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Is the “search result sandwich” a flaw in Google’s custom search?
|| 12/6/2008 || 11:04 pm || Comments Off on Is the “search result sandwich” a flaw in Google’s custom search? || ||

Sometimes when people google something and visit my website because of the search result, I try the search again to see if my website’s placement has changed. I also like to see what other websites are nearby and possible related content. Last month Google added a new feature that allows users to customize their search results. It allows people to remove results from their queries and add notes to different search results. Last night I noticed that when I was logged into Google, the search results featuring my website would sometimes show up twice and in some cases they would sandwich a different search result. Notice in the screen grab above that my website is featured twice on either side of a different search result. For comparison purposes, below, you can see a screen grab of a search result when I’m not logged into Google. Of note is that my website still shows up twice, but it’s stacked and indented so that there is no search result sandwich. Is this a flaw in Google’s custom search? Or was it designed to do this?



Google Street View of Washington, DC suffers from out-dated imagery
|| 11/6/2008 || 5:53 pm || Comments Off on Google Street View of Washington, DC suffers from out-dated imagery || ||

As a cutesy election day surprise, Google announced the release of their Street View feature for the Google Maps of Washington, DC. For the last year and a half I’ve been waiting for Google Maps to include the city I live in, while at the same time planning my next installment of my geopolitical art project Google Street View IED , the first google bomb for Street View.

In June of 2007, around the time Street View was first released, Washington, DC’s imagery was “updated” with newer aerial photography from 2005. However, the central business district of Washington, DC continues to this day being shown using out-dated imagery from 2002, and the rest of the District is being shown using the newer imagery from September 2005. In the time since this”update”, even after I assisted in exposing this passive censorship in the Washington Post, the imagery has not been updated and because of this the new Street View feature suffers.

In the screen grab above you are being shown the massive parking lot known as City Center which was the site of the former convention center. The old convention center was imploded in December of 2004, which makes a gross mismatch. By using outdated imagery the convention center is still being shown on the Google Map, but the Street View imagery shows a completely different temporal view. The disturbing part of all of this is that the USGS imagery is completely available to anyone in the world to download. It’s already being used by Google Maps for the rest of Washington, DC and I’ve been using in my maps as well.

So, Google, when are you going to update your imagery? If its for security reasons, why release Street View? This provides far more “on the ground” information the aerial views profide. Please tell your content providers that the imagery of Washington, DC deserves an update so you can better serve your customers. Maybe you can use your new satellite?



Related Google Maps Entries:

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YouTube Video of Cynthia McKinney on Al Jazeera’s Riz Extra show
|| 10/23/2008 || 3:41 pm || Comments Off on YouTube Video of Cynthia McKinney on Al Jazeera’s Riz Extra show || ||

Since the American media has completely blocked out the presidential campaign of Cynthia McKinney, its good to see that some foreign media is covering her campaign. In this web exclusive (aka not broadcast), Al Jazeera‘s Riz Khan speaks to Cynthia McKinney about her platform and campaign.


Related 2008 Election Entries:

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Pondering Digital Existentialism Through Query
|| 9/24/2008 || 3:29 pm || Comments Off on Pondering Digital Existentialism Through Query || ||

Screen grab of Yahoo’s search result (#9) for “Nikolas”

Having a eponymous website means that both my first & last name are combined to create the name for my website. The other day I decided to see where my first name (Nikolas) and my last name (Schiller) showed up in the search results of the three major search engines Google, MSN and Yahoo. The results are somewhat surprising.

As you’ll see below, “Nikolas” was ranked #8, #9, and #11 and “Schiller” is #31, #114, and #106 on Google, MSN, and Yahoo, respectively.

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Wasilla, Alaska is literally off the map, the Google Map that is
|| 9/4/2008 || 8:34 pm || Comments Off on Wasilla, Alaska is literally off the map, the Google Map that is || ||

The Republican Party’s vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is the former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. Tonight this website had a visitor from Wasilla, Alaska who looked at this statehood-related map. Upon looking at the city on Google Maps, I found out that Wasilla is a border city where the imagery of the geography shows only a portion of the city using new high-resolution imagery. In some ways, this map proves that Republican Party’s vice-presidential choice was literally off the map.



UPDATE – Due to the presidential election, Google has updated their imagery of Wasilla, Alaska.


