Google launches their own SearchMash…

… and I was the first person to discover it! On Monday morning I did my usual Google search for ‘searchmash’ to see who was linking to me, and I was surprised to see come up as the first result. I looked at the site, discovered from whois and the privacy policy that Google were running it, though trying to be low-key about it.

I posted to Google Blogoscoped about my discovery, and it mushroomed from there. It’s fun being part of a news story, and I’m glad to see Google trying some really different looks to their interface.

I’ve also got a lot of traffic from the news, it’s been great to have so many people discover my SearchMash, I really couldn’t have paid for that sort of publicity. It’s interesting to compare their approach to mine too; they’re providing a new interface but with the same information, whereas I’ve stuck pretty closely to their original interface, but try to offer some extra information on top.

A new visual cue, and a bucket-load of bug fixes


Now you can move through the results just using a button, I realized there should be an indication of which result the preview is showing. Luckily, Google already used tables for their formatting, so I was able to use an existing table showing the snippet which had no border, and set its border to one to give a nice selection box.

Before I put that change in, I also tracked down the IE/youtube preview hang. It turns out some of my script cleaning code was too aggressive, and chewed up the final ‘>’ at the end of the document, so it ended with ‘</html' rather than '’. This confused explorer enough to cause a hang. There’s now a fix in for that problem.

While I was testing the selection box, I ran into some other bugs, mostly minor object access errors that caused different browsers to choke, which I was able to fix by adding more check to make sure methods existed before I called them.

I did see some problems with pdf links. Since these aren’t text, and are very large, the script doesn’t cope too well with them, and isn’t able to display them at all anyway. My solution was to check the ‘Content-Type’ header, and only let through pages with ‘text/’ in there. This should stop binary files like flash getting through too.