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Google's Goof 24 September 2002 Edition
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Google.com is the darling child of the search engine industry.

Its low-bandwidth, ad-lite, and information-rich reporting format has earned it the loyalty and appreciation of many millions of Net users.

To attain this enviable position as the world's leading search engine, the guys over at Google have had to be smart and attentive to detail -- which makes it even more surprising that they've goofed up with the launch of their new news-search service.

If you go straight to the news search facility (using the link above) there's no problem and everything works very well.

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However, at the time I wrote today's column (and last night when I first noticed it), attempts to use the "News-New!" tab on a page like this one produce rather disappointing results (screendump).

Note: The problem is now fixed -- good on Google for being responsive to such things

Why did this occur?

Well for some strange reason, Kiwi Net users who visit Google.com are actually redirected to Google.co.nz. If you hadn't noticed this -- try it. Type in 'www.google.com' and watch the URL/Location line on your browser.

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    Unfortunately, when releasing the new News Search function, it seems that Google forgot to update the domain name server for google.co.nz to include an entry for 'news.google.co.nz' -- so we get the error.

    Of course US Net users (including the bods at Google-central) won't know that this problem exists because their default Google address is a .com one.

    Irresistible Forces, Immovable Objects
    Everyone knows and loves Microsoft (excuse me while I extract my tongue from my cheek, where it appears to have gotten stuck) and one of that company's flagship divisions is MSN.

    MSN is a web-publishing and (in some countries) ISP operation that scores masses off traffic every month -- mainly because it's the default startup page for most people's web-browsers.

    Outside of the USA, Microsoft has been smart enough to realise that in order to make MSN a viable content provider, it needs to partner with local players.

    Its choice of such partners is very interesting.

    In New Zealand, MS partners with Telecom's XTRA ISP service, the country's largest. The result is XtraMSN, a site which I must admit I very seldom visit.

    Across the ditch in Australia, Microsoft chose to partner with Kerry Packer's ecorp to produce NineMSN.

    Clearly Microsoft chooses its partners on the basis of who can deliver the most traffic -- but have they goofed in the case of Mr Packer's enterprise?

    According to this story (ZDNet), there's a bit of a power-struggle going on at NineMSN. It seems that both parties want to play with the rattle and, if it weren't for a rather tightly worded contract, the dummy would have already been thrown out of the pram.

    Of course the PR people on both side of the cot have assured us that there's no acrimony involved -- but it can't be hard to imagine the irresistible force and the immovable object engaging in a boardroom blue eh?

    More Movie Backups Online
    Last week I exposed the rather dubious activities of a Kiwi "entrepreneur" who was seen to be selling "backup copies" of DVDs and games disks on the Net at knock-down prices.

    Well that site came and went in just a couple of days -- so I wonder whether the same fate will befall this one too (screendump). Note that I've included the screendump because the site seems to disappear when the allocated bandwidth is exceeded.

    So how do I know that this is a Kiwi-operated site? Well the xtra.co.nz email address on this page is a bit of a give-away, as is the info on this page.

    Will Xtra act to shut down this guy's email account? Should they? If not, are they then considered to be guilty of contributory copyright infringement and thus liable to action by the copyright owners of the more than 800 movie titles listed as being for sale?

    I'm Dying!
    Well perhaps that being a little over-dramatic -- but I'm still crook and even though I thought I was getting better yesterday, today I'm worse again. But the news must go on!

    Which leads me to ask -- how did this story make it to the front page of the NZ Herald's website??? Come on -- this is hardly ground-breaking stuff is it?

    If you want to have your say on the contents of today's column then please do so. Only comments marked "For Publication" will (if I have time) be published in the readers' comments section.

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