Japan: URL's Are Totally Out

If you hadn't heard via Twitter (and why would you?), I just returned from over two weeks of quality time in Japan. A lot of business and business planning, but also a whole lot of fun. The truly watershed event: this time, I had Steve along. Japan is a place that Steve and I have literally talked about since we were kids, and although I've since been to Japan many times (including a couple trips with my fiancee), Steve's once-monumental and well-beyond-ha-ha-doesn't-flying-suck fear of the aeroplanes kept him from joining me in the past. Now, it's as if his fear has been almost entirely, like, 35-Pass Secure Erased, totally Gutmann-style. Much like a 35-pass erase, it took him a whole lot of time and a whole lot of hard work to get rid of it — but on the plus side Steve's brain is now government compliant and be sold at a garage sale. What's that? I need to cancel my nationwide 35-Pass Erase Comedy Tour? Tough crowd.

Anyway, kudos to Steve. Great to have him there. (And also nice to have Dave and Mike join us later.)

So: Japan stories time!

Within minutes of riding on the first trains in Japan, I notice a significant change in advertising, from train to television. The trend? No more printed URL's. The replacement?

Search boxes!1 With recommended search terms!

It makes sense, right? All the good domain names are gone. Getting people to a specific page in a big site is difficult (who's going to write down anything after the first slash?). And, most tellingly, I see increasingly more users already inadvertently put complete domain names like "gmail" and "netflix" into the Search box of their browsers out of habit — and it doesn't even register that Google pops up and they have to click to get to their destination.

But, I ask you: could this be done in the USA? Wouldn't search spammers and/or "optimizers" ruin this within seconds? I did a few tests with major name brands and they're almost always the top hit on Google (surprisingly, even Panic). But if Nabisco ran a nationwide ad campaign for a hot new product and told users to Google for "Burlap Thins" to learn more, wouldn't someone sneaky get there before they do?

Despite my questions, this trend seems almost inevitable to me. In fact, I bet that some point in the future, Safari's title bar looks a little bit more like this:

1. Like Pokemans, I really enjoyed "collecting" the varied search box design treatments: sometimes OS 9 style boxes, or glossy Vista style buttons, or a pointer, or the classic weird gloved hand, or a bitmap-y font, etc. This is but a small sample.


Fascinating. Thanks.

One imagines such advertisements either
1) include virtually-guaranteed #1s, such as the company/brand/product name, which shouldn't ever slip from being a top result, and/or
2) are not meant as long-lasting ads. I.e. these are billboards and on buses, not business cards or magazines.
Anonymous Alan Hogan 3/24/2008 11:16 PM  
Someone in Japan has actually been paying attention to the way everyone uses a web browser. I've been watching the way people use their web browsers at work and I haven't seen anyone type in a URL in ages. If the browser doesn't have a search box (we're stuck with IE 6.0 on the work PCs) they'll do one of two things: 1.) go to google or yahoo and type in the name of the site 2.) just type in the name of the site, which works great in Safari or Firefox but IE just goes straight to Live search or whatever is the default.

My wife confirms this. She stood directly behind someone and spelled out the URL only to watch the other person load up a search engine.
Anonymous Benjamin 3/24/2008 11:17 PM  
here in china a lot of people just type in the name of the site (or brand or whatever) in the address bar. they then get right to the page even if the name (typed in chinese characters) has no relation to the actual URL. i've seen countless people do it. my first thought was recalling AOL keywords given in tv commercials back in the late 90's.
Blogger Kellen 3/25/2008 12:15 AM  
Most japanese people I know search for things instead of entering the URL manually. Sometimes they even search for the URL itself!

I think one of the biggest reasons for this is because URLs are in alphabet and Japanese just doesn't translate very well.

