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Monday, November 22, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
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Google rivals in abundance at office debut

By CompiledTimes technology Staff

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Google opened its new Kirkland office to visitors Thursday, and most of the 200 attendees were Microsoft and employees — or so it seemed.

As Microsoftie blogger Robert Scoble wrote afterward on his site, "Microsoft and Amazon threw a party at Google's new Kirkland offices tonight."

On the lobby wall, a projector showed a scrolling sample of live Google searches — filtered to remove objectionable words. Attendees entered a drawing to win an Apple iPod and left with a gift bag containing a Google T-shirt.

Google employees gushed about the perks offered at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., including an in-house barber and physician, more than a dozen massage therapists and dry-cleaning pickup. There's also free lunch and dinner, prepared with organic ingredients. Recently, it began offering its workers commuter service between Mountain View and San Francisco using shuttles with wireless Internet access.

The Kirkland office doesn't have all of those benefits, but it can offer pingpong and foosball tables, a movie room with a projection TV, refrigerators stocked with Red Bull and other beverages, tubs of snacks and top-of-the-line espresso and coffee machines.

Back at ya

Verizon Wireless wasn't happy about being displaced as the largest U.S. wireless carrier after the merger between Cingular Wireless and Redmond-based AT&T Wireless. And it showed.

Wired banking

Projections are 31.5 million households will engage in online banking this year.

Source: eMarketer

After the merger, Verizon Wireless rolled out an ad campaign in the Northeast targeting AT&T Wireless subscribers. The ad said: "Attention AT&T Wireless Customers: As long as your wireless carrier is changing, why not change to the best?"

Last week, according to The New York Times, Cingular fought back with an ad appearing in the same region asking consumers to "just look at the facts," accompanied by a list of six claims followed with a checklist.

America's largest network? Cingular "yes," Verizon, "no."

The nation's largest high-speed data network? Cingular "yes," Verizon, "no."

And so on down the list. Touché, Cingular.

RealNames returns

RealNames is back. The Silicon Valley company gained fame in the dot-com boom by promoting a way to find Web sites online by typing keywords into browsers instead of long URL addresses (for example, typing Starbucks into a browser would have called up the coffee company's home page).

But that business model required heavy reliance on Microsoft's cooperation. RealNames closed in 2002 after Microsoft decided not to renew a two-year partnership between the two companies.

Former RealNames CEO Keith Teare wrote on his blog last week that he has reacquired the RealNames domain name,, and has built a new search engine for it. There are still billions of opportunities to sell Internet keywords across the world's languages, he wrote.

Gun for hire

A San Antonio company called received plenty of attention recently after saying it could soon offer people a chance to hunt animals over the Internet.

According to Reuters, the site's creator spent $10,000 to build a platform with a rifle and a camera attached that could be controlled over the Internet by anyone.

According to Live-Shot's Web site, customers can control the shooting system to fire .22-caliber rounds at paper and silhouette targets, but not at live animals yet.

The shooting station will be manned to answer questions over instant messaging and override the system, if necessary, to prevent a dangerous discharge from occurring.

We can see the instant messages already: "OMG Y CANT I HIT ANYTHNG?!?!?"

On the record

New business: Seattle-based ThePlatform announced that its media-publishing system recently began powering the Web site of The Wall Street Journal.

Download can be reached at 206-464-2265 or

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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