free html hit counter July 2005 - Page 2 of 7 - John Battelle's Search Blog

More Transparensee

By - July 27, 2005

Trasnpa2You may recall my write up of Transparensee a while ago, I liked the approach founder Steve Lavine took to “fuzzy” search of structured data. Today I spoke with Steve again and he showed me a demo of his technology working on a real estate database. It’s very much worth checking out, it’s a cool visualization of how to make the web more useful. Head here, then fill in a few of the variables – price, zip, etc. Steve suggests 60014 for the zip, I think that database (greater Chicago) is populated. Click “enhanced search.” The sliders are the cool part, as are the similar properties. This kind of technology had all kinds of applications….

PS – this works on the Mac only in Safari…

  • Content Marquee

Yeah, That and the Inventory…

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Danah Boyd notes that NewsCorp’s recent purchase of MySpace gives Murdoch’s empire a unique perspective into the cultural habits of a much sought after demographic.

Unlike the other YASNS, the value of MySpace comes from the data on media trends that is the core of what people share on that service. You have millions of American youth identifying with media and expressing their cultural values on the site.

True, but I had a conversation with an exec in the Big Media space yesterday who saw it a bit differently. What MySpace has that Newscorp wants is inventory, and a lot of it. Newscorp is, after all, an advertising business. Why did Dow Jones buy Marketwatch? NYT and About? Inventory. The secret is out: inventory is valuable again (I’ve called it “traffic of good intent” in the past), as long as it has a high quality audience and a strong community. Now it’s up to these media players not to screw them up.

Report: Ask to Enter Paid Search Network Game

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Local SignMediaPost reports that Ask’s entrance into the space is imminent, Diller hinted as much earlier this year a the D Conference.

Currently, Google powers sponsored listings on Ask Jeeves. Reportedly, Ask Jeeves’ paid search will look similar to Google’s system. It primarily will be based on keyword bidding, but with some measure of relevance, such as click-through rates, factored into the advertiser’s ultimate cost. The minimum bid will reportedly start at 5 cents.

Ask Jeeves’ sponsored listings likely will co-exist with Google’s, at least for the time being. Google’s contract to power sponsored listings on Ask Jeeves doesn’t expire until 2007.

I’m pinging sources to try to flesh this one out.

Update: I have it on very good authority that this report is accurate, in the main.

Yahoo Adds To 360

By - July 26, 2005

360-1As expected, Yahoo integrated Flickr into 360 today, along with RSS (do I hear an echo in here?!) alerts, and other goodies. Details here.

Another Google HR Lawsuit

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First it was Brian Reid, who claimed age discrimination. Now it’s Chirstina Elwell, who is claiming discrimination based on pregnancy. Elwell was a high ranking sales exec at Google based in NY. This looks like a terrible nightmare for all involved. I very much hope the allegations she makes are not true, in any case, it looks awful for Google. Elwell lost three of her quadruplets during her pregnancy and was fired, then rehired, then “constructively terminated,” a term for being fired based on contractual interpretations, in this case apparently her own.

Elwell’s boss, Google sales chief Tim Armstrong, allegedly called her an “HR nightmare.” To be fair, I understand what he means by that, if indeed he did say it. I’ve had a few of those in my own experience as a boss, and it is really no fun to deal with someone who has convinced themselves that your company has screwed them over, when in fact they may be self destructing all on their own. The facts in this case are not known, all we have are Elwell’s allegations – Google of course is not commenting, past the standard “this suit is without merit and we will defend it vigorously” line.

But a company needs to have its sh*t together to deal with these outlier cases, and apparently, Google did not. And what makes this worse is the loss Elwell suffered during the whole affair.

Gary Price has the full complaint at the end of his post here.

More Mainstream Media Musings…

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This time Fast Company on Google. A fine walk down We’VeHeardThisBefore Lane, but with a few zingers.

The piece turns on the “Can Google Stay Ahead” meme:

Ten years from now, could Google be a vanquished champ while a newer contender takes over its campus? Silicon Valley is a notoriously brutal place. It’s incredibly hard to maintain a lead in technology. As Brin plays in the sand at the “Googleplex,” could there be the next Brin waiting five miles away at the Stanford campus — another obscure but brilliant computer-science graduate student who’ll swiftly reinvent the digital realm? Will slower-moving giants like Microsoft get the time to catch up?

The author, Alan Deutschman, goes on to answer this question, or rather, let Brin and others answer it. (Caveat, I used to work with Alan – he wrote for Wired).

“We’re in a target-rich environment of interesting problems,” says Alan Eustace, one of Google’s handful of vice presidents of engineering and its head of research.

Golly, no kidding. And to his credit, Alan calls Google on it.

Of course, Google is far from the first Silicon Valley powerhouse to cultivate a reputation as a place for the most brilliant engineers. Like its predecessors — Microsoft, Oracle, Apple — Google can be elitist and a bit haughty. Nelson Minar, a midlevel Google engineer, starts off well by saying, “At Google, a lot of people are motivated by the beauty of what they do. A key thing in the engineering culture is a lot of pride in the technical challenge. Larry and Sergey have set the tone that we’re in this for the long run.” But then he realizes too late that he’s sliding into arrogance when he says, “At Google, my assumption when I meet new engineers is they are as good as I am or better. When I worked at other places, the first question was, Is this person worth my time?”


(Thanks for the pointer, Kurt.)

Yahoo and Content

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FrtnIt’s true that for search/platform companies like Google and Yahoo, answering the “What business are you in” question has never been harder. Potential partners ask: Are they media businesses? Software businesses? Services businesses? All three? (Answer: Yes). And as a media business, are they simply a distributor, a content licensor, or a content creator? (again, the answer is: All three). It’s also true that when the mainstream press attacks this question, they are supremely conflicted in their analysis – after all, Yahoo and Google are both the enemy (stealing advertisers) and the ally (pushing traffic their way). The recent cover story in Fortune in a case in point. It gives a good overview, but…something is missing. I dunno. In the end, the story seems to turn on how Yahoo is going to give the media business competitive fits. My view of that is…and? This is a new idea? I’m far more interested in what Yahoo is actually going to do. We know that Yahoo, Google, AOL, MSN and the rest represent a new kind of fused media play. But what might they do next? That part of the equation is still unanswered….

Google Adds RSS Content to Personalization

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AddcontentLast night multiple Searchblog readers alerted me that Google is now supporting personalized content on its personalized home page services. Google already supports RSS in GMail, but this “Add Content”-“Creat a Section” part of the service is new. In essence, it’s an RSS reader. Bloglines, My Yahoo, you got served.

Google’s Blog entry here.