I did a quick test and as long as you use the japanese google page, they all show up as no 1. Mostly as Google sponsored links though. (web standards haven't really made it big in Japan yet)

Using search to promote your site is something that should be tried in the west too I think.
Blogger Erik 3/25/2008 12:23 AM  
AOL keywords, back in the 90s. First thing that came to mind- a case of innovation that was way ahead of it's time?
Blogger Paperbag Boy 3/25/2008 12:53 AM  
you've also got to think about the fact that most people here in Japan will use their keitai (cellphones) almost more often than a real computer
entering a URL in a cellphone is a pain, searching for a keyword is easier, so people are more used to do ing this than using URLs
Blogger w00kie 3/25/2008 1:59 AM  
Benjamin is totally right. I don't think us web geeks have any idea of the heinous crimes that the average user is committing out there.

I've given up with my non-geeky family and friends when I'm doing phone tech support and asking them to go to a website.
"Type into the address bar"
"OK which one do I click on"
"How do you mean? You should be seeing a green and blue page"
"No I've got a list on a white page"
"Did you type it into Google or the address bar"
"In the Google box"
" on the second one in the list..."

Google is the internet, right?!

The irony is that even if you put a URL on an ad, I bet the majority of users will enter it in Google. At least you stand a better chance of having your site near the top of the results.
Blogger Martin 3/25/2008 2:13 AM  
My wife uses the web exactly this way - even though she's highly computer literate and has better memory recall than me. I've pointed out the substantial extra work she's making the net do by typing 'facebook' or 'hotmail' in to the search box instead of entering the address by hand, but it doesn't seem to matter!
Anonymous Anonymous 3/25/2008 2:22 AM  
It's funny that it takes a trip overseas to realize how ethno-centric the Internet's technical structure is. What the Japanese are doing is pretty much what Americans would be doing if the Internet were invented by Japanese and Apple's website (for example) was アップル・会社 instead of

The other alternative to posting complicated Roman-letter URLs is to post Q-codes on advertisements. These 2D barcodes, which are everywhere encode web addresses and other information. You simply take a photo of the code with your cell phone, and the data is converted accordingly. A code posted on a bus stop might bring up a link to a mobile bus schedule, for example.
Blogger Paul D. 3/25/2008 2:25 AM  
Sorry, they're called "QR-codes", pardon the typo. Blogger's comment system isn't advanced enough to allow comment editing. (*cough*, Google)
Blogger Paul D. 3/25/2008 2:29 AM  
My favorite tidbit is that all the arrow cursors are Mac (Windows is inverted color-wise, white w/a black border). It's kind of like spotting ADB2 mice in ads here in the States--they're everywhere. It's like the platonic ideal of a mouse.
Blogger Aaron Davies 3/25/2008 5:05 AM  
Japan FTW! Can't wait to get back there. Any place that has AUD$2 Asahi 500ml cans in vending machines on every street corner is ok by me! The strange green frog's holding soccer balls that were bins were just a bonus. Oh, and the food... Insane.

I did read the blog post too :) Interesting about the search box thing. Is there any advantage to the company to have kajillions of people searching for your company name? Maybe that will increase your pagerank?
Blogger marc.edwards 3/25/2008 5:34 AM  
Pontiac does this in their tv ads. "Google 'pontiac' to find out more."
Blogger Jonathan 3/25/2008 6:06 AM  
I second what Paul D. said, I think the initial inspiration for this was just working around roman characters in urls...
Blogger YoYoYo 3/25/2008 6:21 AM  
I agree with w00kie. It is more about keitai usage than about romanization, at least in Japan. While I think it is ridiculous that they haven't sorted out non-roman urls yet, Japanese people aren't really afraid of roman letters at all. But entering in addresses is slow and painful on a keitai.
Blogger Tarun 3/25/2008 7:38 AM  
In addition to the comments about optimization for one-handed kanji input on cell phones, another factor is that these companies advertise on Yahoo, and I'm pretty sure Yahoo sees to it that the searches produce the desired results by intercepting certain keywords prior to sending them through to their automated algorithm.

