebWorm generation’.”
Kaspersky, 21 Dec 2004 [Via SearchEngineWatch.]

“Google has responded to calls from antivirus companies to stop the advance of an Internet worm that was using the search engine’s technology to spread among online bulletin boards.”
– Munir Kotadia, Google stops spread of Santy worm, December 22, 2004

Unique Names

“Ten years ago, when you named a new child, you just needed to make sure the moniker was easy to spell and didn’t rhyme with “smelly” or any other schoolyard taunt. But now, you’ve got to consider the search engine effect: is the name easily located via a Google search, or will your kid be confused with a multitude of John Smiths?

The solution? A unique name for which the only possible search results would be related to your child.”
– Hunter Walk, Modern advice for parents-to-be (Google Blog), December 21, 2004

Yahoo Mail Privacy

“The family of a Marine killed in Iraq is pleading with Internet giant Yahoo! for access to his e-mail account, which the company says is off-limits under its privacy policy.”
– CNN, Dead Marine’s kin plead for e-mail, December 21, 2004

(Why should you lose your rights to privacy when you die?)

Google califrag ilistic expia lidocious

Googlecalifragilisticexpialidocious: Adam Rifkin takes a look back to the year in search (and feeds the bots of GYM some nonwords).

First Look at 43 Things

I received my invitation into the 43 Things beta program and have to say it’s a lot of fun. In a nut-shell, 43 things is a shared learning place. People get together to tackle a goal – like “I want to learn Chinese” or “I want to stop relying on Google for facts” – and post about their experiences. For every goal there is you can either click “I want to do this” or “I did this” and post a comment. And you always see those people who are on a similar road in life at this moment.

The entire site is good-looking and free of clutter, and the ads I came across were amazingly relevant (and Google-powered, if I understood right). You have all the standard features of modern web tools: you can tag entries, you can traverse the network nodes to find related items in friend-of-a-friend fashion (only here it’ll be a “related goal”), be impressed by the underlying XHTML/CSS combination, or subscribe to the RSS. There’s still enough to show this is a Beta site in progress (i.e., your profile is not linked from the main navigation, and a promised auto-linking feature in posts didn’t work) but overall the site is off to a great start


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