Goosh: A retro Web app with cutting-edge interface

New meets old with Goosh, a Web application that gives a command-line interface to several Google services.

If ever something was neither fish nor fowl, it's Goosh, a Web-based command-line interface for Google.

On the one hand, Goosh creator Stefan Grothkopp shows off the power of Web 2.0 applications, with the browser becoming much more than a mere vessel for surfing from one hyperlink to another. People type into the browser window, and Goosh interprets their requests, runs them through Google's services, and displays the result.

With Goosh--short for Google shell--typing "web asparagus" retrieves a textual listing of the top four Google search results for the vegetable. Typing "translate en de cat" returns "Katze." Typing "lucky venerable bede" takes you to the top-ranked search result for the Northumbrian monk and scholar.

On the other hand--it's a command-line interface, for goodness sake!

CLIs are adapted more to the computer's way of thinking than to an average person's. But they continue to thrive with technical folks such as programmers or administrators of Unix and Linux machines. Mac OS X, with Unix underpinnings, has a command line, and Microsoft Windows does, too.

I have a soft spot in my heart for the command line, though my vocabulary is tiny and I'm no great master of piped output. What's potentially more interesting is if, as Mashable suggests, Goosh was endowed with external hooks so it could be usable in instant-messaging or other applications.

I like Goosh, though I have a couple beefs with the beta service. For one thing, it would be nice if there were a blinking cursor after the prompt; I only saw one some of the time. For another, using the "lucky" or "video" command performs some browser slight-of-hand that makes it impossible to go navigate back to Goosh.

Goosh gives a Web-based command-line interface to Google.
Goosh gives a Web-based command-line interface to Google. Goosh

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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