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PageRank Indicator for Linux and Mac OSX
new extension for Mozilla browser displays PR
MarshallClark




msg:1100014
 7:39 pm on Jun 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I just read about a new extension for the Mozilla FireFox browser that allows you to view PageRank on Mac OSX and Linux systems. Here's what's involved:

1. Download FireFox browser from [mozilla.org...]

2. Install the GoogleBar Mozilla extension from [googlebar.mozdev.org...]

3. Install the PR indicator extension from [toolbar.nickstallman.net...]

The PageRank indicator bar will appear right next to the PageInfo button on the GoogleBar when you restart the browser.

 

moltar




msg:1100044
 6:08 pm on Jun 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Also on his main site now you can find "PageRank Indicators for your website". Those remind me of Alexa ranking buttons. Now Google will close him down for sure!

cheater512




msg:1100045
 9:47 pm on Jun 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hey, I'm finally here!

I'm Nick and yeah I made the toolbar.

Google will have a hard time killing the toolbar - I dont actually have the PR source. A friend has that on a remote server.

As for the bugs I'm not too sure whats wrong. A number of people have e-mailed me saying it wont work for them but it works fine for others. If anyone finds the bug dont hesitiate to e-mail me.
It was using a Squid Proxy to cache the requests on port 8888 before but I removed that because of compatibility issues. It now goes thru port 80.

Its currently being hosted off my P II 266 server in my house off a 256/64 'broadband' connection. Which explains the speed.
Someone has volenteered their server which will be excelent. :D

Spammers beware! Abuse this service and your ip will get blocked. I have logs of this and if I see any unrelated websites being queried by the same person in a automated fashion I'll block their IP.

If you have any suggestions, improvements or a new UI for it please e-mail me so I can put it in the next version.

My e-mail address is [EDIT] Stickymail me [/EDIT]

Bye
Nick

[edited by: cheater512 at 10:01 pm (utc) on June 10, 2004]

cheater512




msg:1100046
 9:49 pm on Jun 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Oh yeah moltar: I actually used the Alexa buttons as a base. ;)

bakedjake




msg:1100047
 9:49 pm on Jun 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google will have a hard time killing the toolbar - I dont actually have the PR source.

Not really - they just have to change the checksum. I'll bet they will do it soon, since its so widespread now.

Oh, and kill your email address. It's against the TOS.

cheater512




msg:1100048
 10:04 pm on Jun 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

They have changed the checksum once before but the old checksum still works - they just modify the real pagerank and give you a value 2+ or 2- of the real PR.

Posting your e-mail address is against the WebmasterWorld TOS? Thats a weird rule.
You can get it off my website anyway.

bakedjake




msg:1100049
 10:14 pm on Jun 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

but

But nothing. They could change it in a heartbeat and break everything, with very little reprecussion among the general public (their intended userbase).

What's even more amazing to me is that people crack this checksum, then release their tools to the public. Why would you do that? Why set yourself up for a legal battle for reverse-engineering their software?

Seems silly to me. Really silly.

btw - Welcome to WebmasterWorld. I advise you to read our Terms of service [webmasterworld.com] to familiarize yourself with our rules.

cheater512




msg:1100050
 2:52 am on Jun 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

They actually cant change it in a heart beat or otherwise they would have.

They need to make sure that 95% of toolbar users have got a updated version before they change it. Yes I know that they have autoupdate in the toolbar but it would still take awhile.

Anyway we can just crack it again. :D

Oh and I dont think they will try to sue me or anything like that. I'm in Australia so they will have to fly lawyers over and I'm not breaking the TOS. I did not reverse engineer the toolbar and I am not automatically querying their servers. Each query is started by a user.

And thanks for the heads up on the TOS.

toolkit




msg:1100051
 12:33 pm on Jun 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have logs of this

Told ya...

cheater512




msg:1100052
 12:50 pm on Jun 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

LOL toolkit.

While I do keep logs I will only be using them to check for abuse and making cool stats which I may decide to share. I will not be giving any of this information out or selling it or anything like that.

encyclo




msg:1100053
 3:12 pm on Jun 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld, cheater512, and thanks for posting.

