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Google Friends

Posted on Dec 23rd, 2005
Written by Lee Odden
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    There’s a newsletter that I get from time to time from Google called the "Google Friends Newsletter". The content is fairly good, but not exactly timely for someone who has 200 search engine related RSS feeds or that runs a search marketing agency. That represents, what .005% of the population?  For everyone else, it’s good info.

    It’s the day before Christmas Eve, and this post is the last thing I do business-wise, before I go to my parents and then take off for a week on an island off the coast of Puerto Vallarta. With all this snow in Minnesota and a good internet connection, I may not come back.  Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

    In case you don’t receive it, here’s the Google Friends Newsletter for December 2005:


    Best wishes to our readers for a contented holiday season from the Google Friends Newsletter team. We hope you enjoy this roundup of tips, how-to’s and new developments around the Googleplex. At the bottom of this message, you’ll find details on subscribing or canceling your receipt to this newsletter.

    Translate and convert currency using Google SMS
    By sending a text message to 46645 in the US, or 64664 in the UK (GOOGL or 6GOOG, respectively), you can translate a word or simple phrase into French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish – to or from English. Just enter ‘translate’ or ‘t’ followed by a word or expression, and the languages to and from which you want it translated (e.g., ‘t gas station from english to german’). To convert from one currency to another, simply enter the conversion you’d like completed (e.g., ‘3.5 USD in GBP’).


    Froogle local shopping
    Sometimes you’re just looking for the best deal online, but sometimes you need to head to a nearby store to feel the goods. Froogle offers both options. Search for "digital camera New York" and click on "Local Shopping" or "Online Shopping" to toggle between the two result sets. Going local is especially great for things you want to physically handle or don’t want to have shipped.

    Google Base
    Google Base is a place where you can easily submit all types of online and offline content that we’ll host and make searchable online. You can describe any item you post with attributes (the words or phrases that help describe the characteristics and qualities of your items that will help people find them when they search Google Base). And based on the relevance of your items, they may be included in the main Google search index and other Google products like Froogle, Google Base and Google Local.

    Music Search
    Some of our specialized searches can deliver a subset of results at the top of the page which highlight the most relevant information for that kind of query. For example, a stock quote search will yield a chart at the top of the results. Or look for a current film and see theatre showtimes up front. In this same vein, now you can search for a popular musical performer and often Google will show some information about that artist (cover art, reviews, and music store links where you can download or buy). Right now this feature works best for artists popular in the U.S., but we plan to expand it.

    New Firefox extensions
    We have two: One alerts you if a web page you visit appears to be asking for your personal or financial information under false pretenses. This type of attack, known as phishing or spoofing, is becoming more widespread. Google Safe Browsing combines advanced algorithms with reports about misleading pages, and is often able to warn you automatically when you encounter a page that’s trying to trick you into disclosing personal information. The other is Blogger Web Comments for Firefox. This makes it easy to see what bloggers are saying about a page you’re viewing in Firefox, and even make your own blog post about it, all without leaving the page you’re on.

    MISCELLANY update, the umbrella name for Google’s philanthropic efforts, is beginning its program activities. includes the work of the Google Foundation, some of Google’s own projects, as well as partnerships and contributions to for-profit and non-profit entities. The Google Foundation, which aims to support selected organizations whose work addresses the challenge of global poverty in ways that are effective, sustainable, and scalable, has recently funded two projects.

    One, Acumen Fund, develops plans for delivering critical goods and services to people earning less than $4 a day. The Fund has invested in producing malaria bednets – a simple way to keep out malaria-bearing mosquitoes in Tanzania, where the threat of death from malaria is alarmingly high. (The bednets are simple netting devices embedded with insecticide, which stops mosquitoes when people sleep beneath them.) The factory which Acumen supports employs +2,000 women who produce more than 3 million long-lasting bednets every year.

    A second grantee is PlanetRead, an organization seeking to improve literacy in India using an extremely simple concept: same-language subtitling. By adding subtitles to Bollywood films and popular TV shows, people who have low literacy skills are able to get regular reading practice based on songs and shows they know by associating the words on the screen with their meanings. Results have been very positive, and the program will expand across 10 states in India, potentially reaching hundreds of millions of people.

    Google Friends Newsletter Archives can be found at:

    Tags: Google, Google Newsletter, Froogle, Google Base, Google Music, Firefox