Peculiar Google Ads, volume threeI'm not sure what set this off, but this carefully selected Google ad promoting natural sponge tampons was gracing our home page earlier this week. Just how sensitive are those Google filters?!

Google Maps also updated its satellite images to include pictures of devastated New Orleans - fascinating and horrifying in equal measure. Search for New Orleans and you'll see the new 'Katrina' button...

• It was announced today that Vint Cerf, grand high overlord of the internet, has joined the Google empire. He now officially has one of the best job titles in the world: Chief Internet Evangelist. It'll be hard work, standing at that pulpit all day.

I have previously speculated that Serg'n'Larry must surely be planning world domination behind that unassuming but ubiquitous home page of theirs.

Remarkably, it seems like that's not ambitious enough. Google's PR on Vint actually says: "This medium will enjoy wider-spread use than television, radio or phones, and will ultimately expand beyond planet Earth."

BBC News Online: a good slapping?

• Pete Clifton, editor of the BBC News website, has been shepherding a recent debate on providing BBC news for overseas web users that don't pay the licence fee.

He says that just 50p from every £126.50 licence fee is spent on BBC News Online. What an absolute bargain! That's the kind of value that makes Sharon Osbourne slap her pocket, or something.

On the possibility of introducing revenue streams for overseas users, Pete says: "I believe this long-established funding of the World Service to provide reliable, impartial, in-depth news to the world, fostering understanding and debate, is something we should be proud of.

"I find the idea of compromising those principles by asking for a subscription from overseas readers extremely uncomfortable. At a stroke we'd be alienating many of those we are striving to reach.

"Advertising on pages accessed abroad has also been whispered in some quarters from time to time, but to my mind any revenue it brought in would be comfortably eclipsed by the damage it did to the BBC's reputation for clear, uncluttered, impartial, ad-free news."

Feedburner's cup spilleth over

• Plenty of interesting nuggets in this Chicago Sun Times piece on Feedburner, the RSS management specialists.

Vice president of business development Rick Klau predicts that RSS use in the US will reach 50 per cent of households by 2007, while chief operating officer Steve Olechowski describes how Feedburner sees RSS as the future for content distribution.

"The biggest win for both publishers and advertisers is exposure to this collection of targeted consumers. Each subscriber is someone who's opted into communications from the publisher - and it's this relationship that provides a tremendous opportunity for advertisers to present targeted information to a publication's subscribers," said Olechowski.

Feedburner has grown from five employees in March to 14 today - and they want more too. Check out the jobs page, complete with the description of their 'casual (some would say, irreverent) work environment'. Nice.

A-noing things...

• Vincent Flood, the freelancer behind the Pope Benedict email address hi-jinx, has branched out into spoofery of überblog Boing Boing.

Check out the enticingly titled 'Noing Noing - A Directory Of A-Noing Things', if you are so inclined...

We are frequently asked by budding journalists and by journalism graduates how to get a break in this industry. Take a leaf out of Vincent's digital book and start your own web cult. If you book them, they will come.

• There's some lively chat promised tomorrow on, a site launched to promote a Danish political thriller called King’s Game. Log on to the discussion section at 3PM if that's your kind of bag.


• So Monday is G-day - the Guardian relaunch. Am I allowed to be excited by the prospect of the new Guardian Egyptian typeface, or is that just a bit too geeky?

An entertaining but occasionally rather bigoted friend of mine enjoys insulting people by calling them 'Guardian readers' in a rather haughty tone. If Alan Rusbridger's Berliner experiment works out, there might even be a few more of those out there.

A friend in advertising at the Mirror asked me: "Who on earth still reads the Guardian?!".

I replied that I actually don't know many people that don't read the Guardian, but then I do live in Brighton...

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