And yes, it's Yahoo, not Google -- only gaijin and otaku use Google in Japan. Yahoo has it together here in search, and they own auctions, train schedule searches and many other popular verticals.
Anonymous Anonymous 3/25/2008 8:45 AM  
Funny, I also started noticing this trend last year...

My guess is not that it has much to do with "all good domain names" being gone (especially if you go with unicode domains or romanization of japanese words, there are a surprising number of common words still available), but everything to do with URLs never having made all that much to the general public.
It's still easier here to tell people "look up this word in Yahoo" (better yet, show it with a little pictogram, as all ads seem to do nowadays), than telling them to "type http://www.blablabla"... Culture of the 'dubby dubby dubby dot' never made it to Japan.

It also reminds me that this very poorly thought-of marketing strategy gave me some great ideas for "SEO" cum extortion businesses (just on the right side of legal). Considering how internet-savvy most Japanese companies are, I reckon it wouldn't take all that much to google-steal (or yahoo-steal) their favourite word (be it a common noun or their own company name)... To be then resold at high price when they realize all those costly subway ads are worthless if they don't own the matching search keyword... :-D

Nefarious, I know... (who's in?)
Anonymous Dave 3/25/2008 10:41 AM  
I have seen this in the US too.

And the thing about people using google to get to sites everytime they visit, that is very true too.

Some people just absolutely don't understand how it works.

It is like people calling Netscape Navigator the internet, or assuming Internet Explorer is the only way to get online.
Blogger OwlBoy 3/25/2008 12:09 PM  
The Firefox address bar does an I'm feeling lucky if it's confident, or resorts back to search results, why would anyone bother remembering a whole URL?

With FF3 it's even better, because as you type in the address bar it searches the titles of previous pages as well.

The ideal situation is not having to visit a third party website at all but to have all information served in the same format (Google, RSS, whatever), or at worst be taken straight to the pages you're looking for - I hate trying to work out a new navigation just to find one thing!
Anonymous Anonymous 3/25/2008 1:02 PM  
could this be done in the USA? Wouldn't search spammers and/or "optimizers" ruin this within seconds?

To my mind, the more interesting question is "why haven't those same search spammers ruined it in Japan?" It's not like Japan has a different Internet, innocent of such lowlife.
Blogger Adam Rice 3/25/2008 1:39 PM  
I'll echo the comments regarding the differing character sets. My girlfriend is Japanese she has to switch between the US and Hiragana keyboards just to type in a url. What a pain.
Blogger Robb 3/25/2008 1:48 PM  
You know, I used to always forget that Boing Boing was .net instead of .com, and rather than memorizing the tedious .net, I got into the habit of running a google search for boing boing. And it led me to this great article. Web2.0 strikes again.
Blogger Matt Mitchell 3/25/2008 1:55 PM  
I'd like to add that Apple prints their manuals like this now, indicating with a Spotlight loupe a search term where the user can find more resources.

This allows for bundling multiple resources under one tag or term, which sends the user exploring, rather than stuck with one document in a dead end.

Also, the japanese strategy builds on trust, the companies are confident to show up tops in search engines, and anything that ranks high in Google has to be good, right?
Blogger Arjun Muralidharan 3/25/2008 2:16 PM  
With regards to your mockup of how Safari might look in the future; when I was still using Firefox/Windows as my platform, I had this behaviour setup with a single textbox. By removing the default behaviour Firefox gives of directing you to Google's first result for terms entered into the URL bar and replacing it with the actual search results, you can do away with the need for a dedicated search textbox and use one field for both.

Safari is a bit annoying in that free text will just try to add .com to whatever you typed, which I don't think is nearly as useful.
Anonymous kapowaz 3/25/2008 2:26 PM  
Ohhhhh Printed Ads.... duh! Now I get it! Cool!
Anonymous Anonymous 3/25/2008 2:31 PM  
One reason why this is done is because of the relative infrequency of japanese words searched by google. try googling for "gaba" ( an english school ). Its english recruiting site appears at #5, but its main site isnt even on the front page. But if you google for the katakana version ガバ , you get it at #1.

