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Friday, October 27, 2006

Google Custom Search Directories

Google’s Custom Search Engine (CSE) was just revealed this week, but there’s already second-party directories build around the idea. Both and let you browse through different topics, and then search right on their site using the custom search engines. As a CSE developer, you can also submit your own engines to the directory. Custom Search Guide seems to be the larger of the two directories at this time, but it’s also more cluttered and shows server-side errors here and there when I tried. [Thanks Eric!]

Create your own search engine at Google CSE or find out more about CSE.

Spying On User’s Searches With JS

SPI Dynamics demonstrates a browser security problem that enables a website to find out which terms you’ve searched for. In their demo, you are requested to enter the word to check against, though in another setting the website may just come up with a predefined list to check against. Basically what they do is to generate a large variety of possible search URLs for every given keyword, and then check if the browser indicates this URL has been visited. (Then again, the website could not do this perfectly secretly, as it’s client-side scripting which a developer can find by checking the page’s source code.) [Thanks Pd!]

George Bush Speechwriter

Great... now you can make Bush say anything you want him to, a privilege that before only the President’s speechwriters (like Mike Gerson, pictured) had! [Via Jeremy Zawodny. Photo by the White House.]

Google Presents Scary Stories

Google Book Search launched another special event micro site... this time, it’s all about scary stories in time for Halloween. These are older books that already passed into the public domain, like Bram Stoker’s Dracula... unfortunately, though Google proclaims “you can search every word,” I can’t see a thing from Germany. (Other sites like Project Gutenberg show these works without problems.)

[Thanks Manoj Nahar and NateDawg!]

Google Blog Alerts

Google introduced two new types of email alerts as part of their Google Alerts system: Blog alerts, which will notify you of new blog search results, and Comprehensive alerts, which allow you to mix different sources. A special “blogurl” operator can restrict your alert to just a single site, e.g. blogurl:slashdot, whereas “inpostauthor” will let you receive updates on new authors, e.g. inpostauthor:"john battelle”.

I’m also subscribed to Google Alerts, though I’m getting every alert twice even when there’s just one alert in the administration console both alerts link me to. Note to allow for more variants, you can use the “|” (or) operator to merge several queries into a single alert, e.g. [john doe | john dow | “doe inc”].


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