Google Blogoscoped

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Gmail Journal

Here’s how to turn your Gmail account into a multi-category journal. [Via Lifehacker.]

Interview with Mark Jen

Gelf interviewed Mark Jen, the Google-blogger who recently got fired:

“It was only after talking informally with the manager that he realized that he might be causing trouble for the company. “The guy said, ’There’s something going on with your blog. Why don’t you take it down,’” said Jen.” (...)

Mark Jen started asking around about Google’s policy on blogging (it turns out there was none) and reread the non-disclosure agreement he had signed on the first day. Then he started blogging again – no financial details this time.

That Friday, the same manager Jen had talked with previously called Jen back into his office. A human-resources officer was in the room when Jen entered. It was a termination meeting. (...)

“[They] told me my blog had upset people and that I wasn’t a good fit.” (...)

[Jen] says there was some speculation [that] there was a movement among Google employees to have him gone, but there is no evidence to back that up. Though Google didn’t give him much in the way of a termination package, he says they didn’t make him sign a nondefamation agreement.”

[Thanks David G.]

Yahoo’s TV

Yahoo and channel Showtime Networks announced they made a deal to simultaneously stream the first episode of “Fat Actress.” The show stars Kirstie Alley and debuts on March 7. According to the announcement, the stream will be free and online at Yahoo! TV until March 12. [Via SEW.]

Hitchhiker’s Guide Trailer

Wow. The first trailer to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is out, and it looks very promising. If you didn’t read the book yet, hurry and buy it, but don’t panic (and do avoid the TV show and the comic books). Everyone else, time to get your towel.

Update: Andy put up a link to a download. This is better if you have problems with the size of the Amazon video and its streaming, but the sound here is somewhat muted.

Yahoo Blog vs Google Blog

Which search engine company has the better blog, Yahoo or Google? Yahoo, of course. While the official Google Blog looks like its largely made up of “humorized” press releases, the Yahoo Blog feels much more spontaneous and informative – and enables comments. However looking at the layout, the point goes to Google; the Yahoo Blog doesn’t restrict the line-length of specific posts. (A huge readability problem for most who don’t like to tweak each and every window, nor understand it’d help them; admittedly, even Nielsen tends to forget this basic issue.)

Ask Jeeves Movies

The blog has some TV spots for download. The ads show C-celebrities like William Hung or people like Santa being asked a question. They don’t give good answers, so in the end it turns out you better “ask Jeeves.”

The Google Ego Machine

The Ego Machine by digital artist David Sullivan is “a project that uses Google to project Sullivan’s soul into the future and puts the fun back into funeral.” Wired describes what happens in Immortality Through Google (Feb. 16, 2005):

“’The vanity of death memorials parallels in some ways the use of the internet as a vanity mirror, as shown by the practice of Googling your own name, or accumulating links to your website,’ said Sullivan. ’And a lot of geeky interests, like robots, artificial intelligence, and DNA replication or cloning all speak to the urge for immortality that drives so much of technology.’

Sullivan said he wanted to create an urn that was visually interesting, allowed some user interactivity and referenced the physical body. He decided that his remains will be integrated into a computer processor. A virtual agent running on the computer that contains his ashes will scour the web for mentions of his name. As the mentions increase, an on-screen image of Sullivan will morph into an image of his younger self. But if the mentions decline, Sullivan’s image will age, deteriorate and eventually fade away.”

Apparently, the Ego Machine isn’t Danny’s first project with Google. In a previous show in New Orleans, he created “a program that ’listened’ to searches being done with Google and then scrolled the search words across the screen while the computer simultaneously whispered them to the viewer.”


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