Messaging ogling Google lobby
January 5, 2003 4:16 PM   Subscribe

Messaging ogling Google lobby [clip] "At Google's headquarters off Highway 101 in Mountain View, visitors sit in the lobby, transfixed by the words scrolling by on the wall:" [/endclip] [clip] So anyway... I thought to actually *message* the viewers with - I hope you Google-ites get a good kick out of searches! - no quotes. [/endclip] Results? Do it, Me-Fi! The link is to the full post at Topica.
posted by Grand Wahzoo (21 comments total)
oggle boggle
posted by muckster at 4:46 PM on January 5, 2003

Tried freaking them out by seaching for "Highway 101, Mountain View: We're watching you too."

Wonder if they filter out obscenities...
posted by Kiell at 4:54 PM on January 5, 2003

I always thought it was fun to watch the search queries coming through on gnutella, though in a voyeuristic way that and often ended up creeping me out.

Can anyone explain what the "she smoked a cigar" query (listed in the article) was all about? People have come to my blog through googling for that phrase, but I have no idea what it's from. Google shows a folk song and a fetish discussion group, but I'm wondering why it's a popular search all of a sudden.
posted by Hildago at 5:07 PM on January 5, 2003


Haw! haw!
posted by jpburns at 5:55 PM on January 5, 2003

So where is the "Live Query" cam?
posted by Grand Wahzoo at 5:58 PM on January 5, 2003

Or just some pictures of this stream of conciousness for the world wide web? What a wonderful thing to stream live.

Can't imagine Google doing anything so media intensive as a live webcast for the masses, though.
posted by jdaura at 6:01 PM on January 5, 2003

I remember reading an article on Salon which mentioned this (ahh, here it is).

Apparently it's filtered (although not as well in other languages).

If Google was sharing this info (which I'd find fascinating), it wouldn't have to be a webcast-type situation - it's just text. A Java/Flash applet could do it without much worry. It could even be a simple auto-refreshing page, or just a selection of 10 of the most recent searches.

(Another search engine used to have a voyeur page which would display a cross-section of searches happening right now, maybe excite? It was great, but it made me feel dirty. Which was most of the fun.)
posted by wilberforce at 6:34 PM on January 5, 2003

Ooh - here's a whole heap of them:

Search Engine Voyeur Pages
Unfortunately, most of them don't seem to work.

Turns out the one I remember was Magellan. I never used the search engine, I just liked to watch other people. Search.
posted by wilberforce at 6:40 PM on January 5, 2003

I've been thinking of doing something like this at my house with a lightboard, and allowing people to send messages to it via a perl script.

I guess it wouldn't be that much fun unless people were constantly messaging it...
posted by esch at 6:43 PM on January 5, 2003

It's actually pretty hard to get your search query to pop up on their screen.

If one query a second passes by, that's 86,400 queries a day. As of 18 months ago, Google received 100 million queries a day. Let's say that 30% of their queries are obscene, and won't show up on the screen. That gives you a 0.1% chance of having your query show up.

So, if you type in your query 1000 times, it'll probably show up. Just make sure it's suitable for a business audience.
posted by jgilliam at 7:40 PM on January 5, 2003

Is this worth nothing only because it's Google? MetaSpy's had a real-time search engine spy for years and years.
posted by mkn at 7:41 PM on January 5, 2003

metaspy is my favorite
posted by suprfli at 7:43 PM on January 5, 2003

Slightly OT: A friend of mine went to CalTech and told me they used to have a soda machine hooked up to a could enter a message, and it would scroll across the LED machine. I think it's currently non-functional, but here's a page devoted to internet accessible machines. The CalTech link is defunct.
posted by ArsncHeart at 8:18 PM on January 5, 2003

ArsncHeart, on a similar note to the soda machine, there's the MIT Foo Bathroom Display.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:59 PM on January 5, 2003

According to a friend who's been to Google's HQ, this thing sits above the receptionist' desk in the lobby.

And yes, it does filter swear words and obscenities... but only in English.
posted by shadow45 at 9:41 PM on January 5, 2003

ArsncHeart: Office printers are a largely-untapped resource for this kind of mishegas.

Got a unix-box handy? Got an HP LaserJet? We used to use this script (shell script version, PHP web-form version) to track our stock on the LCD displays of our printers (that is, until the numbers became too depressing, at which point we switched to koans and mischief). I'm not sure if the script still works on newer models, but you're welcome to give it a shot.
posted by dsandl at 11:36 PM on January 5, 2003

Odds on some mefis have featured on the wall of fame at some point...
posted by nthdegx at 12:06 AM on January 6, 2003

Or could we bomb google with "metafilter greets google HQ, happy new year"?

posted by nthdegx at 12:10 AM on January 6, 2003

The article mentioned on that page is partially a smaller version of the Live Query article that was in the NYT at the end of November. The print version had a photo of the screen, but I can't seem to locate the image online.
posted by gluechunk at 1:04 AM on January 6, 2003

squeebly-weeblies. i followed the metaspy link above (suprfli) and on the third screen one of the items was "yay! my search came up on metaspy". i've been forcibly transformed from voyeur to audience. you should try it, wilberforce...
posted by andrew cooke at 4:24 AM on January 6, 2003

here's the pic at google hq.
posted by steef at 5:36 AM on January 6, 2003

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