free html hit counter February 2004 - John Battelle's Search Blog
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Page on IPO at TED

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bigipoI’ve been traveling, so forgive my tardiness on some postings. I’m briefly in NYC for a day or so of the SES show, and also some other meetings.

Meantime, some good stuff here and there. First, Larry Page has some comments on the Google IPO craze in a Reuters story here.

The story was filed from the TED show in Monterey, one of the few places reporters can get access to folks like Larry in a relatively relaxed environment.

(Page said) he was “dismayed” by the amount of conjecture being reported as fact.

“We’ve made no statements about an IPO,” said Page, who along with Sergei Brin founded Google in 1998. (Note: Not really true. At the SES show last August Sergey in fact admitted the IPO would most likley happen at some point in the future…)

“I have been a bit dismayed at the level of speculation that has been reported as fact. It’s pretty amazing the stage we’re at… Even when we don’t do anything in some area, people make stuff up,” Page told Reuters at a technology conference in Monterey, California.

Page also pointed toward new applications for Google’s service:

“On the more exciting front, you can imagine your brain being augmented by Google. For example you think about something and your cellphone could whisper the answer into your ear,” he said.

Eric S. on Orkut TOS et al

By - February 28, 2004

Eric S. gave a talk at Berkeley yesterday, and Geodog has posted coverage. Observations on Orkut TOS, power use, forcing Google execs offline, the IPO (“we don’t feel forced to do it” or somesuch) and more.

Research Asst.

By - February 27, 2004

I’m in need of a research assistant for my book. Lots of reporting, organizing, mind melding, and probably some dull work too. I’m interviewing grad students from UCB, where I work, but I thought I’d hang it out here as well, given what an interesting group this readership has proven to be. Some of you might know someone who’d be perfect, or, some of you lurkers out there might be perfect yourself. Ideally the right person is based in the Bay Area, practically, it’s someone who is looking for experience, rather than a huge paycheck. Send recommendations my way at jbat at Thanks!

WebFountain, Technorati Visits

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Spent the day talking to two very interesting companies, one huge with massive scale, the other tiny, with massive scale. I’ll post a report on both soon, watch this space.

And Your Point Is?

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nytlogoleft_article.gifA soft-shouldered editorial in the NYT today from Verlyn Klinkenborg, an author who is also on the editorial board of the New York Times, and writes the occasional “editorial observer” column for the paper. As I was recently reminded by a good friend, it’s wise to step back and remember who the audience is for these kinds of things, as opposed to jumping all over the Times every chance that comes up. So, having done that, I still don’t quite get what this editorial adds…in the end, it says that Google is really important and that it won’t go away, and summarizes all the things Times readers already know about the company. He concludes that the Internet is, contrary to what he thought some years ago, quite useful, in large part thanks to Google. Well, welcome to the party, Verlyn. Glad you’re aboard.

Yahoo Says Yes, Google Said No….

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With regard to my earlier post on Oceana, cruise ships, CBS, advocacy ads, and Google…seems Yahoo has accepted Oceana’s advertising, the same ads (I think) Google rejected.

Oceana (an environmental group for readers just joining us), crows in a release:

Oceana’s Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Sharpless, praised Yahoo! for not bowing to pressure from big corporate advertisers and allowing Oceana to express its positive message of preserving and protecting the world’s oceans.

“Yahoo should be applauded for having the courage to put freedom of expression before sales. If Royal Caribbean and the cruise industry can pay to publicize themselves in whichever venue they please, then we deserve to be able to show the facts about their environmental records. The public has a right to this information, and, much to its credit, Yahoo recognizes that,” said Sharpless.

I wonder if Yahoo even knows it’s “taking a stand”?

Why Stern Matters

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I’ve been thinking lately that blogs could learn a lot from talk radio. I’d not gotten to the point of really looking into this idea, which I am sure has been discussed in the blogosphere to no end. But the whole Stern thing seems to throw it in some relief. Dan and Jeff have made the point, and I agree, if Howard Stern leaves Viacom, he should go to satellite/net radio, and that’d be the killer app those media need to take off.

(BTW it’s interesting to note how attenuated regulatory reach has become, in that it’s really only premised on the “public airwaves.” I’m not anti-regulation, but it seems to me we should trust people to make their own decisions about what information they want to consume. Banning Stern and others from the “public” airwaves does very little, in the end, save create “private” channels outside of regulatory (and therefore common cultural) reach. In other words, by forcing our citizens to make choices outside of our attenuated cultural commons, by refusing to be inclusive in what we allow into the public space, we are weakening our social fabric, driving conversation underground, and lessening the trust and responsibility which binds us as a society. Is that a good thing?)

Notwithstanding the larger regulatory questions, Stern leaving radio and heading for the Net could be a great thing – for the Net, in any case (it’s also quite unlikely, but…). If he did, it would create all sorts of interesting issues from the standpoint of programming and UI. The program is predicated on real-time community – the call ins, the references to breaking news, etc. When it heads to the internet, it will, I would hope, be wrapped in all sorts of new media forms – time shifted, cut and pasted, linked, etc. The show will change, for sure, and many, many new shows will thrive in the traces Stern would create. If Stern does do this, I hope he and his folks think it through. They shouldn’t adopt a Clear Channel/Viacom/Comcast-like approach to the Web, but instead try to do something that feels native. Stern has a chance to be an innovator in a new medium. He already has plenty of money. Why not try this?

Though I don’t listen to Stern much, I’ll warrant I’d listen to a lot more if it were on the web, and searchable. Some of his bits are amazing, many are lame, and some are really offensive. But it’d be great to pick and choose, like we do with blog items, news reports, and most other media on the web. Stern being Stern, he’d also figure out how to make money on the show, which is not a bad thing for web media models to boot.

In any case, it’ll be fun to watch what happens next. My guess is that nothing happens, he gets a slap on the wrist, everyone promises to play nice, and nothing changes till the next election cycle. But you never know.