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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’s Dahl Logo Was Pulled

Last Thursday, Google put up a special Roald Dahl logo to celebrate the birthday of the author of works like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. Some hours later the logo was gone, not getting its typical 1-day period in the spotlight*.

Mechanical Turk Officially Closed Outside of the US

Being outside the US I wasn’t able to use Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program so far – they required me to provide a US bank account to start developing with their API. At least that was the case in the beginning; perhaps there were ways to still get into the system outside the US as Requester before.

German Provider Bans Porn Sites

According to Spiegel.de, German internet provider Arcor has blocked porn sites Sex.com, YouPorn.com and another site for its 2.4 million users.

Schmidt in German Tabloid

Bild, Germany’s biggest tabloid (disliked by many German intellectuals for its often hyped reporting) is running a multi-part interview with Google CEO Eric Schmidt this week.

Google Reader Has Search

As of today Google Reader, Google’s RSS reader, is search-enabled. This was a long-awaited feature: now you can find posts from any of your subscribed feeds. Hits show up whether or not you’ve read the particular post. As usual with Google searches, you can not find word parts, but full words only, so “ipo” won’t find “ipod” (Gmail contacts search is one of the rare instances where Google returns parts of a word, too).

Corrupt DMOZ Editor?

Jeremy Shoemaker reports that he was blackmailed into paying for staying in the DMOZ.org open directory (which is usually free to be in):

Become a Business Referral Representative for Google

Keth of Gspy points us to the Google Business Referral Representative job application page. Your mission? To assemble information on local businesses, and to convince them to add their listing to Google Maps (and to pay for Google AdWords ads). From the program FAQ:

Alexa’s Data Accuracy

The following chart shows the accuracy of Alexa traffic stats for websites over time:

Hotlinking Pictures for SEO

Michel Telendro tells me it has become a search engine optimization practice (black to gray-hat, I assume) of hotlinking images from other servers… to rank your own site well in Google Image search results.

Google’s Security Guy

CNet got to talk to Google vice president of engineering, Douglas Merill, employee at the company since 2003.

Google Video Now Search Engine

Google Video went through many reincarnations in the past. It allegedly started out as one of those 20% side projects within Google, and Larry Page admitted, “We’re not quite sure what we’re going to get, but we decided we’d try this experiment.”

Ensure that Google Knows It’s Your Content

If you run a blog, you might have noticed several “shadow blogs” which scrape your content, omit your name in the credits, but display big ads instead.

YouTube France Coming June 19th?

Google will hold a Press Day in Paris on June 19th. Marissa Mayer and CEO Eric Schmidt will be there, among others, and we can expect they’ll bring some product or feature announcements with them (Tony Ruscoe will go to Paris to cover this for us, and I’ll be blogging from Germany). One of those new services, as rumor has it, will be the launch of European versions of YouTube, like YouTube France*.

Wikipedia / Wikimedia Traffic

Leuksman.com published some revealing statistics on Wikimedia traffic.

Gmail PowerPoint Preview

Interesting: Google rolled out their slideshow feature for Gmail (some of you were already getting this as experiment for a while).

Google Releases Google Gears

I jumped out of the Google Developer Day in Hamburg, Germany, because this is big news (coming straight from Sydney’s Developer Day): Google released an offline web app framework called Google Gears. One of the first applications is an offline version of Google Reader. Google’s Gears homepage explains that Gears is …

Webcasts from Google Developer Day

As you may know, tomorrow (May 31st 2007) Google will hold a developer day in different locations around the world. If you can’t make it, you can watch the developer day webcasts for Mountain View and London – and if you do make it, please add your photos and other impressions in the forum thread.

According to a Google press release, the webcasts will include:

New Google Image Search Categories

Last week a Google engineer told us “The next big thing for image search would be the ability to search based on visual concepts, such as a picture of a house on a mountain with a river in front of it.” And now, Google Images allows you to restrict your search to a specific category – albeit in an “unofficial” mode only – and one of these categories may well be powered by actual image recognition (as opposed to textual keyword analysis). Right now, the available modes are (at least) the following:

Google Software Engineer on Google Images

I’ve asked Google some questions in regards to their image search engine. Here are the answers by Radhika Malpani, Senior Staff Software Engineer at Google.

Wikipedian on Nofollow

Mathias Schindler, board member of the Wikimedia Germany association, reacts on recent accusations that Wikipedia doesn’t “nofollow” certain links to their own properties, like Wikia.com, while nofollowing links to competitors, like Wetpaint.com (HTML’ified, my emphasis):

Googler on Flash vs SVG and VML

In Seeking Alpha’s ongoing Q&A with the Google Finance product manager, my question was:

Google Finance is one of the rather rare Google apps which makes use of Flash. I’m curious, at Google what considerations go into deciding whether to go for Flash or DHTML/ Ajax/ browser vector languages like SVG?

User-Generated Content on Google Maps

Google has started to integrate user-generated content on Google Maps. A search for restaurant stuttgart, for instance, first shows Google’s normally aggregated results (which Google says include “information from our web search results, data submitted directly by local business owners, and sources such as publicly available Yellow Pages directories”).

More YouTube Thailand Censorship

Boing Boing via one of their readers reminds us that YouTube is still being blocked in Thailand, and also includes a screenshot of what a visitor saw from Bangkok (below – you gotta love the big brother eye).

Public Google Calendars – Login Credentials

Startup Meme and Chris Pirillo report that quite a few people have made login credentials of theirs public via Google Calendar event descriptions, which can now be found by searching for public events for e.g. “username password”.