Despite having tons of blogs, japan still has relatively less content on the web than the english speaking world (due mainly to the strength of the publishing industry who see the web as the great satan). Not a single japanese newspaper has a content-rich online version, for example. As this slowly changes, this practice may be forced to change too. But it will be around for a while at least.
Anonymous Anonymous 3/25/2008 3:03 PM  
One could argue that URLs were never in in the first place, in Japan.
Have you seen the averahe URL there? Usually at least two dots before you can hope to type, and then subdirectories galore!
Anonymous Michel Valdrighi 3/25/2008 3:35 PM  
Enter keyword "America Online" to learn more!
Anonymous Ed C. 3/25/2008 3:39 PM  
Enter keyword "America Online" to learn more!
Anonymous Ed C. 3/25/2008 3:39 PM  
It's the same in Taiwan as well. Most people I know in Asia at least no longer enter URL's but search terms - even terms like 'gmail' and 'yahoo'.
Blogger kelake 3/25/2008 3:44 PM  
i do not think this will be the de facto standard. web browsers' URL entry section is becoming more flexible, i.e. you type amazon, it goes to amazon

there are firefox extensions that fix simple url errors.

i am betting on a more flexible URL entry section that sends you to the most popular site based on what you typed - but not an actual search
Blogger Chris 3/25/2008 4:15 PM  
These searches often target mobile users who will most likely use their carries (AU, Docomo, Softbank) default search engine so the results can be tested well before any campaign.
Anonymous Kyle Barrow 3/25/2008 5:27 PM  
You are quite the 'noticer', Mr Sasser - I gave up on URLs and just use words in searches - sometimes I run across unusual websites by accident, your specialty, I seem to remember?
Blogger Vanwall 3/25/2008 8:55 PM  
I've seen this recently (twice, actually) in the US, both times in car commercials. I can't remember which badges (maybe Honda?) nor can I find examples online. Each time they specify the search engine (on screen and in the voice-over), which leads me to believe they correlate to paid search engine placements or "optimizations".
Blogger Chris 3/25/2008 9:40 PM  
Not sure if this is a new trend but I have noticed a significant number of visitors coming to one of my sites from Google, MSN, Yahoo etc. searching for only the name of the company (workpost) and the url minus the http://www part (

My guess is that this has been going on for a while, it's not really a new trend but that as more new Internet users come online (huge portions of the population still do not access the Internet on the regular basis), dependence on search and the leading search providers will steadily increase over time.
Anonymous workpost 3/25/2008 9:58 PM  
No more printed URL's.
URL's what?

Google "quick guide apostrophe" for more!
Anonymous Sean O 3/25/2008 10:06 PM  
A similar thing has happened to my dock. The usual suspects are there (photoshop, illustrator, bridge, firefox, etc.) but a few notable exclusions should be noted; Transmit for one, flash... I use it at home alot but not at work.

Spotlight has changed the way I access apps. Command+space + part of the name + command+enter seems like a lot when I type it out, but somehow it is easy.
Blogger David 3/25/2008 10:54 PM  
like compuserve keywords circa 1985?
i'm sure it would work again on a distributed architecture
OpenID thomas 3/26/2008 1:22 AM  
i think RealNames was just ahead of its time - and Yahoo killed it. it'll be back.
Blogger Peter 3/26/2008 3:10 AM  
It seems like once you're sure that you have the top ranking for a certain phrase, putting it in an ad is going to do nothing but strengthen your position in that search result. If people keep coming in to a particular search result, and immediately clicking that top link (aka your link), whatever search engine they're using is going to notice the combo of that search term + the link they clicked on, and add more positive ranking points to your link for those terms. Once you're at the top, it seems like it would just be a self-fulfilling prophecy, unless someone else went nuts, and tried really really hard to bat you down.

