Well, Re-Find (sign up at left) is the weekly summary of what was posted on Searchblog, which may or may not be interesting to you. But it’s also a way for me to know who the hell you guys are. I am stunned, honored, and scared shitless to report that Searchblog has something like 35,000 readers now, and it’s nice to grok a cross section of that readership, if only through the entrails of email addresses. Plus, those who proactively vote by signing up will more likely than not get an invitation to participate in whatever it is I might do next – read chapters of the book before publication, beta test a new site, or come to a conference I’m thinking about. So sign up, if any of that sounds interesting to you. You can always unsubscribe if I get too self serving, pedantic, or hopelessly boring.
I finally got around to reading Simson’s piece in Tech Review. I knew it would be worth the wait, not another me-too package on the IPO but some original reporting and thinking. And I was right. The piece points out that Akamai is in a similar business to Google – the distributed computing business. Then he thinks through the implications. Very Web 2.0, web-as-platform kind of stuff here.
“These numbers are all crazily low,” Farach-Colton continued. “Google always reports much, much lower numbers than are true.” Whenever somebody from Google puts together a new presentation, he explained, the PR department vets the talk and hacks down the numbers. Originally, he said, the slide with the numbers said that 1,000 queries/sec was the “minimum” rate, not the peak. “We have 10,000-plus servers. That’s plus a lot.”…
…It’s (the) ability to build and operate incredibly dense clusters that is as much as anything else the secret of Google’s success….
….There is another company that has perfected the art of running massive numbers of computers with a comparatively tiny staff. That company is Akamai.
….Both companies have developed infrastructure for running massively parallel systems, but the applications that they are running on top of those systems are different. Google’s primary application is a search engine. Akamai, by contrast, has developed a system for delivering Web pages, streaming media, and a variety of other standard Internet protocols.
Another important difference, says Christy, “is that Akamai has had a very hard time creating a clear business model that works, whereas Google has been unbelievably successful.” Akamai has thus started looking for new ways that it can sell services that only a massive distributed network can deliver. Struggling for profitability, the company has been aggressively looking for new opportunities for its technology. This might be the reason that Akamai, unlike Google, was willing to be interviewed for this article…
…Now Akamai is developing techniques for letting customers run their applications directly on the company’s distributed servers….
…Google’s infrastructure seems well-suited to the deployment of a service like Gmail. Last summer Google published a technical paper called The Google File System (GFS), which is apparently the underlying technology developed by Google for allowing high-speed replication and access of data throughout its clusters. With GFS, each user’s e-mail could be replicated between several different Google clusters; when users log into Gmail their Web browser could automatically be directed to the closest cluster that had a copy of their messages.
This is hard technology to get right—and exactly the kind of system that Akamai has been developing for the past six years. In fact, there’s no reason, in principle, why Akamai couldn’t deploy a similar large-scale e-mail system fairly easily on its own servers. No reason, that is, except for the company’s philosophy.
Leighton doesn’t think that Akamai would move into any business that required the company to deal directly with end users…..
Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky has a well done profile of Michael Moritz, one of two VCs to invest in Google back in 1999. (The site is sub only, but I believe you can get the first page if you are not a Fortune subscriber. When, oh when, will Time Inc. realize that blogging is GOOD for them? Maybe when they spin out AOL…)
– Cnet reports on Google’s safe search, which it claims is too restrictive.
– Google rethinks its policy on hate sites (considering labels. I say, let the community label in aggregate..but what do I know).
– Google is apparently expanding its Gmail beta to users of Blogger. (Thanks, Andy)
– More on the grandstanding California Senator who is seeking to legislate Gmail…
…The announcement is linked to the fact that Google will soon be required to disclose publicly more information about its business, under a Securities and Exchange Commission rule triggered after closely held companies surpass a certain size. Google is expected to have to make such disclosures as early as next week. …
..Based on early chatter among bankers, the offering could value Google at as much as $25 billion, and spread nearly $100 million in fees across Wall Street. Last fall, some of Google’s prospective advisers estimated the valuation of the company could be in line with other Internet leaders. Those include Yahoo Inc., valued at $38 billion, Amazon.com Inc. at $20 billion and eBay Inc. at $54 billion….
Well, there’s time. It might happen in the next few days, or next week.
Bizweek does the full package. I’ll read it, and if there’s anything new, I’ll let you know. (The site requires registration.)
Thanks for the tip, Jim.
MSN® reported another profitable quarter on robust revenue growth of 16% over last year driven by continued success in growing its advertising business. MSN advertising revenue increased 43% during the quarter, again showing strength in both traditional online and search-based advertising. Customers and advertisers continue to recognize MSN as a worldwide leader in online services with more than 350 million unique users to the MSN network, over 170 million active MSN Hotmail® unique users, and more than 120 million active MSN Messenger unique users worldwide on a monthly basis.
Q1 revenues are reported as $491 million, compared to $427 million last year, and $559 million last quarter. Recall, however, that last quarter is the holiday season. The company did not break out actual profits for MSN.
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Tickle, the matchmaking/social networking site, announced today a new “people search” feature that lets you find people based on keyword search. The site uses the plethora of data it has on its 18 million registered users to correlate people to search terms. I spoke to CEO James Currier yesterday, and tried out the service a bit to boot. It’s a neat idea, but a bit … odd to see people matched to terms. Take a gander at a search result for “mortgage” for example. And here’s what “lawyer” looks like with “everything” chosen – web, people, and sponsored results.
The search works much better if you are a member, Currier said. The engine will then search for folks based on your search term, then correlate stuff like number of degrees away, similar interests, and even scores on the hundreds of tests Tickle makes available to its members. I can imagine this to be a pretty cool way to find, say, a mechanic or a lawyer, if you’re a member and have a pretty robust social network.
I think this points in interesting directions.
Full release in extended entry….
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…19 year olds can put up an engine with some nifty features. Check out FyberSearch.
This engine allows the user to tweak the keyword density portion of its
relevancy algorithm. I haven’t seen this option from a general web engine,
I like it! You often find this feature from databases like LexisNexis and
Factiva where the searcher can specify how many times a word or phrase
must be mentioned in a document to be considered relevant. Often, the
syntax atleast(x) is used. An advanced interface and image searching are
available. You’ll also notice a link (on search results pages) to
immediately reindex each page. Finally, options to limit your search to
terms in the title, meta tags, and url by simply pointing and clicking.
The default search finds your terms in page titles only. You’ll need to
select “content keywords” to search terms on the page.