Posts Tagged ‘google’

Ben Bailey – Google

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

A funny standup bit about Google Instant:


A driverless car

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Sebatian’s brief TED talk on Google’s diverless car project:


I’m curious to see when this will become a reality, but also where it will become a reality.

Syndication, Comments and Attribution

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

I write all of these posts on, as I have been doing for about 5 years. In the last several months, I’ve found that a larger portion of my readership is through syndication through Facebook and Buzz. The clearest effect of this shift has been that the comments left are now divided among at least three places: the original post itself, the Buzz/Reader items, and the Facebook note. This isn’t really a huge problem, but it does cut down on the interaction via comment as well as make it a bit more work for me to keep up with (especially since I try not to be on facebook too much).

I wish Facebook did a better job of attribution when it imported my blog posts. You can find a link to the original post if you try hard enough, but it’s not obvious… several friends have mentioned “oh, I read that facebook note that you posted” which had me quite confused for a while. It’s quite understandable that they were mistaken this way, but for some reason it bothers me. Maybe it’s because I don’t want my mode of communication to be compared to Sarah Palin’s.

One more note about Buzz

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

DeWitt Clinton wrote a good, brief description of what the Buzz API means. Excerpt:

The idea is that someday, any host on the web should be able to implement these open protocols and send messages back and forth in real time with users from any network, without any one company in the middle. The web contains the social graph, the protocols are standard web protocols, the messages can contain whatever crazy stuff people think to put in them. Google Buzz will be just another node (a very good node, I hope) among many peers.

For those wondering “what’s the difference between this and Facebook?”, this is a big part of the answer, probably the most important part in the long run. Think back to AOL’s heyday- they had a messaging system that allowed you to communicate between AOL users, but eventually opened up email with which anyone from any email provider could communicate. It’s definitely harder to do the latter, but I think it’s always worth trying.

Some notes on Google Buzz

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Google Buzz was launched this week. I use twitter more than facebook and friendfeed, so that’s what most of my comments will be based on.

Things I like about Buzz:
– No 140-character limit, but collapsible posts. I’ve never liked twitter’s 140-character constraint.. I think it goes about solving the problem in the wrong way. It also makes people sound like idiots when trying to fit longer statements in.
– No shortened URLs (like tinyurl or These are bad for so many reasons that have been well-documented by others already, so I won’t bother. I’m much less interested in clicking on a link if I don’t know where it goes.
– Open APIs! See Full PSHB support, enclosures, and social graph API. I’m hoping to play with these soon. (Something I found recently: you can find information about your google social graph here: I’m very excited about the salmon protocol (syncing comments between blog posts and sites like Buzz). More about open APIs here.
– Gmail integration prevents me from having another place to check.

Things I don’t like:
– Delivering replies to your inbox should definitely be a setting, possibly opt-in.
– The “turn this off” link should be easier to find (it’s at the bottom of gmail)
– Contacts and privacy are confusing, and for some people the gmail integration won’t make sense at all.
– Youtube embeds seem to be stripped from imported feeds.
– The mobile stuff seems like it needs another revision.

We used this internally for a long time, and it’s a lot better there. Internally, everyone is on gmail anyway, and you aren’t as concerned with privacy, since communication tends to be very open. I’ve been finding that it’s a very good replacement for the discussion lists that are still used heavily.

I think it’ll be a while before we really know how this all pans out in the wild, though.

Superbowl ads

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Slate has a pretty good writeup about this year’s superbowl ads. I laughed a few times this year, but found very few of the funny commercials to be memorable. The Bud Light commercial with the human bridge could have been funny if they hadn’t completely pulled their punch at the end: the bridge should have failed disastrously. Maybe that would be a bit too dark, but if done right, it could have worked a lot better than what they ended up with.

I’m of course biased, but I really liked the Google ad. It was simple, clever and very human.

It’s also really easy to parody, as Slate has done well:

Fix things on Google Maps!

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

I meant to post this a while ago…

When I first started at Google, several friends told me things like “My street isn’t on Google Maps” to which I would reply “Move somewhere else!”, but now I can tell them to report the problem themselves.

I’ve reported two problems so far: the marker for my parents’ house was slightly off, so I moved it (and the change was live immediately) and I found one road with the street name misspelled (still waiting to hear back from them on that one).

Keep it in mind!

A clever javascript trick

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Steve Sounders documents a trick used by the Gmail Mobile web interface to reduce latency. In order to make things load quickly, complex web apps try to defer loading of some features and load them in the background. The problem with this is that it causes the javascript to be parsed in the background as it is loaded, which can make the UI seem lurchy to the user. In order to get around this, the gmail interface downloads the non-critical code in the background as a big HTML comment, so no javascript parsing is involved, then when it actually needs the feature, it strips off the comment boundaries and parses the now-local javascript.

His writeup is better than mine, just thought I’d pass along a clever trick.

Translation Integration

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Google Translate has been on a roll this year, integrating with a ton of different properties. I’m not sure why this recent one struck me the most, but I think it’s awesome:
Now on Picasa photos, like this one, it translates comments in other languages into your native language. There’s something about people all over the world looking at the same picture, reacting to it, and talking about it in their native languages that amazes me.

The Economist on Google Books

Friday, September 4th, 2009

This economist essay on the Google Book Search settlement is a good, concise overview of the issue. Quote:

By helping to resolve the legal status of many texts subject to absurdly long copyright periods and murky ownership, it will make millions of books more accessible than ever before. Researchers from Manhattan to Mumbai will gain instant access to volumes that would otherwise languish in obscurity. Libraries will be able to offer users access to information far beyond their physical book stacks. And authors and publishers will be able to cash in on long-neglected works.

(via Google public policy blog)