August 1st, 2008

I have an answer for every question!

Thanks to how trivial and simple it is to integrate a search provider into the Firefox or IE7 search box, you can now have all your troublesome questions answered right from your web browser!

I'm not talking about Google. I'm talking about the Magic Eight Answer Engine:
Magic Eight Answer Engine

I stuck an AdSense ad on it, not because I think I will soon be rolling in pennies, but because I think it would be amusing if an advertisement ever offered up something relevant based on a person's query.

Also, I am tracking all the questions. I mean, they would be in server logs anyway along with your IP address, but I'm tracking the questions (and answers) separately in a database. This somehow feels sneakier than the server log, even though data is less personally identifiable. I'm doing it because I'm curious to see if there are any particular questions that come up more frequently than others, e.g. "Does he like me?"

I was thinking of displaying the last 5-10 questions on the page itself, or creating a feed of amusing questions. It turns out, though, not all of the questions are amusing. Someone already asked "is it benign?" which is, frankly, kind of a downer. Also, I would suggest making an appointment to see a physician, rather than relying on my electronic oracle.