Archive for December, 2011

December 19, 2011

A Special Kind Of Proxy

GoogleSharing is a special proxy service that doesn’t hide what you are searching from Google. Instead, it obscures where the requests are coming from. GoogleSharing is not a full proxy service designed to anonymize traffic. It is exclusively intended for certain aspects of your communication with Google. So there are no “alternative” websites to visit. Your use of the web need not change at all.

diagram

How does it work?

How does it work?
The GoogleSharing system is a custom proxy with a Firefox Add-on.

The proxy

The proxy generates a pool of GoogleSharing “identities,” each containing a cookie issued by Google and an arbitrary User-Agent for one of several browsers.

The add-on

The Firefox add-on watches for requests to Google services from your browser… and will transparently redirect them to a GoogleSharing proxy. There your request is stripped of identifying information and replaced with a GoogleSharing identity. Then this request is forwarded to Google, and the response is proxied back to you.

If your next search is given a different identity,

December 16, 2011

Google Cloud Print one year later

A few days ago, Google Cloud Print was rolled out to more users, with new features. One of the more interesting is the ability to embed a cloud print button on one’s website. Read on to learn the reason this cloud print button is important.

Reverse colors in 2011

Google Cloud Print's new logo

The Google Cloud Print landing page now offers complete instructions for registering a printer that is not connected to a PC or other computer. There is also a detailed user tutorial, which wasn’t available a year ago.

The full list of operating systems, device types and browsers from which one can access Cloud Print is extensive.  This seems to be the easiest way to decide whether Cloud Print will work with a user’s current “configuration”:

On any web page, if you see a “Print” button with the Google Cloud Print logo, you can print without leaving your browser.

As I wrote this article, I found a few user tips. Profiles and Cloud Print for Any Page has good instructions for embedding the Cloud Print button, and for using it with multiple Google profiles in Chrome 16.

Variety of services

Google Cloud Print offers versatility

Implementation and strategy thoughts

The level of detail required to specify device (mobile/ tablet/ PC/ Mac/ Chromebook), operating system (Android/ iOS/ Windows/ Mac/ Chrome OS) and print app makes one think about the project management complexity. I can only imagine the hardware and data integration challenges!

It is worth noting that Google chose to expend this effort on printing, which is one of the least interesting computing services, for marketing and developers alike. This is a reality, despite the importance of print functionality to those who need it.

In Beta

A certain problem URL, described in my  Cloud Print post last year, still returns the same 400 error. I don’t fault Google for that. Google Cloud Print remains is in beta. It is more prudent to keep the beta designation until a product is ready. Avoid the sort of headaches Google recently had with the still-buggy Gmail for Apple iPhone mess a few weeks ago.

December 9, 2011

Emotional response to Google search

Humorous representation of user perception of Google search engine results

Charting emotional response to results returned by Google search

Via UberHumor, When searching on Google.

A second source of fun came to my attention courtesy of web designer, developer, and past Google employee Ji Lee 이지별 and his rather agreeable website-portfolio, Please Enjoy. It is Goollery (not affiliated with Google):

Via Goollery not affiliated with Google
Google Map Points

a collection of awesome Google-related projects from people around the world

Typical features are entertaining anecdotes and items like this life-sized Google map marker photo and story.

It is worth mentioning that neither Mr. Ji Lee’s website, nor Goollery are thinly disguised marketing-fodder. Both sites are sharp-witted in tone at times. They do not hesitate to mention less-than-favorable Google corporate strategies and policies. Similarly, they acknowledge instances when competitors excelled, or customers were not well-served. Yet neither site is mean-spirited.

Today’s post includes one more item of Google fun. The following video is now featured on Goollery in the “Most Recent” section, EPIC Google Docs.

It is a delightful animation, about 1:30 mins duration.

This demo shows how you can make a Flash-like animated presentation by only using Google Docs, without using any animation software. The presentation consists of 450 pages and was created by 3 persons from 3 different locations in 3 days.

There may be some adult, or at least “over age 13″ type content in one or both sites. That is a standard for most sites though. Even The Federal Reserve Bank of New York website has that provision in the terms of service:

Eligibility …not intended for users under the age of 13. By using the Services, you warrant that you are at least 13 years of age.

* All content on the Fed’s site is 100% free for re-use, however. Well, mostly, as long as it doesn’t come from third parties. And isn’t re-posted for commercial purposes. Probably best to view the Fed’s TOS page just to be certain.

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