December 13th, 2002


from the makers of Google...

...a shopping search engine.

Really clever idea, though I think they have a ways to go on the implementation side.

Still, think of the kinds of tie-ins that they can do. If someone searches on Google for a particular brand or model of camera, they can deliver not only the search results, but price comparisons... or maybe even facilitate people to buy the item via online auctioning.

It's probably about the most "evil" thing Google has done yet, really, but it could make them the middlemen in a whole lotta online transactions one day... and they're still delivering their users some very relevant information.

More words on Froogle

I may have to change my mind about Froogle... it's a lot better than I initially gave it credit for.

The first search I did on Froogle was for a very particular product... I figured I would try seeing the results it gave for a camera, so I typed in "coolpix" to test it. Sure, they had a fair amount of results... but not what you'd expect from a price comparison engine, as they weren't sorted by either model number or price. Search engines that don't give user friendly results just don't matter.

However, I noticed slowsync linked to my post and apparently used Froogle to find a *TON* of He-Man action figures, which got me thinking...

I wanted to look for Edward Gorey stuff, but I didn't want search results for all those books out there, so I searched for "Gorey" in the Apparel & Accessories catagory...

Cool. A Gorey T-shirt and a Gorey skateboard. However, it was only showing "1-2 of 5 results", so I figured I would check out the complete list of results link on that page. Much better.

(For Gorey lovers out there, it turns out that Target/Marshall Fields' has a whole line of Edward Gorey merchandise available.)

How does Froogle stand up to other price comparison engines, though? Well, doing a comparable search in Apparel over at My Simon didn't return a thing. Even their full search was less than impressive. Obviously, My Simon's results are geared more towards accessing specific vendors, such as those that deal in computers and electronics.

So, it appears that while Froogle doesn't function as well as sites like My Simon yet for price comparison shopping (which is arguably the meat and potatoes of such search engines), it seems to actually function *better* for finding obscure items!

If Froogle addresses the usability issues, they will be a very serious contender indeed. Until then, I will be doing my Froogle searches so that they list all the results, because when it comes to finding just the right birdbath, you need to shop around. After all, birdbaths aren't meant to be ankle-high almuminum toys, or a glorified plate hanging from some hooks. They're supposed to be serious pieces of statuary, dammit! So yes, I really *do* need access to all 17,117 Froogle results for "birdbath", thankyouverymuch!

Then again, sometimes the first result you get on Google Froogle is actually quite nice...


unexpected windfalls and general downpours...

I hear from my sister that my mother has done something rather unexpected... she's signed a disclaimer of estate form for my grandfather's estate. Basically, my mother is nearly worth a million dollars, so rather than have my grandfather's estate go to her, meaning far higher estate taxes once she passes on, my Grandfather Neale's estate will now be split three ways between my sister, brother, and myself. So, sometime in the near future, we'll have about $80,000 wired into our account.

Um.. gasp. That should solve any financial issues Kirsten and I might have. We'll be rather poor until it arrives, however. Sure hope it makes it here in time for Christmas...

What to do with $80,000:
- Pay off all our bills.
- Get about $50K properly invested for the longterm.
- Take a trip somewhere with Kirsten. Europe, I think.
- Get a hot tub.
- Have that housewarming party we've been promising for so long.
- Pie for everyone!