Someone would have to do a completely deliberate attack ad targeted at your search result to try and get people to change that behavior, and I wonder if it would be worth it. I mean, really... "Interested in the Honda Accord? Google for 'Toyota Camary.' Honda." Really? And trying to google bomb, or whatever, a phrase like "Toyota Camary" or "iPhone" or something would be a damn formidable task.

The only thing I could see truly fucking this in Japan would be a massive rise of Wikipedia popularity there. Generally, Wikipedia is the one thing that frequently subverts searches for something huge like "Cherry Coke." If Wikipedia didn't exist, an "I'm Feeling Lucky" search for "Cherry Coke" would take you to, but since Wikipedia does, in fact, exist, you are instead taken to the "Coca-Cola Cherry" Wiki writeup.
Anonymous Jake 3/26/2008 3:13 AM  
Seems dumb if you have a decent URL. I can't see how putting another step between your customers and your site is a good idea.
Anonymous Todd 3/26/2008 3:49 AM  
Seen this in the UK too - the government have started a campaign called 'Act on CO2' to encourage people to cut down on the carbon emissions. On their TV adverts, rather than saying "Visit double-yoo double-yoo double-yoo dot dee eff tee dot gov dot yoo-kay forward-slash act on see-oh-too", they just say "Search online for 'act on co2'", which is fortunately still the first result.
Blogger totalxsive 3/26/2008 4:02 AM  
I see it a lot in Israel as well, not in ads yet, but with people who want to point you to their site "Go to Google and enter XYZ" where XYZ is a word in Hebrew. And I think this is what we have in common with Japan. We don't use the Latin alphabet, so it is harder to ask people to remember a URL.
OpenID ravidor 3/26/2008 4:05 AM  
Hi, didn't movie advertisers used to do the same thing? Before companies started getting domain names for movies, I remember they used to advertise via AOL keywords.
Blogger Ray Anthony 3/26/2008 4:08 AM  
yes, people are using the "google myKeyword" phrase in their advertising - and it works. great. next.

the problem occurs when you do _not_ own that google'd phrase. in that case, you can do one of several things:
1) use a realnames-like service instead of google,
2) get yourself to the top of google's search results somehow, either by yourself or by paying someone,
3) buy adwords in case you don't show up first,
4) etc.

#1 is the renewed entrepreneur opp.
Blogger Peter 3/26/2008 4:17 AM  
See, I consistently have the opposite problem. I'm mostly work with folks who are just knowledgeable enough to be dangerous. So whenever I'm talking to someone about a clever app I just found that solves their problem, they want to know the address. "Oh, just Google it." I say. They look at me like a crazy person and I end up having to find a napkin to write down a URL.
Blogger Grover Saunders 3/26/2008 4:22 AM  
I typed "cabel name" in my URL bar to get to this site. ;p
OpenID m-nestor 3/26/2008 4:42 AM  
Love the pictures - interesting move - I believe the move will still be to QR codes because of their ability to remove the need for recall and helps to keep brands top of mind later in the day.
Anonymous allen 3/26/2008 4:44 AM  
Yes, to reduce recall, instead of adding a picture of a search engine and terms and being even more cluttered, iconic QR codes for bookmarking would be much simpler.
OpenID m-nestor 3/26/2008 5:09 AM  
The US car company Pontiac has been doing this for a while: "Google 'Pontiac' to find out more!" has been at the tag of their commercials for a year or so now.
Anonymous Anonymous 3/26/2008 5:49 AM  
from left to right
nr. 1 (バケーションパッケージ) means Holiday Package

nr. 2. axa - life insurance

the third one (転職支援もアデコ) means... "help with changing the job + adecco)

DODA is a brand i suspect

Hajime Jou (Let's start!) (not the serach team, the green line)

BANQUIC or Bank Ikku (Lets go to the bank) or something like this

the last one
celebration after u changed the job

nice seraches
Blogger aboutACAP2.0 3/26/2008 6:17 AM  
Do a search for "Santorum".

