A9watch, etc.

News, reviews, and commentary about A9.com, other new search technologies, and related topics. Send news, inquiries, and rants to randalldotnewton atgmaildotcom. Subscribe at http://feeds.feedburner.com/A9watchEtc.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Gmail Inspires Clever Hacks

New Scientist magazine offers a good round-up of how programmers are finding ways to add functionality to Gmail. The clever hacks include Linux-based file storage, a community blog, and tools for automatically checking Gmail from the desktop.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

A9 Adds New Search Categories

A9 unveiled an update this morning, adding the ability to search three new categories in their side-by-side approach. Users now have the option to search “Images,” “Movies,” and “Reference.

A9 has also changed the color scheme and the layout of features. I’ll prepare a more detailed report soon.

UPDATE: Gmail Invitations Become Fussy

There was a message from the Gmail Team waiting for me this morning, regarding my inability to access the Invites popup. They made two suggestions (the entire letter is at the end of this post). The first was to login to my Gmail account using the secure (https://) address, the second was to twiddle with both my browser and my spam blocking software.

I have always been using the secure server, but I didn't do the other suggestions because the Invites link is working again. Gmail Team might have tweaked a setting (they didn't say), or it could just be one of those things. Hey, this IS beta ware.

Here's the letter they sent.



Thank you for your report. We apologize for any inconvenience this may
have caused.

To fix this problem, please try logging in to your account through our
secured interface. Secure HTTPS access is available via
https://gmail.google.com. Simply paste this URL in your browser and then
log in to Gmail. Please be sure to use this exact URL, with no characters
after '.com.'

It may also be necessary to disable third-party firewall, anti-virus, or
ad-blocking software (for example, Norton Firewall or Anti-Virus). Please
close all open browser windows and disable such software. Open up a new
browser window, and adjust your privacy and security preferences. To
adjust these preferences in Internet Explorer, please follow the steps

1. Click the 'Tools' menu at the top of your browser, and select 'Internet
2. Click the 'Privacy' tab at the top of the dialog box, and select 'Low.'
3. Click the 'Edit' button, and enter 'google.com' into the 'Address of
Web site' field.
4. Select 'Allow' to override the handling of particular cookies.
5. Click the 'Security' tab at the top of the dialog box, and change the
'Security level for this zone' to 'Low.'
6. Click 'OK.'

Next, please clear your browser's cache. To clear your browser's cache in
Internet Explorer, please follow the steps below:

1. Click the 'Tools' menu at the top of your browser, and select 'Internet
2. Click the 'General' tab at the top of the dialog box.
3. Click 'Delete Files' under 'Temporary Internet files.'
4. Select 'Delete all offline content' by checking the box.
5. Click 'OK.'

Finally, open a new browser window and log back in to Gmail. Please try
accessing your Contacts list again.

If you continue to encounter difficulties, please respond to this message,
and we will be happy to investigate the issue further.

We hope you enjoy Google's approach to email.


The Gmail Team

Monday, September 13, 2004

Using the Best to Search for the Worst

Sometimes you have to get creative to find what you are looking for on the Web. Andy Beal of Search Engine Lowdown tells how he used Google to search the worst of the Web to solve a problem. If you use search as part of your workday, you will appreciate what Andy did to finally reach his goal.

Gmail Invitations Become Fussy

Google is asking current Gmail users to invite new uses into the service. Last week, I had no problem clicking the invite link, but today every attempt is stopped in its tracks. An error message appears:

“Grrr! A popup blocker may be preventing Gmail from opening the page. If you have a popup blocker, try disabling it to open the window.”

I haven’t changed any settings on any of the three browsers I have installed (Microsoft Internet Explorer 6; Mozilla Firefox 0.9.1, and Mozilla 1.7), but the response is the same no matter which browser I use.

Gmail is in beta testing, of course, so the occasional glitch is to be expected. I hope they fix this one soon.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Google Instant Messaging Client Rumor and Fact

The blogspace rumor mill is at work, grinding away on the possibility of a new Google Instant Messaging client. Search Engine Lowdown has the best summary.

What most people don't realize about Google is that it already owns and operates an IM client of sorts. It came along as part of the technology from the purchase of Picasa. You can check it out at Hello.com.

More on both the rumor and the fact from Internet News.