Blog Archive

31 August 2006

Google's AOL Marketplace Account

It’s been a while since my last post because there’s not been anything worthwhile to report on. I wouldn’t really say that this was even worthwhile to report on either, but it’s something new that I found so I thought I’d share it with you...

Cast your minds back to the 20th December 2005, when Google’s Time Warner’s AOL and Google to Expand Strategic Alliance press release mentioned something called AOL Marketplace (the emphasis being mine):

Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt said: “ [...] Today’s agreement leverages technologies from both companies to connect Google users worldwide to a wealth of new content. We’ve also created a simple way for AOL Marketplace advertisers to buy and place search-related advertising across the AOL network. [...] ”


The agreement’s broad range of new features for users and advertisers include:

  • Creating an AOL Marketplace through white labeling of Google’s advertising technology – enabling AOL to sell search advertising directly to advertisers on AOL-owned properties;


AOL and Google have also agreed to extend the term of their existing European relationship, and, subject to mutual agreement, they may extend the AOL Marketplace internationally. In addition, Google, AOL and Time Warner may choose to expand the new partnership to Time Warner’s other advertising opportunities.

Whilst I was doing some ‘routine’ interrogations of Google’s services, I just saw the following for the first time:

Sign in with your AOL Marketplace account

You’re probably already used to seeing something similar, which would usually look something like this:

Sign in with your Google Account

So, what’s an AOL Marketplace account? I’m assuming that it’s simply a Google Account by another name so that the AOL Marketplace users don’t get too confused. But that raises a couple more questions. What is the AOL Marketplace? And how do you access it?

Does anyone know...?

(Just for the record, at the time of writing this, a Google search for ["AOL Marketplace account"] returns zero results, so I’m guessing that nobody really knows just yet...)

Update: 13 September 2006 (00:26)

I’ve just noticed that AOL Marketplace account has now been updated to AOL Search Marketplace account instead:

Sign in with your AOL Search Marketplace account

Still no more clues as to what this is though...

(And just for the record, at the time of writing this update, a Google search for ["AOL Search Marketplace account"] returns zero results...)

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14 August 2006

Blogger Beta is finally here!

Last Tuesday, I said:

Just when I was starting to actually believe that Google had abandoned all development on Blogger, I noticed something that could possibly mean that they haven’t forgotten about their free blogging service after all...

On Friday, I suggested that Blogger was going to be migrating to Google Accounts. And today they’ve launched Blogger Beta!

As well as migrating Blogger to use Google Accounts, they’ve also (finally) added loads more features:

You can take the tour here.

(I wasn’t able to migrate my Blogger account to my Google Account, so I just created a new Blogger Beta account using my usual Google login.)

So, there we have it. After all this time, Google have finally made some changes to the Blogger service that everyone thought they’d forgetten about! Will it be enough? Of course not! Users always want more...

(One final thought – I wonder why they’ve named it “Blogger Beta” rather than “Blogger 2.0 Beta” instead. “Blogger Beta” indicates that it’s a predecessor to Blogger, which it obviously isn’t...)

[Thanks to Pierre S in the Google Blogoscoped Forum.]

Update: 14 August 2006 (21:35)

View this post on my Blogger Beta blog here, which nicely shows off some of the new features including a nice new format for the archive menu, which is fully customizable, although still very buggy!

Also, on closer inspection it appears that you can’t:

  • publish to a non-Blog*Spot domain (at least for the time being)
  • edit the templates by hand – “Raw template editing functionality coming soon.”

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12 August 2006

The Search for Secret Google Services

Since stumbling across Google Base almost a month before its release and more recently uncovering some more secret Google services, several people have asked how I go about finding these new services. By way of a response, here’s a quick guide to just some of the many different ways you could use to try and find new services that Google are working on.

1. Finding a new service

The details of new services can sometimes be leaked accidentally. Other times, they’re kept secret right up until their release. Here are a few things to look out for if you want to discover new services before anyone outside the Googleplex has even heard about them:

2. Waiting for the new service to be released

Once a new service is discovered, everyone always wants to be the first to confirm a sighting and post exclusive screenshots. Here’s what you can do if you’re expecting a service to be released:

3. What to do once you find something new

When Corsin Camichel snooped around the Google servers, he accidentally hit on Google Platypus aka Gdrive (and took a screenshot, of course).