Caution: the first link may not be work safe.

Rick Santorum was a US Senator who held very aggressive anti-gay positions and people fought back using Google.

There was also "Miserable Failure" as a search term that ended up leading to George Bush's bio page on the White House site.

Google bombing is old hat.
Anonymous Kevin 3/26/2008 8:25 AM  
Do you have a better image of the 'AXA' ad, be interesting to see the ad in full, see how they integrate the search bar.
Anonymous Anonymous 3/26/2008 8:41 AM  
Homer Simpson, picking up the phone: "Operator! Get me the number for '911'!"

Scott Pilgrim, on finding out that the cute girl he saw at a party in Toronto works as a delivery courier for "Hey,, that's the online bookstore or whatever, right? ... What's the website for that?"

But seriously: This is an example of Zooko's Triangle, which basically says "names cannot be global, securely unique, and memorable, all at the same time". URLs are global and unique, but not memorable, especially not in Japan; search terms are global and memorable, but not unique. Marc Stiegler, on that page, predicted this:

"A good example of a nickname management system is Google. Type in a name, and Google will return a list that includes all the entities Google knows, to which the name refers. Google makes a mapping between these nicknames and their keys (if we think of the url of a page as a trusted-path-style key, which will be discussed later). Often enough to be interesting, the first item in the list will be the one you wanted. But it fails often enough, and endless pages of other choices appear often enough, to never leave us in doubt that these identifiers are not unique mappings to single keys. As is already true in the current world, in a world filled with petname systems, a key goal of marketing would be to get your nickname listed at the top of the Google rankings for that nickname. "

I wrote more about the implications of this for identity, in my blog post FaceBook And Decentralized Identifiers".
Blogger sneJ 3/26/2008 9:02 AM  
Honestly, this trend kinda scares me. On a Colorado, USA campus, I've seen students in the labs go to just to type in "yahoo" to get to their email.

No joke.
Blogger David Chartier 3/26/2008 11:24 AM  
Just after reading your article, I noticed that my ISP integrated something call "Nativ Language Internet Address" (NLIA) where advertisers can register a keyword. When a user key in the keyword on address bar and the ISP will redirect the user to the specified website.

Blogger LcF 3/26/2008 12:43 PM  
A big reason search boxes have replaced printed URLs is they're a surrogate for Japanese-language URLs, which never did materialize. In other words, you can type Japanese text into a search box and get relevant results now that even English-language search pages like Google English are much better at handling Japanese and other two-byte languages.
Blogger Mellow Monk 3/26/2008 1:04 PM  
I created to serve exactly this purpose: replace URLs with easy to remember, easy to pronounce, easy to spell UNIQUE keywords. Perhaps I should hook up with someone in Japan to create a Japanese version of telldodo. Let me know if you have an interest in developing this idea...
Blogger Vega 3/26/2008 1:52 PM  
As astute associate recently told me "the Webpage (URL) is dead!" Now I know what he is talking about: we can navigate from page to page using keywords only. Inputting a URL into the browswer's box is tedious since you need to get URL spelling and extension correct. By entering the name or keyword into a search box, we let Google or Yahoo help us find what we are looking for efficiently. It's also pretty difficult to remember Japanese URLs since the actual URL advertised rarely matches the brand of the ad! This method of URL advertising could be born from the fundamental lack of corporate digital branding by Japanese companies in general.
Anonymous StrategyCore 3/26/2008 2:25 PM  
As we experienced typo error sometimes when typing the domain name, or instead of typing "com" we spelt it as "cxx", it was annoying when you saw the message of "The page cannot be displayed". Sometime when we saw printed ads on public transport, since it move so fast, it is good that we just only need to remember the keyword. I like it :)
Anonymous Anonymous 3/26/2008 7:02 PM  
In Australia, the TV network Channel Seven and Yahoo operate a combined portal -, and as such direct users to search for specific terms on yahoo7, and then alters the search results to put that result at the top in a 'Yahoo Shortcut'
Anonymous Bryce 3/26/2008 11:44 PM  
This article is a fascinating but i must say that I'm not surprised to learn the people use a search rather than enter a URL.

