About Philipp Lenssen

Philipp Lenssen from Germany, author of Google Apps Hacks, shares his views & news on the search industry in the daily Google Blogoscoped.
Google Chart API Released

Google released a chart generator service they are calling the Google Chart API. Usage is quite straightforward: you link to an image in the form of a parameterized URL, e.g. (line break added)

Hard Disk Compatible with Google?

Markus Renschler sent this in: “We bought a new external hard disk (WD MyBook). What I was completely fascinated by is the fact it’s not only compatible with Vista, XP, MacOS and USB2.0, but, according to the package, with Google as well.”

Changing Search Results with Google Experimental

Some users are reportedly seeing a new experiment in Google Experimental: the ability to re-order and even hide specific items in web search results.

KML/KMZ Collaboration Added to Google Maps
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Google added two new features to Google Maps: collaborative editing and importing of KML/ KMZ files.

YouTube Account Shut Down Over Police Brutality

Reuters writes:

The video-sharing Web site YouTube has suspended the account of a prominent Egyptian anti-torture activist who posted videos of what he said was brutal behaviour by some Egyptian policemen, the activist said.

Wael Abbas said close to 100 images (sic) he had sent to YouTube were no longer accessible, including clips depicting purported police brutality, voting irregularities and anti-government demonstrations.

Google’s Energy Initiative

Google issued a press release stating they want to create a research & development group with the goal of creating “electricity from renewable energy sources that will be cheaper than electricity produced from coal.”

The initiative is called “RE<C” and is supposed to be receiving “tens of millions” from Google in 2008. From the release:

Google Maps Replaces Hybrid Button with Terrain

Google Maps replaced the button Hybrid with a button reading Terrain (Hybrid used to show a mix between satellite imagery and maps data, such as streets or borders).

Google Israel Compelled to Expose Blogger

Slav Ben Ari sends in this news bit from his blog – I cannot read Hebrew and can’t confirm this info:

Bonnie Brown On Massaging Google Geeks
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Bonnie Brown was working as massage therapist at Google from 1999 to 2004. Before that, she ran a private school for 10 years. Now, Bonnie is traveling and also wrote a book called Giigle: How I Got Lucky Massaging Google. I met up with her on Google Talk (the transcript below has spellchecking and punctuation added).

Blogspot Blogger: Google Did Less than Required

In a recent court case against Google, it was decided that a Blogspot blogger from the US may keep her anonymity, considering free speech protection rights.

Linking to Specific Content in Gmail

Google has made their web-based email client Gmail more accessible in their recent update.

Court: Blogspot Blogger May Remain Anonymous

Mayer Fertig at the Jewish Star on November 2nd reports (my link/ emphasis):

Former Google Masseuse Tells Her Story

Bonnie Brown worked as a masseuse with Google Inc right from the early days, and struck gold when Google went public in 2004.

Clickable AdSense Area Redefined

Similar to what Google has been doing with ads in search results, they also now restricted the clickable area in AdSense (the kind of Google ads webmasters can include on their pages).

Instead of allowing a click to be triggered in a broad rectangle around the text – which used to include whitespace in that area – you must now click specifically on the underlined title or the colorized URL below the snippet.

The Confusing New YouTube Player

If the user interface ain’t broken, don’t fix it… but fixing, Google did, and recently released a new YouTube player that is breaking some of the “learned” interface. Below you can see an example of a new style YouTube player:

New Data Retention Laws in Germany

Last week, Germany’s ruling parties – a coalition of SPD & CDU, with efforts in the digital area recently spearheaded by minister of interior Wolfgang Schäuble (pictured) – passed a bill for new data retention laws*.

Looking at Google Android, Developer Kit & Competition
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Google created a video showcasing Android, the Google-initiated, Linux-based open source mobile operating system being backed by the recently announced – and again Google-initiated – Open Handset Alliance.

Enabling Google Analytics Site Search

You can now log-in to your Google Analytics account to start enabling the new Site Search feature for a site of yours.

OpenSocial Now Live

In case you missed this news, Google’s OpenSocial API went live now (oh, and MySpace is now an official OpenSocial partner too, making Google-competitor Facebook come off as anti-social if they don’t join). The FAQ explains that…

Google Redesigns Gadget Directory

The iGoogle gadget directory has been completely redesigned.

Google’s Internal Tool to Check Results?

French Google blog Zorgloob has what they say are screenshots from a Google employee showing a certain “GG Score" value in action.

Is This a Bubble? Some Responses…

Last Wednesday, Microsoft acquired a 1.6% stake in social network site Facebook for $240 million, outbidding Google (which is stock-priced at $674 today). You probably heard of this, and it got more chatter started asking… is this a bubble? Here are some related quotes.

Disabling Animations in Firefox

If you use Firefox but you dislike animated elements on web pages when you’re reading (like ads – increasingly served from Google AdSense, too), here’s what you can do:

AdSense Disallowed On URLs Containing “Google”

Google informed me that they banned showing AdSense from my account on Google.blogoscoped.cn (a site which I don’t run, but they are nice enough to rotate my AdSense code every couple of times as they’re translating posts from here).