Being able to search with Google over your mobile device is nothing new, but being able to search Google for mobile results is. Google’s new mobile search engine allows you to search for results that are specifically designed to work on your mobile device. That makes much more sense than searching a mobile version of Google for sites designed for your PC. Just go to Google.com on your mobile device, and look for the "Mobile Web (Beta)" option in the list below the text box. My Cingular data service is sketchy today, so I can’t give a thorough going over, but I grabbed a friend’s phone long enough to do a couple of searches, and so far, so good.
So how many people out there actually use their phones for browsing? What kinds of data services do you use on your phone, and how often do you use them? Frankly, I seldom do more than IM, SMS, a little email here and there, and check the occasional weather report, but I’m always looking for ways to get more out of my phone.
At the beginning of May, Google launched their Web Accelerator beta. A couple of weeks later, the beta was suspended with the message "Thank you for your interest in Google Web Accelerator. We have currently reached our maximum capacity of users and are actively working to increase the number of users we can support." The Web Accelerator had been receiving a lot of criticism around the web because of some of the techniques it was using to speed up browsing, like pre-fetching. In theory, pre-fetching URLs is not a bad thing, and according to the RFCs, Google was doing the right thing. In practice, however, it caused all kinds of problems since browsers were pre-fetching links in admin applications that would do things like cause records to be automatically deleted or otherwise altered.
By now, I’m sure you’ve seen Google’s new ability to create your own custom homepage. Just wanted to gather some thoughts. What do you think? I think it’s pretty slick. I like the drag and drop functionality. Unfortunately everything they offer is information I pretty much already get elsewhere through aggregators or widgets of one type or another, but I’ll see how having them all in one place on my browser’s homepage works out for me.
Anyway, how many of you have switched the Google homepage? If you haven’t, why? What do you have set as your homepage instead?
Google is now offering to "accelerate" the web through their free Web
Accelerator browser plug-in. How does it work? From the Google Web Accelerator FAQ:
Google Web Accelerator uses various strategies to make your web pages load faster,
- Sending your page requests through Google machines dedicated to handling Google
Web Accelerator traffic.
- Storing copies of frequently looked at pages to make them
- Downloading only the updates if a web page has changed slightly
since you last viewed it.
- Prefetching certain pages onto your computer in advance.
- Managing your Internet
connection to reduce delays.
- Compressing data before sending it to your computer.
Sounds both very cool and a little scary at the same time. The idea that a significant
percentage of Internet traffic could one day go through one company’s proxies is
a little mind boggling. I haven’t decided yet whether I want to participate in
the beta. Anyone out there give this a try yet?
I learned from Boing
Boing today that Google now provides four-day weather forecasts. Just
type "weather, city, state". Or "weather, city" if you live in a city with a sufficiently
unique name. For an example, check out the beautiful
weather we’re having in San Francisco right now.
What really surprises me about Google is not so much that they are trying to do
everything (and certainly doing a reasonably good job at it), but that they are
doing it with such an unusual interface. For instance, any other site in the world
would have you click on a weather link, then type in your city or zip code. Or
in order to get movie
information, click on a movie link first, then type in your search terms.
Google clearly identifies very strongly with the Unix world since searching Google
often has the feel of entering a Unix command followed by arguments. I predict
that Google will eventually need to modify their famously simple interface to make
all the search options more prevalent. As Google becomes more complex and versatile,
the simplicity of the interface is actually going to start working against the
experience rather than for it. Ironically enough, I think
Google will eventually need to create a more involved and consistent interface
in order to actually simplify it.
This week’s Google announcement is the new "movie" operator. Read all about it
Blog. Basically, type "movie:divorce lawyers" and get back Intolerable
Cruelty (I love that movie). Click on Intolerable
Cruelty and in 0.02 seconds, see reviews along
with the following disclaimer:
The selection and placement of reviews on this page were determined automatically
by a computer program. No movie critics were harmed or even used in the making
of this page.
This week, it’s probably IMDb (or rather Amazon,
who ownes them) and Rotten Tomatoes (owned
by IGN) who are doing the soul searching.
Eron C. left a comment in response to my post Sorry,
No Trackbacks Today pointing
me to Google’s
answer to stopping comment spam. Basically, Google says to automatically
add the attribute rel="nofollow" to any link automatically generated from a URL
entered by a reader (usually through a comment or a trackback). I like this approach,
and I’m glad to see that Google stepped up so quickly and confidentially. The idea
is not to stop the spam itself (as I’ve been trying to do), but to stop its effectiveness
– basically, to remove the incentive.
I’d seen this post on the Google Blog a while back, but
when I followed Eron’s link are re-read the post, I found it had been updated
to include an additional 16 blogging applications that now support Google’s recommendation
for a total of 26 (probably more at this point). Of course, now other search engines
have to sign on, as well. I know it’s hard to believe, but there are actually other
search engines besides Google out there, and according to my access logs, a few
people even use them.
Anyway, I will be implementing Google’s recommended change in the near future,
and I’m wondering how many others have implemented it, as well. I’m speaking specifically
of those who host their own blogging software, and either need to hack the code,
or update to a new version. Also, has anyone heard of other search engines supporting
I’m not poking fun. I love Google. Besides Macromedia, they are probably my favorite company.
I’d probably play with Google action figures, if they had them. Anyway, here goes
another Google beta: Google Maps.
So far, pretty impressive. I’m sure the mood over at MapQuest is
a little somber today, though they must have seen this coming.
Check out the latest project from Google labs: Google Suggest. As you type search terms, it will offer keyword suggestions in real time.