I expect that because many URL's are longer or less obvious than the search term it may be that people are simply more comfortable using words that are familiar rather than a URL which can seem like a foreign language.

Then of course there's also the issue of typing confidence and, it might be wise to remember that not everyone out there is good with a keyboard.
Blogger About this site 3/27/2008 9:17 AM  
Here's something I wrote about this. Basically, the places that these ads appear is inside trains. If you've ridden a Japanese train, you'll have noticed the huge number of people typing away on their keitai (cell phones). They're writing mails and surfing mobile sites. Typing in a long string of text is tough, but typing in 2 Kanji (Japanese characters) is really quick. On my AU keitai, the first thing I see on the homepage is a search box.

Here's the link:
Anonymous nevan 3/27/2008 9:50 PM  
Anonymous nevan 3/27/2008 9:52 PM  
Is this somehow related to thier letters?
I also type in urls into the seach input field.
Anonymous Robert 3/28/2008 11:28 AM  
That seems completely logical. Not that URL's are dead, but finding desired content is getting harder... so that makes a whole lot of sense.
Blogger Merc 3/29/2008 11:41 PM  
I guess it's all about getting people to be more conscious or make the link later when they're in front of their computers.
Anonymous Galen- Lucid Directory 3/30/2008 1:27 AM  
I guess it's all about getting people to be more conscious or make the link later when they're in front of their computers.
Anonymous Galen- Lucid Directory 3/30/2008 1:28 AM  
Enough about URLs vs. search, ethnocentrism, etc. What about the comedy tour? Don't cancel it. I'd just finished drafting an internal doc. on data security and that Gutmann-style, 35-pass bit was the highlight of the post.

Wake up people, that was geek comedy gold!
OpenID coty 3/30/2008 10:44 AM  
i know I'm one of those people who operates almost solely in that little google field to the right of my address bar. Actually, I'm even lazier than most of you: Sometimes I won't even type the full title, but just "faceb" or "engad" or "JG Ballard wiki". Facebook and Engadget and the Wikipedia article on JG Ballard are still the top results respectively.
Blogger MMMm 3/30/2008 10:15 PM  
Traveling is one of my favorite ways to find new ideas. The more foreign the more interesting.

Chris -
Anonymous Chris Sherrod 3/31/2008 3:07 PM  
A friend of mine just landed yesterday in London, from Tokyo where he lives and works.

He was explaining me about the QR-codes. It look interesting.
I saw them in use on the italian snail-mail and on a website that printed QR-Codes on shirts to let other people add you as a friend on facebook... insane :-)

Anyway the (bad) habit of searching everything on google is widespread.
I often observed clients search THEIR OWN site on google to visit it...
Anonymous emilio 4/01/2008 5:50 AM  
ahem... even the designer sitting next to me (we both work for an online publishing company) does the same... oh my... :)
Anonymous emilio 4/01/2008 7:59 AM  
This has been happening in America for a while too. Pontiac was doing this years ago (they even specifically said to "Google Pontiac"), and now Special K is doing the same thing. I'm sure there's plenty of others as well.

