Google Blogoscoped

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Google Patents Search Result Page

Looks like Google filed a patent for their search result page design (see the image). While this may seem silly, that’s the state of software patents – patent an obvious or semi-obvious idea yourself, or expect to be sued by someone else who decides to try patent it (and sometimes, only a mixture of patents can force a stalemate situation against a competitor with an equal mix of patents in your space, kind of like the atomic bomb in the cold war). [Thanks Dirson and Tony!]

Let Google Create Rounded Corners

Do you want to create dynamic rounded corners for your website? Well, as Zach found out, if you like a risky but fun way, you can abuse Google’s server and use a URL like the following: groups/roundedcorners? c=999900&bc=white&w=34&h=34&a=tr

... which at this time generates this image:

The URL is simply made up of parameters like color, background color, width, height and position – “tr” meaning “top right”, “bl” meaning “bottom left” and so on. (Note that Firefox also has rounded corners via CSS3, but they’re not anti-aliased, meaning they look a bit “rough”.) Google can stop this service anytime, so you can’t safely use this on your own live site, but it would be neat if Google gave developers an official web service to handle these kind of things (or you might use something like the PHP image object on your own server, but this might be CPU heavy, even with caching).

[Thanks Zach!]

Measure Regions With Google Planimeter

The (unofficial) Google Planimeter uses the Google Maps API interface to let you find out the size of any area, calculated in acres, square kilometers and more. Just select three points by clicking, and the tool will do the rest. (I wonder why it doesn’t also show simple two-point distances?) [Thanks Luca!]

Google Finance Redesign

Google Finance launched a small redesign today. Haochi wraps up the changes:

Join the ongoing comments.

[Thanks Michael Hart!]

Google’s Munch Logo

Today, Google is honoring painter Edvard Munch (born December 12, 1863) with a special logo showing a rendition of his most famous painting, The Scream (the one which may have inspired the killer’s mask worn in Wes Craven’s Scream movie). Once upon a time this painting might’ve caused you to feel the existential fear its painter expressed, but the figure has now become an icon – reproduced in many different contexts many times – so I don’t think most people (including the Google designers) feel about it this way anymore. Still, this has got to be the “darkest” Google logo so far, the more playful Halloween logos aside.
[Thanks Pokemon and Orli!]

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