free html hit counter November 2004 - John Battelle's Search Blog

$55 a day?

By - November 29, 2004

grossWhen Bill Gross announced his search company, Snap, at Web 2.0, I never imagined the financial juggernaut it would become. Silicon Beat has the dirt.

Gross on Snap’s transparency:

“It’s kind of scary to put that data out there,’ he added. “But it’s liberating at the same time. I think it’s good in the long-term. I think it will be a trend. In every aspect, it’s better to be open.”

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Linden Keeps On Truckin'

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I really like Greg Linden’s blog, he always has something interesting to say about search. So much so, that I sometimes forget he runs an interesting company too, Findory, and that every so often (more like very often, lately) Findory announces cool new features. Like the personalized news and blog search he announced today. Way to go, Greg!

PS – It’s kind of neat to read this site on Findory.

News: Google Motion of Summary Judgment Denied in Geico Case

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Why, oh why do I find trademark stuff interesting? I have no idea – well, actually, I do – commercial speech is fascinating, and it underpins the entire economic base of search. I’ve been following this stuff for a while now, as my long suffering readers know. The two big cases (and there are others) are Geico and American Blinds.

In the Geico case, Google filed for a motion to dismiss in late summer, which was denied in the early fall. The case went to early discovery, and then Google filed a summary judgment, which is something parties to a lawsuit often do when they believe there is no merit to the case.

I haven’t seen any coverage of this part of the case, but this marks another milestone: Last week (Nov. 19th to be exact) the judge denied Google’s request for summary judgment, according to the clerk at the Alexandria, Virginia court where the case resides. (I discovered this while researching the book). Hence, this one looks like it’s going to full throated trial (or…close mouthed settlement, though I don’t think so, as that would encourage a lot more suits). It also means the odds rise for the American Blind case going forward – that one awaits a judgment on Google’s initial motion to dismiss.

By the way, the reason that there was no news of Google’s filing the summary judgment motion is that Google asked that it be filed under seal. That request was granted, but the fact that the motion was denied is public. Ya just gotta ask…

More on trademarks, and why they matter, here, here here and here.

Stefanie on Video Search

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TVStefanie Olsen of Cnet has dug up some dirt on the big three’s plans for video search. Of particular note is her work uncovering Google’s plans:

Google’s effort, until now secret, is arguably the most ambitious of the three. According to sources familiar with the plan, the search giant is courting broadcasters and cable networks with a new technology that would do for television what it has already done for the Internet: sort through and reveal needles of video clips from within the haystack archives of major network TV shows.

The effort comes on top of Google’s plans to create a multimedia search engine for Internet-only video that it will likely introduce next year, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans. In recent weeks, Mountain View, Calif.-based Google has demonstrated new technology to a handful of major TV broadcasters in an attempt to forge alliances and develop business models for a TV-searchable database on the Web, those sources say.

…Google’s project for TV search is ultra-secretive; only a handful of broadcast executives have seen it demonstrated so far. To build the service, the company is recording live TV shows and indexing the related closed-caption text of the programming. It uses the text to identify themes, concepts and relevant keywords for video so they can be triggers for searching.

The idea of using closed captioning for text has been around a long time, Sergey Brin and others recently published a paper on it.

For further ruminations on this, see my Friday Sketching: TV and Search Merge post.

Google Desktop: Too Good For Its Own Good?

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From an eweek piece by respected security expert Bruce Schneier:

The problem is that GDS indexes and finds documents that you may prefer not be found. For example, GDS searches your browser’s cache. This allows it to find old Web pages you’ve visited, including online banking summaries, personal messages sent from Web e-mail programs and password-protected personal Web pages.

GDS can also retrieve encrypted files. No, it doesn’t break the encryption or save a copy of the key. However, it searches the Windows cache, which can bypass some encryption programs entirely. And if you install the program on a computer with multiple users, you can search documents and Web pages for all users.//

…Some people blame Google for these problems and suggest, wrongly, that Google fix them. What if Google were to bow to public pressure and modify GDS to avoid showing confidential information? The underlying problems would remain: The private Web pages would still be in the browser’s cache; the encryption program would still be leaving copies of the plain-text files in the operating system’s cache; and the administrator could still eavesdrop on anyone’s computer to which he or she has access. The only thing that would have changed is that these vulnerabilities once again would be hidden from the average computer user.

In the end, this can only harm security.

GDS is very good at searching. It’s so good that it exposes vulnerabilities on your computer that you didn’t know about. And now that you know about them, pressure your software vendors to fix them. Don’t shoot the messenger.

Google News And China: More Issues

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greatwall-tmGoogle News in China has had a speckled past; recall that Google agreed back in the summertime to block sources from the index which the Chinese government had specified. I and many others had issues with this. Now comes word that Google’s English version of News is being blocked in China.

Shanghai. (Interfax-China) – The English version of Google’s news service has been inaccessible in China for more than a week. Zhang Junwei, a Google Media official stationed in Beijing, acknowledged that the company’s English News channel was inaccessible when contacted by Interfax, but could not provide further comment.

I’ve emailed Xiao for more info, if anyone can get to the bottom of this, it’ll be him.

Thanks, SEW.

More AdWords Trademark Suits

By - November 27, 2004

George McGuireThis one has Company A (Brannock, the maker of those foot measuring devices) suing a Company B (ABC Industries) because Company B has purchased Company A’s trademarks as AdWords. This is distinct from Company A suing Google and/or Yahoo, as is the case with Gieco, American Blind, et al.

Brannock files keyword lawsuit

The article also reminds us of the Rescuecom case, in which Rescuecom took the Geico et al approach of suing Google. Rescuecom is a computer services franchiser. (Nod to Gary for putting the PDF up, and to Google for making it HTML).

I never cease to marvel at the role Google plays now in small to medium businesses. Name any fixture of our lives – a foot measuring device, for example – and demand for it is now aggregated through a Google keyword.

Xmas Bells and Whistles

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frooglelistGoogle has added a “wish list” feature to Froogle. As Andy Beal puts it:

You can now create a “Wish List” of items that you would like for Christmas, using Froogle. You need to either have a Gmail or Groups account in order to use the tool, which is a great way to boost members before Q1 ’05.