Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Why has LostGoggles stopped working?

Thank you for sending me your comments and feedback regarding LostGoggles; I’ve been a little quiet about the future of LostGoggles, and here’s a little background.

LostGoggle’s thumbnail images were provided by Alexa, but I never actually asked them to use their images; I just did and thought that I’d "compensate" them by linking back to their site, therefore bringing them traffic. Geoff Mack, the product manager of Alexa web search, immediately recognized the benefit of preview images in search results, got in touch with me and gave me permission to use the images for free.

Things changed around mid-2006, when Amazon decided to integrate parts Alexa into their Web Services platform and began charging for the thumbnail images. The problem was that LostGoggles was/is a free product. I made a few hundred dollars from the integration of Amazon links, but that would hardly have financed the fees required to license Alexa’s thumbnails through Amazon’s Web Services programme - and that’s why LostGoggles stopped showing preview images.

So, I am currently looking for a new provider of thumbnail images - and it seems I have found one. I’m talking with my friends at snap.com to integrate their Preview Anywhere.

I’d love to update LostGoggles! If you want to stay up-to- date, please join the LostGoggles Discussion Group - thanks!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Apple moving to Intel?

I've been reading so many comments on the Apple-moving-to-Intel rumor that I have to have an opinion. First, I'm a Mac person at heart who did the reverse-switch from Macs to Wintels. No, I didn't like switching, but the Mac market was a very risky business around the year ~2002, and programmers have too eat, too :) And I didn't like Mac OS X either.
I'd love to see Apple move to Intel processors, and it has not so much to do with who has the better processor.
So, much has been written about the move anyway, and where analysts and "experts" are completely wrong is that the switch would be technically difficult for Apple and their developers.
  • Switching platforms is nothing unusual. Sun has done it, SGI has done it, Apple has done it very successfully, and - most importantly - neXt has done it. Next actually they moved from Motorla's 680x0 to x86 Intels and finally to the PowerPC Macs on only a few months, so why would anybody think it would be difficult for Apple to get OS X ported "back" to Intel? The whole Linux / BSD world is more or less architecture independend:
  • Porting software is easy, or at least "manageable". For "simple" command line applications such as Apache, porting to Intel is as easy as "click here to recompile". But even sophisticated desktop software should be easy to port. MacOS X has so many abstraction layers between the hardware and its subsystems (Quartz, Quicktime, etc) that bringing existing software from PPC to Intels would probably be just a recompile if done well by Apple (and at least I would expect them to do it well).
  • The opportunity has never been greater than now.
    • No-one doubts that Apple is alive and kicking. Actually, Apple is perceived today as probably the most innovative company in the personal computer business, and besides the financial benefits, the iPod is a great publicity devicle for Apple. I forgot the numbers, but a very siginifcant number of customers who buy a Mac today are Switchers - first time Apple PC owners. Linux people are buying Macs, and MacOS X has become the Mercedes of the *nix world. People see Mac OS (X) as a "professional" operating system and no longer as a "toy" OS (it's got a command line shell, 'ey ;) )
    • MacOS X is here today, Longhorn is far away. C'mon, why would anybody ant to a) wait for and b) switch to Longhorn? There is absolutely nothing new to say about Windows these days. Mac OS X is the clear innovation leader; it's based on BSD (Linux folks will love that), it´s mass-market "desktop ready" like no Linux distribution, and it runs enterprise apps just as well. Now, add that to the installed base of Intel PCs... maybe Apple won't officially support it, but you bet that hacks and patches will soon appear on the net and make it work on just about any PC.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Want a Mac ...uhm.. Google Mini?

Mac Mini, Google Mini, Mini Cooper? Actually, I'd take all of them :)

The Google Mini comes in blue and it's yours for ony $2.995,00


Testing LostGoggles 1.5 with Google

Originally uploaded by butterseite.
Testing LostGoggles means that I spend most of my day between GoLive, different browsers and search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN and A9 these days - hint, hint).

Google obviously doesn't expect a human to make ~1000 queries in a row.

Well, Larry & Sergey... greetings from the the LostGoggles QA department :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

bookaboo finds better prices while you shop

If you like LostGoggles, you'll probably also like my newest extension, bookaboo. It adds a small price comparison window (not a popup) to online book stores and shows you the best prices from various merchants like Amazon, Textbookx, Overstock, etc.

It's free: http://bookaboo.org

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Kids prefer to search visually

A friend had invited me to dinner the other day; she has a 12-year old daughter who - of course - knows how to use a PC, and who - of course - know how to google for information about her favourite TV shows.

The interesting thing is the way she uses Google: she only searches in Google Images. She obviously doesn't care (nor know) that Google Images covers only a tiny subset of the actual Web search, and that she probably won't ever see the best content that's available for Charmed. It doesn't bother her at all, because "text is so boring".

(This was, BTW, it first time I would have preferrd a PC with NetNanny; she was also searching for "Beyoncé" and the results were not always what we would have expected ;) )

Of course I installed LostGoggles... let's see if she changes her Googling habits :)

Friday, May 06, 2005

Faster Google thumbnails with Google Web Accelerator

I've noticed that thumbnails seem to appear more quickly when using Google Web Accelerator.

For the technically interested, this effect has to do with the way proxies and caches work: Web Accelerator caches LostGoggles code, and in addition, it also pre-fetches the Google results, making the total experience much smoother; LostGoggles thumbnails (or placeholders, at least) appear almost instantly.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Google thumbnails for AvantBrowser, Maxthon & Co

I've completely re-written LostGoggles. There's not so much new on the surface, but a bit more under the hood that you'll see in upcoming versions. LostGoggles 1.5 builds the foundation for many new features that I'm planning.

Coming to a browser near you
LostGoggles is now a background application instead of a Browser Helper Object (BHO); this will no longer trigger alarms of several Anti-ParanoiaSpyware products, and it will not crash Internet Explorer if something goes wrong (as it did sometimes when viewing PDF files). It's also a more elegant approach than a BHO.

The greatest benefit though is that LostGoggles 1.5 now works with all IE-based browsers, such as AvantBroswer, Maxthon, SlimBrowser or NetCaptor.

Towards version 2.0
Adding features is one thing, but adding them in an intuitive, subtle way is another. I don't want LostGoggles to become too bloated; I've been working on many new things, and I'm now looking to integrate these without making it too complex and messing up the look & general user experience.
  • Thumbnails on MSN search
  • Thumbnails on Yahoo
  • Cross-Browser - read: Firefox- support (more and more)
  • Thumbnail Plug-Ins
    extract context sensitive thumbnails from web pages, like photos from news articles; this already works server-based, but I want it to be done on the client because of the bandwidth and CPU load this would need
  • "Live-Info" Plug-Ins
    extract short info "tags", just like LostGoggles' Amazon integration
  • Thumbnail Zooming
  • Preferences (choose thumbnails size, enable zooming)

Generally, I got a lot of inspiration from Klipfolio, and I'd like to think of LostGoggles as the Klipfolio for search. Klipfolio lets you extract information from various data sources - it's like a simple and neat RSS aggregator. I really like the whole Klipfolio Universe, with their API, terminology ("KlipFood" :) ) etc.

Download LostGoggles 1.5 Beta

This release, too, is still experimental Beta software; it's even more beta than the 1.0 release, so it's not available from the LostGoggles.com web site. Please give it a try; the installer will (=should) automatically remove the previous version of LostGoggles. I've tested it with different flavours of Windows XP, so if anyone has a non-XP version of Windows, please let me know if and how it works (or doesn't).


Download LostGoggles 1.5 (<400k)