free html hit counter July 2004 - Page 4 of 4 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Google Acquires Picasa, Now I Can Say It…

By - July 13, 2004

picasaI’ve been waiting for an excuse to claim that Google was going to compete with Ofoto and everyone else in the photo handling biz, after all, it’s one of the more intractable information/search problems we have, and it requires a massively scaled platform with sh*tloads of storage. Sound familiar? So today AP reports that Google purchased Picasa, which was Blogger’s photo uploading partner. By the way, it’s also an IdeaLab company, and IdeaLab is where Overture was born….so Bill Gross now has a bit of Google stock!

So now let me state the obvious: Google will compete in the photo management/storage/search/untangle-the-shoebox market. And by extension, let me state the not so obvious: I think travel is next.

Press release in extended entry below.

Tip o’ the Hat: Andy.

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Why The Archive Matters

By - July 12, 2004

pipeThose of you who know me well are familiar with my fascination with all things archival, especially as it relates to the archaeology of the web. I am quite sure that in my golden years I will retire to a pith helmet and meerschaum pipe, evolving into a full time armchair anthropologist of the PastWeb. Interesting case in point comes to us from TechDirt, which reports on a LawMeme post about a run of the mill business lawsuit. The twist? The plaintiff “tried to amend its complaint to accuse on of the defendant’s lawyers of hacking (Bewster’s Internet Archive).” Seems there was incriminating stuff on past versions of a site in question, stuff the plaintiffs did not want preserved through the eternity of time. The defendants, according to the suit, tried to “hack” to find the lost data. This I love – someone trying to plumb the Eternal to prove a point in the present. Priceless.

PS – Neat new interview with Brewster here. (Thanks Gary.)

July Column: GM (GM!)

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b2_396x73Sure, Searchbloggers may find the CTO of GM something of a stretch for this space and…well…yeah I agree. But I enjoyed meeting Tony Scott and talking about the future of cars. It’s a nice diversion from search … and yes, in fact, we did talk about search, it just didn’t make it into the piece…imagine search+GPS+geolocation+hydrogen cells+0-60 in 3.2 seconds….not quite the Fifth Element, but we’re getting there…

PS – if you want to get seriously carsick, check this out….works best after a bottle of good red…

The CTO in a GTO
Don’t like your car? In the future, says General Motors’s Tony Scott, you’ll just download a new one.

By John Battelle, July 2004 Issue

Tony Scott has a simple message for people who make hardware and software: Listen to your customers or risk losing them. As both carrot and stick, General Motors’s (GM) affable chief technology officer wields an annual IT budget of nearly $3 billion. It’s that kind of spending power that led many to credit Scott with prompting the recent détente between Sun (SUNW) and Microsoft (MSFT).

Some in Silicon Valley fear that the area is turning into the next Detroit. (Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer grew up there and saw the decline firsthand.) But turning into Detroit could be a good thing, Scott argues: Remember that the auto industry pioneered interoperability, industry standards, and — egad — warranties. The two industries are a lot closer to merging than you might think. Software and electronics already account for a third of the cost of the average car, and given GM’s billion-dollar investment in the Hy-wire, a hydrogen-powered concept car (see “GM’s Race to the Future,” October), high-tech and hot rods are only going to become more intimately entwined. How so? Read on.

I hear you’re entirely to blame for making peace between McNealy and Ballmer.

[Laughter] It’s really interesting the way urban legend evolves. We never said, “Sit down and go smoke a peace pipe.” But GM has spoken with a very loud voice to Microsoft and Sun and others about interoperability. We’ve been diligent about making our pain known in that space — it’s very costly to make incompatible technologies work well together.

Can you give me a specific example?

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Huh. I suggest…

By - July 11, 2004

fishchloe…everyone take off at least ten days from blogging at least once a year.
It’s rather interesting to see how your filters shift when you leave the Feed for a while.
Of course, it helps if your hard drive is totally fried at the outset and you lose all your feeds, all your email contacts, your entire ecology of computing/communicating (including all my music…grrrr). Thanks to all who sent me replacement mail and encouragement as I try to rebuild (keep it coming at jbat at battellemedia dot com if you haven’t already!). I did have a nice week in the Sierra, fishing and such with my family, and that is impossible to lose to a faulty hard drive.

I am still in the process of rebuilding. Before the crash, I bought copies of Ecto and Shrook, but I am now back on the 30 day trials, as of course my proof of payment were…in my email files, which are still in terminal limbo. That is quite a story, yet to be resolved. I’m somewhere in Act Two. There is not yet resolution. But I’ve decided to ignore my past life – all 40 gigs of it – and move on. I backed up most of my important writing work – I lost only about two weeks, not bad considering – and I’ll consider it a blessing if Ontrack can fix it. Drivesavers, alas, could not.

Here’s the frustrating part: My data is just fine. No fires, no trucks rolling over my drive, didn’t trip and toss my laptop into a mountain stream. Nothing like that. Just a bad tape between my motherboard and my drive, which shorted out some random part that – I’m told – is very very hard to replace, as it’s rev’d about sixty times a year, and only the rev *I* had in my particular machine can be used to make the drive spin again. Jesus.

Anyway, I’m back, sort of. I missed you all. I’ll be less than prolific, as my next two months will be focused on writing again, but then again, I’ve said that in the past, and then ended up posting every day. Thanks Andy, Gary, Danny, et al, for taking good care of all the Searchbloggers out there while I was gone.

Yahoo's New Search Results Page…

By - July 01, 2004

New Yahoo SERP(Logging in from BookLand with more news…) Yahoo has tweaked its search page….click on the gif at the left for a larger shot…this will fully populate Yahoo’s servers by later this week, I’m told. The main changes: slightly muted colors, slightly cleaner design, and the “Related” searches have been moved and renamed “Also try…” This feature (which is not a new idea, but still, this is Yahoo…) was found to be very valuable but underutilized in its previous form. I think it’s a neat feature, it adds another beat to the search process – rather like the “Did you mean?” approach in spellchecking. It’s based on analysis of logfiles for possibly related searches.

According to the PR folk from whom this tip came, “This tool helps identify what the user intention is when they are searching and provides suggested search query terms to assist the searcher when he/she isn’t exactly sure how to best phrase their query. This illustrates a crucial reason why Yahoo redesigned these pages, to get closer to what the searcher’s intent is, and to provide better search results that are more relevant and comprehensive through enhanced presentation.”

I’m also told that Windows users can see the new interface by clicking on the link above the “web” icon in Yahoo Search. I can’t see it, of course, as I’m a non-conforming Mac Safari guy (and for some odd reason Firefox is crashing on my new machine…)

I note that the PR folks are playing to my weakness for anything in which user intent is seen as currency. Time will tell if they’ve done a good job on relevance and UI….

Update: Yahoo has given me a new URL that shows the new UI:

Iowa Electronic Markets Trades In Google IPO Contracts

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iem_logoIEM has been making interesting markets for years, most notably in Presidential election outcomes. Now they are making a market in Google’s future IPO. There are two such markets, described here and here and quoted in real time here.

The upshot: the market’s only been open for a few days, but it’s already guessing that Google will close on its first day with a market cap of between $25 to $39 billion. That’s the bid/ask spread. I’ve sent email to a couple folks I know to see if they can ascertain any more insights…

Thanks, Tipster Who Will Remain Anonymous!