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October 23, 2006

Weekend Update 10/23/2006

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Google Bought a Spaceship…or something

TechCrunch really is the place to go to read truth-filled rumors on a Friday afternoon. This time Michael Arrington wrote that it appeared Google had purchased SpaceShipOne, the famous X-prize winner, and would be putting it inside the Googleplex’s building 43 on Saturday. Well, of course that wasn’t true – Google purchase a replica of the spacecraft, not the real thing. Purchasing the real one would have been silly.

Wait, what? Why would Google purchase, let alone install, a full-scale replica of SpaceShipOne in Mountain View? Phil Lenssen says perhaps “it’s a symbol that innovation can take you anywhere“. Um, no. Perhaps it’s a sign that Google has more money than they know what to do with. Or that there weren’t any interesting companies to acquire last Friday and they were bored. I don’t know. This one is just weird.

YouTube Videos Appearing in Google Images

This is kind of cool. A DigitalPoints thread (via SER) found that YouTube videos are being indexed and retrieved via Google Images. I couldn’t repeat the results, but here’s an Image Shack screenshot from an international SERP. Pretty neat.

I love the idea of Google integrating video into this SERP, but why would video be put in with its image search? Isn’t that what video is supposed to be for?

Web 2.0 is nerd speak for “rip off”

Well, not really, but that’s what CNET’s Charles Cooper seems to think. He got all ranty Friday, attacking Americans for ignoring the conversation that should have been started after the Google/ Belgian decision was announced – defining the link between fair use and infringement.

I don’t think Google News is infringing upon publisher’s copyright (I’ve mentioned that, right?), just like I don’t think Web 2.0 and summarizing content can be attributed to scraping and content theft. For me, the comparison is more than a bit extreme.

Google publishing summaries on its site is not the same as walking into book store and stocking up on books without paying (as Charles suggests). It’s more like reading a review in your local newspaper and then going into the bookstore to find the actual book. Google’s not stealing content; they’re making content more accessible. Sort of like what Google News does with all of CNET and Charles Cooper’s articles. But that wasn’t mentioned in the article.

Danny Sullivan has a problem

Danny, we love you. But your overly-competitive nature has gone too far. Think of all the small children who went home disappointed this weekend when they were unable to break your high score on Disneyland’s Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters Ride. I bet some of them even cried. You make little babies cry! :) [I love that ride. Now I want to go to Disneyland and beat Danny’s score! –Susan]

Don’t Mess with Ze

I’m not too proud to admit that I belong to the cult of Ze. It’s almost a sickness. Maybe it’s because I am partially obsessed that I found it pretty genius when he launched his GimmeSomeCandy promotion to help him raise some funds. For $5, $10 or $50, users could sponsor duckies of various sizes that displayed a text-only message when hovered over. It was basically like a Ze Frank tip jar. Cool, right?

I thought so, but apparently Google Checkout did not. During Friday’s vlog, Ze announced that Google had disabled his promotion stating they “don’t support donation sites”. Donation sites? Whose running a donation site? Ze’s allowing you to sponsor a duckie and then giving you advertising space. A duckie is a good. Google Checkout is a dumb dumb.

But after lots of outrage and public criticism, Google Checkout finally conceded and is once again allowing users to use the fine service to sponsor Ze’s little duckies in the pond. And with that, all is right again in the land of Ze.

Now go give Ze some candy!

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