Of course, this just raises the stakes higher for google-bombing and pagerank spammers.
Blogger fluffy 4/01/2008 11:18 PM  
As someone that lives in Japan I can say they use both printed urls and this type of search box. Maybe it is considered to look hip or interactive. Maybe it points to search engine results that they knwo they will be #1 and 2 for and all the rest will be positive. It also looks more trusted then as you are looking at a third site(Google) and they are top. Like a badge of approval. Besides Japanese are much less likely to make a negative post or site like I have never seen anything like that in Japan.
Anonymous DS 4/02/2008 4:41 AM  
Along this vein is an add-on called Inquisitor (link at end of post). It takes Safari's Google Search field and turns it into more of a metadata search field instead (if you will). As best as I can tell it performs its own google search for the term you have in the box, and then pops up a list of likely top hits. Generally it is quite accurate. I go up there and type 'panic software', press the down arrow once, and press enter. I'm at Panic's site. Now isn't exactly hard to type out... but what about typing 'transmit 3 support' down arrow, hit enter... there I am. It removes the user from having to seal with the intermediate google search results page, essentially.

The internet and the home computer are seeing a similar approach as of this time it seems. Location of files on the desktop, or URLs on the internet, are becoming less important than the metadata that describes them. Perhaps soon you will search more than you browse...
Blogger Julien 4/12/2008 1:19 PM  
On another note...can you please, please, PLEASE tell tell me how your friend got rid of the flying jitters?

I am in the same place and it is truly a pain in the a**.

Thanks. :)
Anonymous leslie 4/24/2008 11:47 AM  
See's definition of "URL" (others are similar).

You may note that the examples of what might get typed into a search engine would tend to be the "most general" elements: primarily TLD & SLD (e.g. "pontiac" [SLD]) -- in other words the domain is among the most heavily weighted strings to match for all "one-size fits-all" search engines [not just Google.COM]) -- this is nothing new!

This is why I often have referred to "one-size fits-all" search engines as the "white pages" of the internet -- it's usually a simple "name" lookup (if it were about "information", then the top result on a search for the term "amazon" would have to do with the Amazon river; but instead the top result is simply the domain name [amazon] -- and/but also note that many "one-size fits-all" search engines function as indexes to their respective TLD [e.g. whereas google.COM will tend to return amazon.COM, google.DE will tend to return amazon.DE]).
Anonymous nmw 4/29/2008 2:51 AM  
Wow, this validates what we have beeen thinking for a long time now. Now we use this information to improve our product. We owe you.Thanks for a fascinating blogpost.

Masood Nasser
Blogger Masood Nasser 5/06/2008 5:59 AM  
[...]This is why I often have referred to "one-size fits-all" search engines as the "white pages" of the internet -- it's usually a simple "name" lookup (if it were about "information", then the top result on a search for the term "amazon" would have to do with the Amazon river;[...]
Anonymous Anonymous 6/24/2008 8:53 PM  
Anonymous çiçek 7/06/2008 11:05 AM  
Wow Japanese graphic design is pretty sweet!

The search thing is almost an SEO statement of prowess - ie "we own the words"!
Anonymous Web3Graphics 8/06/2008 4:06 PM  
The odd thing is, this post is only the second result for a google search for "burlap thins" No, the first is not Nabisco.
Anonymous limeduck 8/13/2008 2:19 PM  
i love japan. i love the way they handle things.
Anonymous 4/07/2009 12:04 AM  
That is so right like you mentioned about people typing in gmail, and then just clicking on the search result without even thinking about it. I have caught myself doing that numerous times as well, habits are strange things! And I vote that you do your comedy tour hehehehe!
Anonymous Albert Nel 9/17/2009 4:40 AM  
Like my good friend Albert said we are creature of habits and we all do it. Hell I can not stop myself now. I also pass my vote on the tour. Wooop Woop
Anonymous bloggers payback 9/21/2009 5:50 PM  
Getting people to a specific page in a big site is not mostly that difficult, dont forget that sometimes people are making an effort to do things. We are not always lazy..Lol..
Anonymous Bloggers Payback 9/23/2009 7:41 PM  
I guess that many advertisers now will start putting their thought into our heads. Wow, suggestive marketing will be the future...that is really scary, because from now and on we will buy what they want us to buy...are we going to be immune to that brainwashing?
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Name:Cabel Maxfield Sasser
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