Ask Documents Earthquake, Death Of Google Pen

    March 5, 2007
  is based in Oakland, California, and as many people know, the region experienced a minor earthquake late last week. For Ask, this was an opportunity to plug its Earthquake Search. The team also took a moment to note one casualty: a Google pen.

The Ask Earthquake Search, and the ‘quake itself, should probably take precedence, though. The tool records the date, location, and magnitude of earthquakes, and plots the data on a map; according to it (and other independent sources), a magnitude 4.2 ‘quake hit the San Francisco Bay Area on March 1.

Since then, seven more instances of seismic activity have occurred in California. The team claims to “check [the Ask Earthquake Search] every time there’s a ‘quake nearby. After running for cover, of course,” so the data should definitely be up-to-date.

Now we can move on to the story of the crushed writing utensil, which began about a month ago when a Google-branded pen ran out of ink. This “product failure” occurred while Ask’s Scott Grieder was writing, so Ask created an amusing little blog post about it.

The company’s competitors in Mountain View responded by sending a new, improved pen, and Ask has posted pics of the “old” pen, its replacement, and now, the pen that perished in the ‘quake. The thing is, even though the team implies that the damaged pen is the newest one (“We just got the thing, too!”), it’s clearly not – the color and the style are quite different.

Did the team make a simple goof? Did its members suffer head injuries in the earthquake? Does it even matter (not that I’m uninterested in the team’s welfare)? Perhaps not, but this is the latest development in the Google-Ask relationship.

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