27 July 2006

What's in Google's Sandbox?

It’s been a while since I’ve done any digging around Google’s servers to try and find some new services, so I thought I’d have a quick go tonight.

I started by looking at one of the subdomains I found when I first ran my Google subdomains sniffing script last year:

Since Google Checkout was released earlier this year, that subdomain has been serving up what appears to be the Google Checkout pages. However, anyone who has tried to login would’ve noticed that they wouldn’t have been able to sign in using their usual Google Account. Furthermore, if anyone creates a new account from within these pages, it’s not a ‘real’ Google Account – it’s actually some kind of test account.

(Just try to sign in to the ‘sandbox’ pages using your normal account and it won’t work. Similarly, try signing in to the real Google Accounts pages with your ‘sandbox’ login and that won’t work either.)

It appears that the ‘sandbox’ subdomain and associated Google Accounts are used for the development and testing of new or experimental Google services. So, using the same methods I used to find new service code names before – e.g. Weaver / M Scrapbook, Google RS2, SSD, Mobile Download Console and Google LH2 – I managed to find and add the following services to my ‘sandbox’ Google Account – all of which aren’t currently available to add to your ‘real’ Google Account (even though you’ll have heard about some of them before):

Service NameCode Name
Google Eventsev
Google Guessguess
Google Online Assessmentgoa
Google Real Estate Searchre
Google RS2rs2
Google Writelywritely
Local (AKA Local Business Center)lbc
Mobile Marketplacemmp
New Service (AKA Workplace)wf
New Servicegmt

Note: The links used above are the same as those linked to each service name in the ‘My Accounts’ page, of which you can also view the screenshot.

Update: 28 July 2006 (13:42)
Also now available, screenshots of the sandbox ‘My Account’ page in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese and Welsh!

In addition to those services, the following were recognized as being valid services – i.e. the usual login screens were available – but it wasn’t possible to add them to my account:

Service NameCode Name
New Servicecf

Old news?

So what’s new?

So, after all that, do we think these are new Google services waiting to be unleashed on the Google-loving masses? Or are they just some experimental services that some Googlers at the Googleplex have been playing with for their 20% projects?


Update: 29 July 2006 (12:49)

Just a quick update...

I can confirm that Google have now deactivated all of the new services that I mentioned above. Creating a sandbox account and trying to add these now won’t work. Furthermore, Google have deactivated my sandbox account! When I tried to login earlier today, I got the following error:

Sorry, your account has been disabled. For more information about Google Accounts, please consult our Help Center at

I guess that’s fair enough.

Also, thanks to Digg user merreborn for pointing out that the sandbox is actually intended for the testing of Google Checkout, and is mentioned in the Google Checkout API documentation. I guess Google just didn’t expect people to start trying to register new services on there too...

Update: 3 August 2006 (13:39)

See also: Matt Cutts: No comment on secret Google services



What's in Google's Sandbox? I think the only answer to that is: lots.

I would be surprised if Google Events is ever going to be released. It has probably been superceded by GCal. Google Guess sounds really suspicious. I mean it is as if they knew you were going to dig this up and wanted to tease us all. But seriously that could be anything.

Thanks for this Tony.
by Anonymous Anonymous  

Tony, there is the wifi project which is coming out of trusted tester status..

and thanks for sharing this !!
by Anonymous Anonymous  

Good luck to your server, you might be cited by a couple of news outlets :)

with your "new account", have you tried to connect here ?
just for try... ;)

by Anonymous Anonymous  


Tony, I get the French version of all theses services ;)

Why can't you login here with the tester account? Doesn't seem to work...

Quick Tony, append ?hl=de, ?hl=fr, ?hl=es and so on in your Account page before Google shuts this down... this way we can squeeze more info out of this :)

I extraced different languages:

Philipp said...

Quick Tony, append ?hl=de, ?hl=fr, ?hl=es and so on in your Account page before Google shuts this down...

Thanks for the tip guys - screenshots for most languages have now been posted in the update above!

I am pretty sure I've heard of Google's Sandbox in the context of black-hat SEO tactics, as in a place where sites are exiled from the google's search results page (see But a developing ground does sound more like a (playground) sandbox to me. Who knows?
by Anonymous Anonymous  

Workplace sounds more like a clone to me then anything else.

Also, could the GMT code be for some kind of time-sync service, i.e. the Greenwich Meridian Time?
by Anonymous Anonymous  

Actually Googles Sandbox in terms of SEO has nothing to do with Black Hat methods. It a tem the webmaster community dubbed sites that dont rank for at least 6-12 months after they are registered with ICANN. Think of it like young sites (like little kids) have to play around in the sandbox before they can go on the big boys playground.

Great post though. Its nice to see all these things organized in one place. Hopefully a good discussion will ensue regarding these new services.
by Anonymous Anonymous  

cf? easy. I think google has mastered cold fusion.
by Anonymous Anonymous  

I would venture to say that Google Online Assessment could be an easy to use survey/testing tool for businesses & scholars alike. It would be easy to use the Google branding to get clients or consumers to participate in testing instead of pointing them to classic survey sites like brainbench or surveymonkey.

