free html hit counter January 2006 - Page 4 of 11 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Head Fake?

By - January 24, 2006

Via Hawk: Yahoo Giving Up on Quest for Search Dominance.

I don’t know … this quote sure ain’t in character with the folks I know at Yahoo:

“We don’t think it’s reasonable to assume we’re going to gain a lot of share from Google,” Chief Financial Officer Susan Decker said in an interview. “It’s not our goal to be No. 1 in Internet search. We would be very happy to maintain our market share.”


Update: Hawk covers Caterina’s response: Blathering bullshit!

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Yahoo's Jeremy Is Disappointed, I'm Bewildered

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From his post:

I’m disappointed in the government for wanting to use the online behavior of millions of people in an attempt to justify a law that many of those million are likely against. I’m disappointed in them for making people even more fearful of “being tracked online” and the Bush Administration’s attempts to keep an eye on the public.

I’m disappointed in those companies that appeared not to put up a fight, notify their users, or explain what happened in a timely fashion. I’m disappointed in them for not providing an opt-out mechanism. I guess that’s everyone but Google so far.

Is it too much to ask, I keep asking, to ask our online services to provide us:

– Access to a record of all the information they keep on us and how they use it

– The ability to challenge that data’s accuracy, and edit it for accuracy

– The ability to opt out (with a clear understanding of the resulting loss of services and opportunities that might result)

– The ability to set permissions as to who else might see the data

– The right to maintain a user copy of that data for archival purposes

– The right to share in the value of that data on negotiated terms

Is that so freaking hard to do? I sense that, increasingly, there is a market opportunity in doing this. I bet 95% of the public will never edit, or even view the data more than once. But the sense that the control panel is there, just in case, will be invaluable to establishing trust.

Ask Bows New Image Search

By - January 23, 2006

This is Ask’s first “internally created” image search. I’ve played with it a bit, looks good, will update with more when I can….

BBC On Google

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 41228800 Google203Bbc2When I was in London a while back, I got the chance to spend time with the BBC. These guys are fun to talk with. Then they came by my offices (in Ross, before we moved to Sausalito), and that ended up on the Money Programme, which takes an indepth look at Google.

Earnings Whispers

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It’s been a not so great quarter for earnings in our world, and now comes news (via SBeat) that a Yahoo employee (Amr Awadallah) is posting musings about why he thinks Google might be in line to miss earnings, or, at the very least, has employed tried and true tricks to increase its revenues in the past, and is not doing so this time.

This is why I love the blog world. You keep finding gems like Amr.

MSN: What We Gave the Govt.

By - January 22, 2006

Here’s MSN’s response. In short: We gave info to the govt, but there was no personal info released.

Last night I watched Enemy of the State, which was one hell of a programming coup for ABC given the recent news. When it came out I was told it was a paranoid fantasy, by folks I know who would be in a position to know – at least back in 1998. But it’s a fantasy that I sense is shared, in a perverse way, by a lot of folks in the current administration. If only we had those kind of tools….

It’s been seven years since that movie was made. What’s happened in seven years? Well….Google, for one thing. And warrantless wiretaps, for another. And a major move from the ephemeral to the eternal. Fasten yer seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

More On The Slippery Slope

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The last graf of Steven Levy’s Newsweek piece:

Though the government intends to use these data specifically for its COPA-related test, it’s possible that the information could lead to further investigations and, perhaps, subpoenas to find out who was doing the searching. What if certain search terms indicated that people were contemplating terrorist actions or other criminal activities? Says the DOJ’s Miller, “I’m assuming that if something raised alarms, we would hand it over to the proper [authorities].” Privacy advocates fear that if the government request is upheld, it will open the door to further government examination of search behavior. One solution would be for Google to stop storing the information, but the company hopes to eventually use the personal information of consenting customers to improve search performance. “Search is a window into people’s personalities,” says Kurt Opsahl, an Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney. “They should be able to take advantage of the Internet without worrying about Big Brother looking over their shoulders.”

Felten on Google and Privacy

By - January 20, 2006

He riffs on DRM and Video, which I find interesting in any case, but it’s the last two grafs of this post which really nail it:

Privacy is for Google what security is for Microsoft. At some point Microsoft realized that a chain of security disasters was one of the few things that could knock the company off its perch. And so Bill Gates famously declared security to be job one, thousands of developers were retrained, and Microsoft tried to change its culture to take security more seriously.

It’s high time for Google to figure out that it is one or two privacy disasters away from becoming just another Internet company. The time is now for Google to become a privacy leader. Fixing the privacy issues in its video DRM would be a small step toward that goal.

ABC News Tonight

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ABC News will broadcast its news tonight from Google headquarters. This was planned well before the DOJ kerfluffle, though I imagine that news peg only helps. I find it intriguing that as a “news event” Google now ranks – alongside hurricanes, wars, and earthquakes – as worthy of having an entire newscast based on location.

ABC came to FM’s offices earlier this week to talk to me about the company. I have no idea if they will air anything, but FYI…set yer Tivos.