OK, let me get this straight, and let's get straight to the point.

True or false:

1. You've either cracked or reverse-engineered some of Google's technology.

2. When a person installs your toolbar, each time they visit a page, the toolbar contacts a server under your control, which subsequently automatically gets page-rank info from a Google server.

3. You are recording the IP addresses of toolbar users on your server.

4. You are recording all the URLs requested by users of your toolbar, be it news sites, forums, online banking, etc.

5. You are accountable to no-one, and the information you harvest has no protection other than your word.

Some comments: If you've reverse-engineered Google technology, don't think that living in Australia is going to protect you from Google's lawyers. They are a $50 billion plus company which can afford a few plane tickets. Secondly, I agree with bakedjake - they could shut you down at any time. Thirdly, your server is making an automated query to the Google database. The fact that the query was originally user-requested is irrelevant. Automated querying is of course not permitted in the Google TOS.

To anyone who's using the toolbar, are you confident that your privacy and security are not compromised by this? Isn't this just blatant spyware?

bakedjake




msg:1100054
 3:15 pm on Jun 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

They need to make sure that 95% of toolbar users have got a updated version before they change it.

You must have misunderstood me, my new friend. I said:

They could change it in a heartbeat and break everything, with very little reprecussion among the general public (their intended userbase).

The general public doesn't care about PageRank. If Google breaks it tomorrow, and decides never to serve a "PageRank measurement" to a toolbar again, the general public won't care.

Some have speculated that the next version of the toolbar simply won't contain this measurement device.

Isn't this just blatant spyware?

A very interesting point, encyclo.

jgstyle




msg:1100055
 3:19 pm on Jun 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

encyclo:

Great points. It actually reminds me of what happened to Kazaa (what was the name of the company that owns Kazaa?). Aren't they in Austraila, and didn't they get raided at the behest of the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America)? - I *think* that's what it stands for.

Anyway this is definitely food for thought.

Another thing though, about reverse engineering. Sony was unable to prevent Connectix from reverse engineering the original Playstation functionality onto the Macintosh several years ago. It might be something that is frowned upon but *technically* legal? Any thoughts anyone?

encyclo




msg:1100056
 3:58 pm on Jun 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

You're correct about Sony, jgstyle, but times have changed. In the US, you've got the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), and Australia undoubtedly either has or is in the process of implementing similar legislation.

Reverse-engineering of this kind (if it is indeed the case - I can't tell at the moment) is clearly illegal.

trillianjedi




msg:1100057
 4:20 pm on Jun 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

is clearly illegal.

Probably.

Who cares though? I think encyclo's point regarding privacy is the big issue.

Welcome to WebmasterWorld btw Nick.

TJ

perkoch




msg:1100058
 5:38 pm on Jun 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

This is great! I really want it to work...

But I'm having trouble installing the last file - the PR indicator extension from [toolbar.nickstallman.net...]

It downloads a file called 0_8a.xpi and when I click on it, I get the message "No standard programme had been assigned to this document".

Any suggestions?

jgstyle




msg:1100059
 5:48 pm on Jun 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Encyclo - true, that was several years ago, before the DMCA. Well we'll all see what comes of this, I guess.

perkoch




msg:1100060
 5:51 pm on Jun 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I wrote:

'It downloads a file called 0_8a.xpi and when I click on it, I get the message "No standard programme had been assigned to this document". Any suggestions? '

Never mind... After fiddling around a bit, I found a way and it works just fine!

cheater512




msg:1100061
 10:09 pm on Jun 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Encyclo you do raise some very good and very valid points.

I did not reverse engineer the toolbar. My php script does not contact the Google servers directly. Their lawyers will have a tough case.

With the privacy concerns: As I said earlier I will only be creating stats from them and checking for abuse. When I talk about stats I mean bandwidth usage, number of hits and how many users have installed the toolbar. I keep the URL to check for abuse (A ip going to completely unrelated sites quickly is suspicious). This is done manually by me looking over the logs.

You only have my word for it. Can you guys think of a way I can prove it? This is not spyware. Once I get a proper log rotation system going I will be extracting the stats from the information and then deleting the log.