Again, this is as good as anyone else's [Google] guess.
by Anonymous Anonymous  

RS2 probebly stands for Rosetta or Rosetta Sone. This would indicate it's probably the next version of google translate.

Rosetta Stone [at Wikipedia]
by Anonymous Anonymous  

Looks like Google has caught on, as the Sandbox doesn't allow the services to be added now. Google probably uses the Sandbox internally to test the apps so they can't shut down the whole service.

Makes you wonder if the SEO restriction called sandbox even exists or if everyone is really confused.
by Anonymous Anonymous  

I have noticed some possible misconceptions about what the "sandbox" site is. I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure it is nothing more than a test site for Google Checkout developers. In other words, once a developer has integrated Google Checkout into their E-Commerce website, they can test with the site for functionality without actual financial transactions taking place.

Aside from this, it looks like Tony has discovered the sandbox site is a loophole into figuring out other project names.

Well, at least until Google closed that loophole. ;)

somehow this two similar links with different queries triggers and outputs the "try something new" area.

google cf : Google works with Adobe to OpenSource ColdFusion, and dominates the world with it.
by Anonymous Anonymous  

Online Assessment: Do I not recall that Google uses human input to assess the quality of search results to tweak the algorithm going forward. I'm sure I saw some screenshots somewhere.

Perhaps this is a link to that assessment engine.
by Anonymous Anonymous  

I wouldn't be surprised if Google Assessment is some sort of testing engine. Online course management systems like Blackboard have an assessment area where you can administer exams and surveys.

I can see an instructor who doesn't have access to a university or secondary-school online course server setting up homework assignments and assessments through a Google Assessment feature. If you can invite other users to access your spreadsheet or calendar, an online test or survey should be trivial to set up.
by Anonymous Anonymous  

That is too cool! thanks for posting this!!

Dude, have you not heard about Google patenting the "Voice Searching" capabilities? That's the most obvious answer for the search section. It will be that you can say something and it will search for it. Maybe it will be incorporated into talk, or maybe right on their homepage. This could be for accessibility too...
by Anonymous Anonymous  

I believe Google Guess is the feature that "guesses" what you are searching for as your type your search query. It tries to autofill some potentional searches as you type. We use this feature on most Korean search engines.
by Anonymous Anonymous  

Hi all,

My guess (french post, try google translate.

RS2, I think a code name for RSS, and it would be a web service that translates RSS feeds from blogs and podcasts into foreign languages, as Nativetext. The difference : Nativetext is a social service (by humans, for humans), Google RS2 would be an automatic service, according to state of the art of Google in automatic translation (I think Google is first in this field).

Secondly, about Weaver and h9, my guess is that we're talking about Sigourney Weaver in Futurama (in Love and Rocket), because she's voicing a parody of HAL 9000 in several scenes (Source). Now we know that for Google the meaning of Hal 9000 is The Ultimate Search Engine...

Hi again,

I wrote all a post for Google Weaver. Cheers,

P.S. Tony, I'd like to know what you think about my "theory" ;-)

Google Events sure does seem interesting. A medicore effort on Gcal make it an obvious comer. Addition of sync to mobile would make it just the right offer. airset has been offering it for a while so is zyb .

The take on Google wifi is pretty serious as in case of San Francisco . As for the rest thanks Tony you gave me enough food for thought, will drop over later.

by Anonymous Anonymous  

Dunno if anyone has suggested this but could Google cf be something for reference? (
by Anonymous Anonymous  

Google actually like all those black hat seo spam and scraper sites, why do you thing there are millions of new ones each day - they are mainly set up with google adwords - so people can click the ads and google makes money. I read about this at Black Hat SEO Black hat publications, goes into depth about white hat vs balck hat seo techniques and methods, and the plus and minus of each tecnique.

Great article!
Useful information about google future ;)
by Anonymous Anonymous  

I am really hoping that google will be a bit more clearer about this. Maybe even create a tool as to why a website is not doing well (maybe due to spam sandbox or whatever). I am now searching for a tool like that to test our website because we are not sure why it is not picking up in the search results.

Nick, thanks for your comments but this is a different Google sandbox to the one which you're talking about.

Very useful info! I just got out of the box

Yes. This is vary valuable info about Google sandbox. I'm really struggling right now to get out of it. In a mean time I was searching the net and got to this blog. I tried to find some articles on Serbian language and nothing. There for I wrote the article on Serbian now about Google Sandbox. So this is for those who want it in Serbian
Google Sandbox efekat

Thanks Tony for sharing. I want to learn as match as I can about this.

Zoi, refer to my comment above. I think this is a different Google sandbox to the one you're talking about.

This was 2 years ago.
Now Google Android comes...

Looking at all of these, I could take a guess that with their OpenID implementation we'll start to see external sites appear on the My Account page of Google.

My blog seems to be in the sandbox, i hope it comes out soon.