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All articles in Google

Eeeeek! The end is nigh!


WTF are we going to do now that Google Reader is stopping? I rely on the Reader API to sync up my iPad, iPhone, Mac en webbased RSS reading (on my PC at work). As evidenced above by the stats Google itself provides I am deeply addicted to the Reader service.

I guess we have a few months before the end is truly here but I really hope someone comes up with a syncing solution that works as well across all these kinds of different platforms. I will gladly pay $25 a year for that. Heck I'd even pay 25.
Unfortunately Google never thought to ask for my money. Which is their loss. And mine.

Some preliminary thoughts about Google OS
Google's announcement:
The software architecture is simple Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform

Kottke writes:
Sure, GooOS is not an operating system as a programmer would define it but it's an OS from the perspective of the user

I think there is a problem here that none of the comments I've read today adress. A user may not care about what a programmer thinks is a good programming environment but in the end they are the ones that code the apps a user actually uses.

The web isn't a terribly nice environment to code in if you want something beyond simple stuff. Webdevelopers started using scripting languages like Perl, CGI, PHP, ASP, JSP and Ruby and the like because HTML+Javascript is terrible for application development. You want data storage, application logic and state preservation; and traditional web languages aren't good at that. You need a scripting language at least and even then you need to run that on a server, not on a browser. Despite all the effort Google is putting into making Google Docs available offline hardly anyone "normal" (that is, not a web-savvy, technical minded user) knows about it and it's terribly difficult to code. Probably more so than in traditional C like environments.

When Apple released the original iPhone all you could do was code webapps for it and there was much boo-ing. When they released the SDK a year ago with the release of the iPhone 3G countless coders jumped on that ship and started coding in Objective C. In fact news came out yesterday that there are now almost 60.000 applications available on the iTunes store. That's a sick amount even if you can guesstimate that there are about 15 lighter applications, 30 fart noise apps, 30 different Mahjong games and about 75 Sudoko clones.

If Google seriously thinks that the web is the ultimate platform for app development they have a shock coming to them. But then I think they know that and that that's the reason they're targeting the netbook market now. If you buy an underpowered device you do not expect state of the art and niche apps.
As Apple has proven, if you give programmers more and better tools developers will jump on that, and that requires allowing system level API access, even though the iPhone isn't more powerful than a netbook and therefore should be even more geared towards webapps.

It will be interesting to watch how this plays out but I doubt Apple is worried. Microsoft may be worried about the low-end home market but there's no way this will ever seriously hurt them in the business world. Not for another 10 or 15 years at least.

Movies
Ha, our network is down at the moment so I'm the only one able to work as the wireless network is still up. Instead I'm posting here to share in the general timewasting.

Google has a new option. Type movie: followed by a title and you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Here's a sample I just randomly made up: movie: hellraiser.

via: Phil Bradley's Blog

Pretty nifty
Nifty stuff, but not quite perfect.

http://labs.google.com/personalized/.

But pretty cool for beta-stuff.

Googlefight
There's a new Googlehack website in town and it's quite fun. You can compare two terms and see which one has the most mentions, thereby winning the "fight".

I was speaking to some friends a week or ao ago on getting a hobby, namely telling the world (and particularly the media) that spiders aren't insects. Looks like I've got a big battle ahead of me.


According to Googlefight Spiders are insects.

Google -blog Tool
An interesting use of the Google API to see how blogs affect Google's search results:
http://www.blogwise.com/cgi-bin/search.pl.

You'll need your own Google API key, which can be gotten for free.

I notice the maker has the same probems I had when I first started playing with parsing Google's API results: sometimes Google just doesn't provide a title for entries, most notably on non-HTML pages, this leads to weird display problems.

I have put up my version of a simple search google page that fixes this when using nusoap (a free PHP class for parsing SOAP):
http://www.haroldbakker.com/php/searchgoogle.phps.
Basically it uses a small check to see if the title is empty or not. If the title is empty we just promote the url as the title.

More searchengine madness
Lisa writes about searchengine referrals to her site in HOMER SIMPSON PICTURES THE MATRIX, found via Library Stuff.

These stories are always fascinating to me. At one time I had a page on this site that listed all the searchterms that brought people to me, even the completely inappropriate ones. Fascinating stuff.
However, it wasn't too long before searchengines discovered that page and indexed it. (Can you see where this is going?) It quickly became one of the most frequently hit pages. I had neglected to exclude searchengines from indexing the page so I got more and more people with completely inappropriate terms entering my site.
At first this was kind of amusing but when the page started to receive about 30% of all my visitors I pulled it. While the concept of wasting someone's time isn't completely alien to me (I am one of the people that brought you a virtual pet rock after all) this was getting a little bit too much.

I've written about searchengines and the problems therein before. While I still stand by my earlier conclusion that Google should start paying attention to metadata I'll just add one thing I've been thinking lately: proximity searching. According to searchengine showdown the only large searchengine that supports proximity searching is AltaVista. Of course some instruction in constructing a wellformed query wouldn't go amiss too.

By the way: to the person who was wondering what to do when he searched (twice) for "I must go to the bathroom with some urgency" (I'm translating from Dutch here, original: "Ik moet heel nodig naar de wc"): I hope it worked out for you.

Google thoughts
I have put up a longish piece about Google's ranking. It can be found here:
http://www.haroldbakker.com/personal/googlethoughts.php.

The reason for this is this the following post on Google weblog:
We're Number One!
It has been brought to our attention that we're the first hit for "weblog" on Google. Wow!

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