All Posts Tagged With: "google"

Chroming at Google with Sergey

Google’s been writing their own web browser: Google Chrome. Recently, the Chrome team hosted a launch party at the Googleplex to celebrate the release of Chrome beta versions for Mac and Linux, and also the beta launch of Chrome extensions.

With Chrome extensions, developers from outside Google can write software to modify the Chrome experience. Individuals can install these extensions to enable features that are useful to them, but aren’t necessarily of value to everyone who uses Chrome. (Those features are part of what Google will provide.)

A team at eBay has been working on an eBay Chrome extension (what else?), and apparently the Chrome team liked it so much they asked us to come and show-off the eBay extension at their launch event!

Unfortunately, the team lives in London, so they couldn’t fly all the way to California to be there. However, they passed the ball to me, and I agreed to be their talking head for a day.

Overall, my five minutes of Chrome fame went quite well. I talked about why Chrome extensions matter to eBay and also how third party developers can build their own eBay extensions, too. Also, as someone said to me: “they laughed at your jokes.”

But don’t take my word. My wife Beth joined me for the afternoon and took this beautiful flip HD video of my talk. (Warning: the sound is a little low.)

eBay Chrome Extension Demo from Tifton Drive Productions on Vimeo.

Now, as to the Sergey teaser in my headline…

While we were in the event space getting ready for everyone to come in, I looked up and saw a robot heading out of the corner of my eye. It looked like a small screen mounted on a skinny pole that itself was mounted on a wider base of wheels. (Think of a less human looking version of Number 5 from Short Circuit.)

Adam prepping before the Chrome event

All of a sudden the robot wheeled our way and we could see that there was a TV screen on the top (along with a WiFi router on the back side). Looking at us through the screen were two people. One of whom was Sergey Brin.

Before we could properly process any of those facts — as my post cannot recreate the surrealism of the experience — Sergey started talking and asking us questions. We realized the was a video camera mounted on top of the TV screen, so we were involved in a two-way video chat with Sergey, who was in his office, driving the robot around, and looking for people to talk with.

After some short chitchat, we almost got him to stay for the event, but it was still 30 minutes before kick-off, so he rode off in search of other projects.

After he left, someone else from Google came up to us and said “What did you think?” My reply: It was very on brand — exactly what I expected to find when I came here. :)

More Google Maps in Search Results

As a follow up to my earlier post, I’ve been seeing an increasing number of inline maps within Google search results.

I don’t know if they expanded the number of pages that trigger this feature, if they’ve rolled the code to a larger set of servers, or both.

For example: “bcec” and “pizzetta 211“.

My eBay Motors Maps Mashup

In my copious free time, I have been writing a little mashup using eBay Motors and Google Maps. This is equal parts eBay Web services marking, a learning exercize, and an excuse to code.

Like all Web 2.0 concepts, it’s in perpetual beta. (Why does “perpetual beta” seem like the Web 2.0 phrase for Web 1.0’s “Under Construction” image?) Thanks to a helpful prod, I sat down this morning and fixed the outstanding IE bugs, so now it works in IE, Firefox, and Safari. That means I can officially blog about it.

For those of you interested in the technical details, the backend code is written in PHP 5. I’m using the ext/soap extension to talk with eBay Web services and PEAR’s HTML_QuickForm, HTML_Javascript, and Date packages. I tried to use HTML_AJAX, but it was buggy when I first tried it; I see there have been many recent updates, so I should look again.

Not surprisingly, writing the PHP part was pretty easy. It was the JavaScript code that took forever and a day to write and debug. Many thanks to the QuirksMode Web site for documenting cross-browser woes.

Please check out the site and let me know what you think.

“Don’t be bad.” vs. “Don’t be evil.”

From today’s New York Times article, Time Warner to Sell 5% AOL Stake to Google for $1 Billion:

If a user searches on Google for a topic for which AOL has content – like information about Madonna – there will be a special section on the bottom right corner of the search results page with links to

Google will also provide technical assistance so AOL can create Web pages that will appear more prominently in the search results list.

Time Warner asked Microsoft to give AOL similar preferred placement in advertising and in its Web index and… Microsoft refused, calling the request unethical.

Nietzsche distinguishes between good/bad and good/evil. The first is a question of merit; the second a question of morals.

I guess Google believes exchanging preferred placement and teaching one selected partner how to manipulate your objective ranking system in exchange for money is “bad,” but not “evil.” Therefore, it doesn’t break their promise of “don’t be evil.”

In comparison, Microsoft, by using the term “unethical,” clearly sees this as both “bad” and “evil.” It’s interesting how the DOJ can help you find God.

In-Q-Tel: The CIA’s VC arm

Did you know that the CIA has a VC arm? It’s called In-Q-Tel. They invest in a whole bunch of companies, including Keyhole, now known as Google Earth.

Google Command Line Calculator

In a somewhat shocking move, my Google Command Line Calculator hack was picked up for the second edition of Google Hacks.

I found this out from Rael back in October at Web 2.0, but I forgot to blog about it. I finally picked up a copy when I crashed the O’Reilly booth at MacWorld. Sure enough, I am Hack #47: Bring the Google Calculator to the Command Line.

I know hard core Unix weenies use bc and dc, but I don’t want to bother with the reverse-polish, thank you very much. Besides, Google supports a variety of non-standard features, like unit conversion, roman numerals, and physical constants.

In exchange for contributing my hack, I receive fame, glory, my bio at the front of the book, and blogging rights.