Simon Willison’s Weblog

Blogmarks tagged google

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SPDY: The Web, Only Faster. Alex Russell explains the benefits of Google’s SPDF proposal (a protocol that upgrades HTTP)—including header compression, multiplexing, the ability to send additional resources such as images and stylesheets down without needing the data:uri hack and Comet support built in to the core assumptions of the protocol. # 13th November 2009, 1 pm

Awkward Suggestions (via) The Google search box “suggest” feature returns very different results depending on the quality of your grammar—“how 2” v.s. “how might one” is particularly illuminating. # 12th November 2009, 10:31 am

The Go Programming Language. A brand new systems programming language, designed by Robert Griesemer and Unix/Plan 9 veterans Rob Pike and Ken Thompson and funded by Google. Concurrency is supported by lightweight communicating processes called goroutines. “It feels like a dynamic language but has the speed and safety of a static language.” # 11th November 2009, 7 am

Introducing Closure Tools. Google have released the pure-JavaScript library, apparently used for Gmail, Google Docs and Google Maps. It comes with a powerful JavaScript optimiser tool with linting built in and an accompanying Firebug extension to ensure the obfuscated code it produces can still be debugged. There’s also a template system which precompiles down to JavaScript and can also be called from Java. # 6th November 2009, 7:33 am

Google Dashboard. New Google product which shows exactly how much information Google have stored against your account, all on one page. This is a really useful tool, and hopefully will help set a powerful precedent for other sites to follow. # 5th November 2009, 2:03 pm

Cartographer.js. “Thematic mapping for Google Maps”—which means an easy way of adding heat maps (aka chloropleths), pie charts and point clusters as a layer over a Google map. # 1st November 2009, 1:20 pm

Official Google Webmaster Blog: A proposal for making AJAX crawlable. It’s horrible! The Google crawler would map url#!state to url?_escaped_fragment_=state, then expect your site to provide rendered HTML that reflects that state (they even go as far as to suggest running a headless browser within your web server to do this). Just stick to progressive enhancement instead, it’s far less hideous. It looks like the proposal may have originated with the GWT team. # 8th October 2009, 5:52 pm

Google Docs OCR. Whoa, the Google Docs API just got really interesting—you can upload an image to it (POST /feeds/default/private/full?ocr=true) and it will OCR the text and turn it in to a document. Since this is Google, I imagine they’ll also be using the processed documents to further improve their OCR technology. # 29th September 2009, 9:57 pm

Google’s first press release. From 1999, announcing $25 million in equity funding. I’m impressed to see that the mission statement already stated “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information, making it universally accessible and useful.” # 27th September 2009, 8:35 pm

OpenID: Now more powerful and easier to use! The OpenID+OAuth hybrid protocol (where a user can sign in with OpenID and grant an application access to their OAuth protected resources such as a contact list at the same time) is now supported by Google, Yahoo! and MySpace—this feels like OpenID finally coming of age. # 25th September 2009, 9:08 pm

Gmail for Mobile: Reducing Startup Latency. Cheeky iPhone optimisation trick—parsing 200 KB of JavaScript takes an iPhone 2.2 device 2.6 seconds, so Gmail embeds code components in /* comments */ in a script tag and evals them on demand later on when the features are needed. # 23rd September 2009, 10:29 pm

More technical details about Google Chrome Frame. It’s implemented as a Browser Helper Object, uses IE’s cookies, history and password-remembering, includes the WebKit developer tools and appends “chromeframe” to the regular IE user agent string—though not apparently the Chrome Frame version itself. # 23rd September 2009, 10:20 pm

PubSubHubbub for Google Alerts. “Think of it as a search API that tells *you* when it finds new results.” # 23rd September 2009, 9:30 pm

Introducing Google Chrome Frame. Here’s what Alex Russell has been up to at Google: An IE plugin (for 6, 7 and 8 on all Windows versions) which embeds the Google Chrome rendering engine—sites can then opt-in to using it by including a X-UA-Compatible meta tag. Seems to be aimed at corporate networks which mandate IE for badly written intranet applications—they can roll this out without retraining users to use another browser or breaking their existing in house apps. # 23rd September 2009, 9:57 am

Static Maps API v2. The new version of the Google Static Maps API (static images generated using arguments in a URL, no JavaScript required) adds support for paths, areas and automatically geocoding addresses to specify locations of markers and the centre of the map. # 26th August 2009, 9:01 am

AdSense for Feeds: What’s all the hubbub about PubSubHubbub? “Today we’re happy to announce initial support in FeedBurner for the PubSubHubbub protocol.” # 24th July 2009, 6:45 pm

Farewell to Mashup Editor. It’s not just Microsoft Popfly that’s shutting down—Google Mashup Editor will be gone in four weeks time (this was announced in January). You get to keep your code, but I don’t know enough about Mashup Editor to know if the code is usable once the system has shut down. # 17th July 2009, 1:05 pm

Google’s Chiller-less Data Center. Google are operating an outside data center in Belgium with no chillers (refrigeration units used to cool water, but at a high cost in energy) making “local weather forecasting a larger factor in its data center management”. On the 10 or so days of the year when Belgium is too warm, they can simply shut down the data center and shift the workload elsewhere. # 16th July 2009, 9:50 am

Google Will Eat Itself. “We generate money by serving Google text advertisments on a network of hidden Websites. With this money we automatically buy Google shares. We buy Google via their own advertisment!” # 10th July 2009, 12:15 pm

App Engine outage postmortem. Interesting peek behind the scenes. The primary cause of the error was a bug in a GFS (Google File System) Master server caused by a MapReduce process sending a malformed filehandle, reminiscent of the error which took down S3 last year. # 9th July 2009, 12:49 pm

Codecs for <audio> and <video>. HTML 5 will not be requiring support for specific audio and video codecs—Ian Hickson explains why, in great detail. Short version: Apple won’t implement Theora due to lack of hardware support and an “uncertain patent landscape”, while open source browsers (Chromium and Mozilla) can’t support H.264 due to the cost of the licenses. # 2nd July 2009, 10:16 am

Google asked people in Times Square:“What is a browser?”. Stuff like this makes me despair for creating a secure web—what chance do people have of surfing safely if they don’t understand browsers, web sites, operating systems, DNS, URLs, SSL, certificates... # 20th June 2009, 1:25 am

Dealing with election results data. Alf Eaton loaded the Guardian’s European election results spreadsheet in to Google’s new Fusion Tables tool. # 12th June 2009, 6:06 pm

Announcing Google Maps API v3. Sounds like a complete rewrite, with performance as the key goal. Only a developer preview at the moment, but my favourite feature is that API keys are no longer required. # 28th May 2009, 1:22 am

geocoders. A fifteen minute project extracted from something else I’m working on—an ultra simple Python API for geocoding a single string against Google, Yahoo! Placemaker, GeoNames and (thanks to Jacob) Yahoo! Geo’s web services. # 27th May 2009, 10:02 am

Offline Processing on App Engine: a Look Ahead. A session at IO next week: “App Engine was designed to run request-driven web applications, although this will change in the coming year with the release of a number of offline computing components. In this session, we’ll explore the task queue/executor model of computation and some of the more interesting applications.” # 20th May 2009, 12:40 pm

Google container data center tour (on YouTube). 45,000 servers in 45 shipping containers, along with some serious looking plumbing. # 26th April 2009, 10:14 pm

And Now For Something Entire... Oooh! Shiny! Alex Russell on O3D, the new 3D browser plugin from Google that makes OpenGL accessible to JavaScript (and embeds V8 so performance won’t suck even on slower browsers). # 22nd April 2009, 12:19 pm

London’s abandoned Underground Stations on Google Street View. “The network is littered with buildings that belonged to stations that closed their doors to the public because routes were changed and diverted, or because there was just too little traffic to make them viable. Here are some of the remnants of disused Underground stations that you can see on Google’s Street View of London.” # 14th April 2009, 2:51 pm

Reducing XSS by way of Automatic Context-Aware Escaping in Template Systems (via) The Google Online Security Blog reminds us that simply HTML-escaping everything isn’t enough—the type of escaping needed depends on the current markup context, for example variables inside JavaScript blocks should be escaped differently. Google’s open source Ctemplate library uses an HTML parser to keep track of the current context and apply the correct escaping function automatically. # 14th April 2009, 9:26 am