Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Google Base, Google Labs, food, personal ads and a walk in the woods

Moss and flowers
Originally uploaded by MizMagee

Okay, it's true, this picture hasn't got much to do with Web 2.0. Well, I mean, I guess you could make some sort of analogy between pretty stuff growing on a dead stump near Juneau and new technology, but, hey, I'll leave that to the more literary and philosophical! I just like this picture because it's stress free and gentle, and it reminds me of a great hike I took near Mendenhall Glacier. Well, um, and because sometimes I need something beautiful to balance the strange and icky stuff lurking out there on the Web. But I'll get to that in a minute.

I ventured into Google Base right before lunch, so, guided by my growling stomach, I pounced on the "recipes" category and found a great recipe for salmon chowder. Emboldened by that success and still influenced by hunger, I searched the "events & activities" category for farmer's markets in the Seattle area. Of course that was a sure thing, so I decided to make it more challenging and changed the location from Seattle to Dubuque. And, hey, there is, indeed, a farmer's market near Dubuque. There's hope for the heartland! Or so I thought, but here's where I went wrong. I decided to add some humor to my day by searching the "personal" category. Google Base preserves the search parameters from your previous search and applies them when you search a new category. Voila! I had the only entry in the "personal" category for Dubuque. A 53 year old male who listed his body type as "other." I should have stopped there, because, god knows, that's pretty funny. But no, like a doofus, I had to click on the link. All I can say is you don't want to go there. Moss and flowers on stumps and hikes through the rain forest: all good. Google Base personal ads: bad, bad, bad.

Anyway, after that adventure, I tried Google Labs, which is Google's playground of possible future sites and features. Honestly, I didn't find much to be excited about, although I did like the possibility of viewing pieces of history on a timeline. On the right hand side of the Google Labs page is a list of former Lab features that have become Google standards, and I added Google Scholar to my browser bookmarks. Somehow I'd missed that Google search engine, and I was impressed with my search results.

Anyhow, I'm off to get becalmed contemplating old stumps. Peace.

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