EliteWeb




msg:1100062
 11:11 pm on Jun 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Welcome cheater512 to WebmasterWorld :) Cool job on the toolbar. :)

encyclo




msg:1100063
 12:03 pm on Jun 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks for replying cheater512, it is much appreciated. You've obviously put a great deal of work into this. My concerns really lie with the apparent lack of transparency which is devaluing your efforts.

I did not reverse engineer the toolbar. My php script does not contact the Google servers directly.

Forgive me, but I still don't get it. Are you able to tell me exactly how this works? Surely you have to make a connection to a Google server at some point? What does the PHP script do?

With the privacy concerns: As I said earlier I will only be creating stats from them and checking for abuse. When I talk about stats I mean bandwidth usage, number of hits and how many users have installed the toolbar. I keep the URL to check for abuse (A ip going to completely unrelated sites quickly is suspicious). This is done manually by me looking over the logs.

Is your solution scaleable? If your server is dowm or overloaded, does the toolbar work? If the toolbar can't connect to your server, what happens? Why does it have to have a single point of failure, and why does it have to go via aa server under your control?

You only have my word for it. Can you guys think of a way I can prove it? This is not spyware.

Yes, you can go a long way towards proving it.

Firstly, I can unzip the .XPI file and read the code, but which files to look at? I'm certainly no expert in this field, so deciphering what you're doing is difficult. Solution? Spend an hour or two and write up a bit of documentation, and make it available on the download page for the toolbar.

Secondly, the PHP script running on your server: are you prepared to open-source it? You say you're not looking to make any money out of this, so would you be prepared to release everything? You could use the Mozilla Public License (MPL) which covers Mozilla itself, or the GPL. I believe that you are already obliged to license your .XPI file as MPL/GPL (as a derived work). Would you do the same for the server-side code?

As I said, the key is transparency. If you make the process transparent, then anyone can verify. That way, trust is established.

Brad




msg:1100064
 1:07 pm on Jun 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

What this also means is that Google could have done this for Moz and by extension other OS's at any time but dropped the ball despite demand. Well we've tasted the forbidden fruit now, maybe this will cause Google to reverse engineer this extension and come out with one of their own. ;)

cheater512




msg:1100065
 2:53 pm on Jun 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have a friend who has the actual Pagerank getting script. Mine just queries it and caches the result.

This is a good reason for not open sourcing it. Its pretty pointless. Also if I did release the source then Google would change their checksum and the entire show is over. If it is more controlled and isnt in the wild then they wont change it as soon.

No my solution is not scalable. :'(
Its running off my P2 266 server with a 256/64 pipe. This also happens to be my home connection. Its holding up amazingly well. Over 1000 users and my net is still prefectly useable.
Quite a few people have volenteered servers so as soon as I sort them out it will be moving a lot better.

Sorry about the lack of documentation. I dont plan to document this version because this was a quick and nasty hack. XPI files are renamed ZIPs and most of the modifications are in googlebarOverlay.xul and googlebarOverlay.js. Anyone with a hour on their hands can start from scratch and figure out how it works. This is my first XUL project and thats how I learnt.

I am making a new version which a *lot* more features than a simple Pagerank bar. I will leave you guys in suspense until I release it. ;) It will be fully documented. It will also be using Googlebar's proper extension methods which will make it easier to pull apart.

One reason I dislike people pulling it apart is because they can use my image on their websites. Thats why I made these: [seo.nickstallman.net...]
If people wish to remove my credit line they have to pay for the resources and time it takes me to make it. They get a fully customised image.

I will never make money from this script by selling information or charging for the toolbar. It will always be free but I can make a buck or two on the side cant I? ;) Of course my friend gets 50%.

muesli




msg:1100066
 6:13 pm on Jun 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

my PR indicator stopped working today :-(

cheater512




msg:1100067
 11:55 pm on Jun 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

muesli try now. My server was playing up this morning.

optimist




msg:1100068
 2:25 am on Jun 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google should actually consider using your technology for Mac users. Since they do not support Mac users with the PR technology.

