The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Watching the searches go by

A lot of visitors walk into the Googleplex lobby and stand mesmerized by the scrolling display of search queries crawling across the large monitor suspended over the receptionist's desk. It inspires journalists to wax poetic and dig deep for metaphors about the international impact of Google and the deepening role search plays in all our lives. They're so in awe of this peek into the global gestalt that they don't even read the NDA they automatically agree to by signing in for a visitor's badge.

The query scroll is fascinating, though it's carefully screened for offensive terms that might clash with the wholesome decor. Screened for offensive terms written in English, anyway. I seem to recall a group of Japanese visitors pointing and smirking at some of the katakana queries floating across the page.

Hey! I just saw my search go by!

Back when I wrote GeoFind (originally “Brainstorm” although I think the term “Brainstem” may have been bandied about) one of the features I added was a live feed of all the search terms being submitted (as a network service, no less)—I think at the time there were a few search engines that allowed one to check the queries being submitted (although I suspect all of this was before Google's time). It wasn't difficult to add the functionality, and it was fun interesting to watch the queries being made (except for the disturbing ones).

But one time I'm sitting in my office, watching the live search requests when I see “Hi Sean” flow past. It was one of my fellow cow-orkers having a bit of fun.

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