Related Google Map Entries:

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One year later and Google Maps has still not updated DC
|| 7/23/2008 || 1:41 pm || Comments Off on One year later and Google Maps has still not updated DC || ||

One of the little plugins I installed on this WordPress blog was a link at the bottom of each post which shows what I had posted the year before. The other day I noticed that my research related to censorship of Washington, DC on Google Maps, which culminated into the lead article in the Metro section of the Washington Post had appeared. I decided to check out Google Maps to see if there had been any updates and to my non-surprise, there hadn’t been. All I can say is: “what gives?” DC residents are still looking at downtown Washington, DC from 6 years ago. People visiting the MSM of the American Indian are still seeing it under construction, the newly built dorms on GWU‘s campus are still not being shown, and the list goes on….. So when will the imagery be updated? When will DC residents get to enjoy the benefits of Street View? Google has office in DC to lobby elected officials, but they’ve chosen to keep imagery of their own office outdated. This doesn’t make sense to me.

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Face the (Corporate) Candidates on YouTube
|| 5/28/2008 || 1:54 pm || Comments Off on Face the (Corporate) Candidates on YouTube || ||

Today I wrote YouTube, LLC (owned by Google, Inc) the following letter:

Dear YouTube, LLC,

Your “Face the Candidates” section ( http://youtube.com/youchoose ) needs to be updated to include all presidential candidates. Currently American voters are not being shown all the candidates for president of the United States of America and this prevents your users from making an informed decision on what presidential candidate to vote for in November.

As a member of the Green Party of the United States, I find your explicit bipartisanship to be counter to your parent company’s corporate philosophy. The link to the “Face the Candidates” page is titled “YouChoose” but in reality it could be written “We’ve chosen for you,” because the web editors have unfairly excluded a presidential candidate.

Please include Cynthia McKinney’s campaign channel ( http://www.youtube.com/runcynthiarun ) to your “Face the Candidates” page because she is running for president and deserves the same placement as her democratic & republican party counterparts.

Sincerely,
Nikolas R. Schiller

I wrote this out of general frustration regarding how controlled the American political system is. Even though I voted for Cynthia McKinney in the Washington, DC primary and she’s now acquired the majority of Green Party delegates, there has been absolutely no national media coverage of her campaign (don’t believe me, check the Washington Post & New York Times websites). This type of American Blackout is unpatriotic, nondemocratic, and downright wrong and with Google’s “do no evil” corporate philosophy in place, this letter is an attempt to challenge their web editors to do the right thing and include all presidential candidates regardless of political affiliation. Will they change the page? I doubt it, but I know that I’ve made an effort, albeit a small one.



Google Charts API now includes small maps, but leaves out Washington, DC.
|| 3/24/2008 || 11:53 am || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Since DC is not a state, Google decided to completely leave out the nation’s capital from it’s new Google Docs feature that allows the creation of small, static maps. This cartographic error could have easily been fixed by simply adding a small arrow to the DC diamond and labeling it in the Atlantic Ocean as “Washington, DC” in the USA map.

+ MORE



Watching Google Crawl…
|| 3/18/2008 || 7:42 am || Comments Off on Watching Google Crawl… || ||

Last Friday I removed the electronic Berlin Wall from my website and for the first time in 4 years I’ve released the contents of my website to search engines. Yesterday Google had crawled about 20 pages; half of which were already linking to my website from external sources. Today after last the check, Google has now cataloged about 320 of the 1500+ pages that were submitted with my website’s sitemap. I look forward to looking at the IP logs to see how Google’s robots do their crawling and the latency that exists between crawling and appearing in a search result. From my initial observations everything take at least 24 hours between the crawling and the content’s appearance within a search result. By the end of today, I bet there will be 750 pages indexed….



Welcome Robots and Strangers
|| 3/14/2008 || 1:48 pm || Comments Off on Welcome Robots and Strangers || ||

Below is the text of an e-mail I sent out today:

One year ago today my ugly mug was on the front page of the Washington Post’s style section in David Montgomery’s article “Here Be Dragons.” To celebrate the one year anniversary of this 15 minutes of fame I did something I’ve been waiting a VERY long time to do– I removed the Robots Exclusion Protocols from my website. This means that in a few weeks you will be able to find the contents of my website with a simple search string from your favorite search engine.

Before 12:01am today, you could only search the contents of my website on my website. By preventing my website from being crawled by spiders (or robots as they are technically called) I also prevented anyone [strangers] from freely accessing the hundreds of maps that I’ve made over the last 4 years. Thus the paradox of making maps without being able to be found is now over, and in that respect I am liberating myself from the self-censorship experiment that I’ve been conducting these last few years.

Frankly, dear reader, its a very nice feeling. I am unaware of any website that has opened itself up to the robots with over a 1,000 different pages to index at once. I sincerely wonder what search words will bring people to my website from this day forward. Currently postmodern art is my number one search string (I am currently listed at #5)– and that was only possible because of the article that was published one year ago today. So with that said, today marks the beginning of a new phase in my life, and maybe yours– if you search for the right words.





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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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  • thank you,
    come again!