Google has stated that it doesn't support Macs with the Toolbar because it is has too small of a market and they have no budget for the Mac community and the new iPod generation (That's Just stupid marketing by Google -but this is for another forum).

Now someone has created a way for them to offer it to the Mac platform. While you my have already violated some of their terms of agreement, Google should just let Mac users have their cake and eat it!

This should be accepted by Google - Fixed to function right off the toolbar without using other servers and added to Safari as well--> can you do this?
and save me the step of browsing the URL directly.

nalin




msg:1100069
 3:51 am on Jun 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

Out of curiousity...

Why question the motives or integrity of the author and label this application as spyware when the same time it takes to post here could be utilized to politely petition google to release a mac/linux mozilla compatible version of the toolbar. The latter (provided enough people were to contact google, and based on the interest in this thread and the slashdot effect this does not necessarily seem to be a bad assumption) would seem a far more effective manner in which to ensure the security of your surfing habits and increase the featureset of mozilla.

From what I understand (based on a polite petition to the page linked below) google is/will evaluate feasibility of a mozilla toolbar plugin. The email I received even looked like it might be a signature type reply (it used the term "Microsoft Internet Explorer" rather than IE or some other shorthand), in which case this could be a relatively common request. Excersise your opinion to get the full text for free...

For your convience toolbar help (contact us link) [toolbar.google.com] seems the most appropriate place to submit a cross browser compatibility request.

Something titled
Cross Platform Request

along the lines of

Hi, I am sure you guys hear this alot, I would simply like to reiterate the request...it would be nice to see a page rank capible toolbar in a cross platform browser (such as mozilla).
Thanks for your time,
-Name Here

would be polite and get the point across...and would certainly prove more productive then harassing the author(s) of any unendorsed plugin;

Questioning the authors motives, pleading for an open sourced version, or otherwise wasting their time (or for that matter pointing at their tool in such a prominent manner) only serves to hinder and arrest development of something obvoiusly of interest to us as a community.

cheater512




msg:1100070
 10:15 am on Jun 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

Mac users? Who cares about Mac users? ;)
j/k
Actually a lot of the people who download my toolbar are Mac users. Interesting isnt it?
I personally use Windows atm but dont intend to for much longer. ;)

What terms of the agreement have i broken? :D
I have not reverse engineered their toolbar and I do not automatically query their server (Each query is started by a user). Infact my script doesnt even access Google servers.

I dont plan to support Safari. Just most things running the Gecko engine (AOL 7 anyone?). That includes Mozilla, Firefox and Netscape 7.

The original Googlebar project has been negoitating with Google directly about a Pagerank feature without any success what so ever. Google does not want the pagerank publicly accessible except via their toolbar. They definately wont allow a open source version of it and I am not either so I dont annoy them too much.
This is why a Petition will fail.

Also about the privacy issues. I have been thinking about how to quash them. From the next version I will only be logging the hostname of the website you go to instead of the entire url. E.g. www.google.com toolbar.nickstallman.net
IP logging will have to still be in until i figure out a 99% abuse proof method of getting the PR. Any suggestions?
Also I might let a single user that is voted in by you guys to check my server and verify that I am not abusing my position of power with your browsing habits.

trillianjedi




msg:1100071
 10:24 am on Jun 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

Infact my script doesnt even access Google servers.

Defence counsel to jury:-

My client is not guilty of murder, only guilty of hiring the hit-man.

TJ

I'm only kidding - I really don't care either way - it's googles problem, and I don't use it so have so security/privacy issues. Hope you manage to keep your "script" working a bit longer... ;-)

cheater512




msg:1100072
 11:22 am on Jun 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

LOL. I'm not paying my friend for use of it.

trillianjedi




msg:1100073
 11:34 am on Jun 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm not paying my friend for use of it.

Defence counsel to judge:-

Further my Lord, I must state for the record that the hit-man my client hired did the job for free, so my client cannot possibly be guilty of conspiracy to murder

Prosecuting counsel:-

"Hahahahahaha"

;-)

TJ

cheater512




msg:1100074
 6:06 am on Jun 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

LOL. Nice one trillianjedi. :)

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