Even if you’ve not followed the previous steps, Google sometimes adds references and links to pages either accidentally or without announcing them. This is what you should do if you see something new:

And here endeth the lesson. Others will probably have their own ways of doing things and new methods will emerge all the time.

Of course, you could just try bribing a Googler or one of their ‘Trusted Tester’ friends... [added: Just kidding!]

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11 August 2006

Blogger definitely migrating to Google Accounts

I recently questioned whether Blogger was finally going to use Google Account logins. Well, here are some screenshots of pages I just discovered that suggest this is highly likely to happen sooner rather than later...

Sign in to Blogger
This is what we see before we sign in now

Sign in with your Blogger or Google Account
This is what we will start to see soon

You are logged in with your Google Account. Already a Blogger user? Switch now.
This is what we will see if we’re already signed in to our Google Account

In the last screenshot, the ‘Switch now’ link takes you to this – which currently returns a 404 error but will presumably migrate or link your Google Account to your existing Blogger details.

So the only question now is, “When will this happen?”

Update: 14 August 2006 (21:27)

When will this happen? Sooner than we thought perhaps...

Blogger Beta is finally here!

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8 August 2006 to finally use Google Accounts?

Just when I was starting to actually believe that Google had abandoned all development on Blogger, I noticed something that could possibly mean that they haven’t forgotten about their free blogging service after all...

As regular readers will know, I’ve been doing quite a bit of research into Google Account service names recently. As well as periodically checking for new service names, I’m also checking for any changes in behaviour of existing services.

Today I realised that the ‘NewAccount’ and ‘CreateAccount’ pages – which always seem to be identical – no longer generate the usual “The page you requested is invalid.” error when appending the word blogger to the service parameter. Instead, you get this message (when already signed in to your Google Account):

Google Accounts: Sign up for Blogger

(If you’re not already signed in, you’ll get the usual “Create an Account” page but customized for the Blogger service.)

This behaviour usually only occurs for services that you can sign up for using your Google Account. So, either someone’s introduced a bug that allows this to appear or Google are working on migrating Blogger logins to use Google Accounts.

Unfortunately, that’s where the fun ends for now because clicking the ‘Continue’ button appears to just reload the page whilst submitting the data to the CreateServiceAccount page. Oh well. Maybe all that will change in the next few days... or weeks... or even months!

Anyway, let’s hope this small change means Google are actually going to start developing new features for Blogger again!

Update: 11 August 2006 (13:33)

See also: Blogger definitely migrating to Google Accounts

Update: 12 August 2006 (09:16)

It seems that the ‘NewAccount’ and ‘CreateAccount’ pages both return the standard “The page you requested is invalid.” error again.

(BTW, I’ve since realised the difference between the ‘NewAccount’ and ‘CreateAccount’ pages; the ‘CreateAccount’ page will always show the full registration form, whereas the ‘NewAccount’ page will show a “Welcome back ... Get started with ...” page if you’re already signed in to your Google Account. When you’re not already signed in, they always seem to be identical.)

[Thanks to Sankar Anand in the Google Blogoscoped Forum.]

Update: 14 August 2006 (17:28)

And it’s back again!

Update: 14 August 2006 (21:27) to finally use Google Accounts? Yep...

Blogger Beta is finally here!

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3 August 2006

Matt Cutts: No comment on secret Google services

As many of my readers will already know, Matt Cutts has recently been publishing Q&A video sessions to his blog in order to answer various questions about SEO, spam, indexing and other Google stuff in more detail.

His latest post references my recent discoveries.

TOMHTML asked:

“What are Google SSD, Google Guess, Google RS2, Google Mobile Marketplace, Google Weaver and other services discovered by Tony Ruscoe?”

Matt answered:

“I think it was very clever of Tony to try to do a dictionary attack against our services check-in... but I’m not gonna talk about what those services are.”

You can watch the video for yourself below. I’m even using Google Video’s new “Embed videos with a specific start point” feature, so you should be taken to the exact point where I’m mentioned, which means you don’t have to watch the entire thing if you don’t want to:

Session 10: Lightning Round!

For more videos from Matt, check his following posts:

Or you could read Philipp’s partial transcripts: