I had lunch today with a former Yahoo (Ray) and a few coworkers. That's odd for me because I usually eat lunch at my desk while catching up in NetNewsWire. Among the various things we talked about was the way Google add features that are useful to a very small fraction of their users.

For example, the fact that I can plug N304GT into Google to lookup my glider's record in the FAA Aircraft Registration Database is cool. (The fact that the FAA is taking forever to process my paperwork and issue a paper registration certificate is not cool.)

Someone suggested that they do this because it catches the eye of the really savvy users who are otherwise hard to impress. They then say good things about Google to their less knowledgeable friends which results in a trickle-down effect that ultimately attracts more users.

For whatever reason, I summarized this process in my best possible moron/caveman voice and said something like: "Google? Google Good! Me use Google!" And everyone was quite amused by my characterization of the "typical internet user" nowadays.

But nobody disputed it.

The other funny thing was when Ray looked up at a promotional sign in the cafeteria that was advertising some not-yet-public stuff we're testing internally. He read it and asked "is that a public alpha?"

Heh. So much for secrets, huh?

In fact, the poster in question is also posted in every elevator around here too. Visitors would have trouble not seeing it.

Posted by jzawodn at May 17, 2004 03:57 PM

Reader Comments
# jr said:

Never underestimate the power of stupid.

on May 17, 2004 04:30 PM
# Chris said:

I always hated when your friend tells you a part of a story then stops because they're not suposed to tell you the story!!! What was on the poster?

on May 17, 2004 06:09 PM
# Dan Isaacs said:

I saw it. But I forget what it was. Well, I remember what it was, but forgot the url. :)

on May 17, 2004 09:07 PM
# virginie said:

pfff that's really incredible... dear google ;-)

on May 17, 2004 11:54 PM
# Tim said:

I find it more fascinating that Google seems to have done little to improve the quality of their search engine. Well, when you do a search, the quality of the results you get back. Nothings more annoying than looking for something, and a hit comes back on a popular mailing list that's archived in 43 different places on the net, and the first 200 pages are ll the same article, or thread.

Google also reminds me of having that first combination lock in Jr. High. You have a problem, or are researching something on Google. You go to a site that you think might have what you need, but it apparently doesn't. A few days later, you realize that the site, in fact, DID have what you needed, it was just different than you thought it'd be in. So, then, you've got to think of the correct combination of search terms to get the pgae back (I suck at finding such sites in my browser's history. It takes hours, and I rarely find what I need).

There was a time that the Google search engine was new, and it was better than everything else. Now, it seems to be mediocre at best, and everything else either uses it, or is worse.

on May 18, 2004 07:17 AM
# Otis said:

Tim: perhaps, but is any other ocmpany doing anything better than Google? If they didn, people would switch to their service as quickly as they moved from AltaVista/Excite/WebCrawler/etc. to Google a few years back.

on May 18, 2004 11:28 AM
# Bry said:

I'd love to join Google's new ORKUT! Can someone send me an invite! I'll write you a good testimonial. hurls103 at hotmail.com

on May 18, 2004 02:54 PM
# Bry said:

I'd love to join Google's new ORKUT! Can someone send me an invite! I'll write you a good testimonial. hurls103 at hotmail.com

on May 18, 2004 02:55 PM
# chad said:

Tim, I think the google toolbar remembers your searches, sounds like that the functionality you want.

As far as the super secret alpha Jeremy was talking about, it is a cool idea, but I fear that yahoo will fail to promote it properly once it becomes publicly available. Oh how yahoo loves to promote stuff internally.

on May 18, 2004 03:47 PM
# said:


Couldn't resist pointing out that in your quest to make fun of "typical internet users", you, yourself, have exhibited some "knukle-dragging" behavior.

To quote you, "the way Google add features"

Your phraseology reminds me of the Saturday Night Live skits from 1986, featuring Tonto, Tarzan, and Frankenstein.

Talk about irony...

on May 18, 2004 09:11 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Me no grammar check either.

on May 18, 2004 10:20 PM
# hello said:

i just searched for google and found this as the last thing. pretty dodgy

on September 15, 2004 12:39 PM
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