Archive for the 'Google' Category

Google’s “Browse By Name” in Firefox

Thursday, September 9th, 2004

Google recently introduced a mode called "Browse By Name", a cross between "I'm Feeling Lucky" and a normal Google search. "Browse By Name" acts like "I'm Feeling Lucky" if Google is certain that the first hit is correct, but otherwise returns a normal set of search results. If you use Internet Explorer with the Google Toolbar, "Browse By Name" is the default behavior for non-URLs typed into the address bar. The Google Toolbar shows a dialog the first time you use the feature.

By default, Firefox uses "I'm Feeling Lucky" for non-URLs typed into its address bar. You can change the behavior by going to about:config and setting keyword.URL to the appropriate URL and then restarting Firefox.

Address bar behavior keyword.URL
I'm Feeling Lucky
Browse By Name
Google search

Custom 404 page

Sunday, August 22nd, 2004 now has a custom 404 page.

Opera’s least popular feature comes to Firefox

Sunday, August 15th, 2004

The adbar extension displays Google ads related to pages you view. It works in Firefox 0.9+.

Hidden search results – answer

Saturday, August 14th, 2004

Michael Lefevre and mpt gave correct, but incomplete, answers to the question in my previous blog entry in their comments. Part of Michael's answer:

You'd have to work out which bits of closed bugs should be queryable (if you give any indication of a result based on, say, summary or comment queries, you could be disclosing important bits of the closed bug).

Indicating hidden results for a summary query would indeed disclose an important bit of the bug: its summary. First, the attacker would query for bugs with summaries starting with "a", "b", etc. Discovering that at least one hidden bug's summary begins with "b", the attacker would query for bugs whose summaries start with "ba", "bb", etc. After a few hundred more queries, the attacker would have the entire summary.

Hidden search results

Saturday, August 14th, 2004

Google sometimes hides search results to ensure that search results are varied:

In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 15 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included. [foo]

or due to bad laws:

In response to a complaint we received under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint for these removed results. [scientology]

Bugzilla also sometimes hides search results, to protect confidential bugs such as undisclosed security holes. Unlike Google, Bugzilla doesn't tell you that there are hidden results for your search. This caused me to worry that potential employers would think I can't count. It also makes it impossible for Peter(6) and others to tell exactly how many release blockers there are.

When Bugzilla hides search results from you, why doesn't it inform you like Google does?

Hint: while "Because nobody implemented that feature" may be technically correct, that's not the answer I'm looking for.

Browser stats from search referrals

Sunday, July 25th, 2004

For visitors who reach my site through Google searches, browser percentages vary widely depending on search terms. In general, geekier terms have a higher percentage of Mozilla users. I analyzed stats for 35 days in June and July 2004 using a hacky batch file.

Search phrase Total hits IE Mozilla Safari Opera Other
burning edge (946) 170 731 (78%) 26 15 4
firefox nightly (586) 107 438 (75%) 29 12 0
bookmarklet (2067) 568 1296 (63%) 123 68 12
gmail (1151) 781 312 (27%) 15 43 0
jibjab mirror (103) 76 23 (22%) 2 2 0
best porn (176) 135 31 (18%) 6 3 1
good porn (222) 187 22 (12%) 10 2 1
google home page (436) 404 20 (5%) 6 3 3

Stats for some of these search terms are skewed toward Mozilla not because the search terms themselves are geeky but because "Firefox" or "Mozilla" appears in the title of the result page on my site. Searches for "good porn" and "best porn" lead to a page on my site titled Why Mozilla Firefox is the best porn browser. Searches for "how to get a gmail" lead to my blog entry titled Help make Firefox better and get a Gmail invitation!.

By the way, over 50% of total hits to my site are Mozilla :)

Kerry beats Bush in Google

Saturday, July 24th, 2004

Kerry has an impressive PageRank 8 while Bush only has PageRank 7, like me. (Via curious on IRC.)

Kerry also beats Bush in a search for kerry | bush and even in a search for president.

Monday, April 26th, 2004

Thanks to aebrahim and Biz Stone for the Gmail invite.

Two strange things from the Terms of Service:

"Google disclaims all responsibility and liability for the availability, timeliness, security or reliability of the Service."

"You also agree that you will not use any robot, spider, other automated device, or manual process to monitor, or copy any content from the Service." (Does that include checking my e-mail every 5 minutes?)