March 30th, 2007


Herbert Sellner invented the Tilt-A-Whirl, What has Google Done For Us Lately

I admit that I have been assimilated by Google. My home page is my Google Personalized Home Page. I do my cd reviews in Google Docs. I use Google Maps all the time.

But, I've noticed some problems with Google Personalized Home Page.

First, when you refreshed your page, half of the feeds came up with blank titles. That was a few weeks ago. Not a huge deal, except for someone who uses the page the way I do. Namely, I look at the headlines for the feed, and then click on the title to go to the page, rather than click on individual headlines.

In other words, I use the headlines as a preview, but generally go right to the page to read it.

Well they fixed the problem with blank feed titles, but now they've done something just as annoying: About half the time, when you click on the feed title, it doesn't load the page for that feed. It just jiggles the Firefox scroll bar. Sometimes if I refresh the page, clicking on the titles works again.

To make matters worse, there's nowhere to report this as a bug, that I've been able to find -- with Google search, naturally. There is a FAQ about the home page, but no indication of where to report problems about the Personalized HomePage infrastructure.

Which brings up a problem with the whole way these Web 2.0 thingers work -- pretty much any time you go to one of these pages, you get whatever code the server is serving up, so there's no concept of 'releases' -- using the thing means adjusting to one slipstreamed change after another.

There are of course a billion other reasons people don't trust Google, but I can't be arsed to give a shit about privacy, mail retention, etc. I am so basically boring and law-abiding that I can't imagine anyone using my web presence against me. I'm a lot more worried about all the stupid things I said in 1987 on Usenet that are still lurking in the Wayback Machine.