Google Blogoscoped

Friday, January 5, 2007

Google’s Blogger With Custom Domains

Blogger now supports custom domain names for your blog. Previously, you had to choose between using a * address or allowing Blogger to FTP-upload to your domain. Now, as Google puts it...

... you can get a domain of your own. We’ll continue to host all your content as before, but it will be displayed at your new address. (...)

The first thing you’ll need to do is to choose a domain name, like and register it. You can register domain names from any of a number of different registrars, and you can use .com, .org, .net or any other valid addresses. Remember: you only need to get the domain name; you don’t have to pay extra for hosting service.

[Thanks Reto Meier and Rey!]

A Start Menu for the Google OS

GUtil is a Firefox extension which adds a Windows-like “Start” menu to the left of your browser address bar. I think it’s an interesting concept, though the lack of options available in GUtil kind of ruin it for me – for example, I didn’t find an easy way to customize the entries shown in the menu*, and clicking pages always opens them in a new tab, albeit I disabled tab usage in my Firefox. [Via Google System.]

*Apparently this is fixed in a new version, though the install button still serves you the old one.

Update: The Mozilla GUtil installation has been updated now... menus can be customized, though the tab issue remains. [Thanks Robert Marshall!]

Google Personalized Homepage Emulated

Omar Al Zabir, the co-founder of Google Personalized Homepage (GPH) competitor, recreated the GPH using ASP.Net Ajax, .NET 3.0 and the .NET Linq extensions. The result can be viewed at, with a detailed tutorial accompanying the site. (Impressive, and I bet it will introduce some people to PageFlakes.) [Via Google System.]

Gandhi Using Today’s Communication Tools (Video)

Interesting commercial. [Thanks Sankar Anand!]

PageRank Alert Tool?

I was wondering if there’s a tool out there which sends you an email alert whenever the PageRank of a given URL changes*. Say you provide the tracker service with “” and “”, then in a couple of weeks you find something in your email inbox with the subject “[PageRank Alert] went from 5 to 8”. The closest I found was but they require you to provide your Google SOAP API key (I don’t want to give them my real key, and Google stopped allowing you to create new keys).

Maybe someone feels inclined to build such a tool... possibly financed through ads served in the emails? The server load doesn’t seem to be very high as something like a daily request per URL ought to be fine, though the issue of writing a script to grab PageRank – and then hoping Google doesn’t block your script – is a little more serious...

*I know, I know, PageRank’s not everything... I’m still always interested when newly released sites jump from 0 to 4 or whatever.

Update: FerRory created a PageRank Alerter tool now... other good approaches are listed in the comments.

Problems With the Google Personalized Homepage

Some users, like Brinke Guthrie, have problems adding gadgets to their personalized Google homepage (among other issues – note that I wasn’t able to reproduce them). The problem is serious but as Google can’t locate the bug yet, they’re asking people to try out a little workaround tool to reset the personalized homepage. First reactions from users show the new tool doesn’t fully fix the problem, though. This is the second bug in a row for Google’s customized homepage service, which added tabs three months ago. [Thanks Brinke!]

Google Removes Controversial Tips

Google has listened to criticism voiced in blogs and elsewhere and apparently removed the recent “tips” feature from their results. These oneboxes were promoting Google services for a wide array of (often unrelated) searches, like blog, blogger, blogs, wordpress blog, calendar, yahoo calendar, flickr photo sharing etc., which was starting to harm the neutrality of Google results. Karma+1. (Almost needless to say, but competitor Yahoo continues to show tips like these – and continues to do much more sneaky stuff, too. But that’s where user choice comes into play.)

[Thanks CJ Millisock and Ionut!]

Google Groups Vulnerability Fixed

Recently, a Google Groups vulnerability was reported which allowed malicious users to take over ownership of a group. As of today, the bug – another case of a Google XSS (cross-site scripting) hole – is fixed. [Thanks Michael S.!]


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