free html hit counter July 2006 - Page 4 of 7 - John Battelle's Search Blog

round up

By - July 18, 2006

Great net neutrality debate

Yesterday’s conversation between Vint Cerf and David Farber on “What is Net Neutrality?” is available via podcast from the Center for American Progress: feed (mp3).


If American Idol is any indication, there’s a ripe market to serve the hopes of aspiring stars as well as their entertainment to a wide audience. Launched today, Bix hopes to answer with a platform to run home-grown talent contests in video, music, and other media.

The farthest hub from hip

Meet Wal-Mart’s miserable attempt to create a hip social video site: The Hub. Think MySpace stripped of content, striped with pending approval notices on what content is left, and emails sent to parents of teens who register.

Rank comparison

Fortune completes the first phase of research analyzing the comparative ranking methods of the Google, Yahoo!, and MSN engines. Amid differences, the three giant engines in common use the quality of incoming links as the most important off-page contribution to search ranking, and the quantity of those links as the least.

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Admitting mistakes, Schmidt

By - July 17, 2006

“So, yes we are IDIOTS — and please WRITE THAT DOWN,” insisted CEO Eric Schmidt in an impromptu interview on Friday, referring to Google management between the IPO filing and going pubic.

From Reuters (the whole audio interview, here):


Google CEO Eric Schmidt tells reporters:

“(During the 2004 IPO process), between the time we filed and the time we went public, the press was among the most unpleasant I have ever experienced.

“We (Google management) were ‘idiots,’ we were ‘useless’… I thought ‘God.’…It is a terrible feeling of being on the other side of that (press coverage).

“So we looked at (Google’s Web site) traffic and revenue and they were exploding… We had a very, very strong quarter right after the worst possible press about ‘the idiots running the company.’

“I don’t know what that tells you.

Schmidt then paused and begged the reporters to create a new Google press frenzy:

“So, yes we are IDIOTS — and please WRITE THAT DOWN.”


Google CEO Eric Schmidt: “We have every known problem that a growth company has — quicker…Write down all the obvious problems, we have every one of them. So we make a list of them (potential problems) and we anticipate them.”

Reporter: Are there any non-obvious problems?

Schmidt: “No. no.”

Reporter: Is it a list of 10-15?

Schmidt: “I would say it is about 20.”

Googling worms

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Picture 1-15Last week Websense, a security company, found a way to use Google search to identify and capture malware. The software exploits Google’s binary functions to view .exe files on Windows computers.

“The most interesting thing about Google’s binary search capability is not its security implications, but the fact that it shows that Google may be thinking about becoming a file searching service.” Johnny Long, a security researcher with Computer Sciences told PC World.

Websense planned to limit the release its software and findings for security. But now there’s Metsploit, a newly erected “hacker-friendly” malware engine, similarly piggybacking on Google’s engine.

Search that sounds good

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Picture 2-10Can’t quite place that tune? Musiclens is a free German, search app. to find and explore music by varying the balance of several criteria –adjust between ear-busting to silent, or from instrumental to vocal; it also includes keyword and time period search.

Also, music search recently went live, completing a beta phase begun last fall. creates personalized radio stations by combining a user’s favorite songs with an algorithmic recommendation feed taken from a network of users with similar tastes.

Last is similar to Pandora in its offerings (with the addition of a social space and communication tools between users). But Last’s analytics rely on the frequency songs are played (by a user and their social network) and a folksonomy of tagging. In contrast, Pandora radio derives from the more ambitious Genome Music Project, which uses musical attributes and elements to create its search analytics.

If keyword search is hampered by orthography and text spam, imagine the challenges in harnessing ambient audio into a durable search engine–probably harder than Quaero would guess.

Going On Vacation

By - July 14, 2006

Empty Mail Box

I very rarely, if ever, take a day where I don’t check email, my feeds, or work.

That is going to change this coming week, starting Saturday morning. I’ve cleared out my email, and set the autoresponders.

For one week, I intend to not answer email. I will not post on the site. I will not answer phone calls.

I will be in the mountains, away from cel coverage, with my three kids and my extraordinary wife. We will be singing silly campfire songs and playing a lot of frisbee golf. Much wine will be consumed. Much hiking and yoga and fishing will ensue. And I for one can’t wait.

Melanie will hold down the fort while I am gone, and for that I am thankful. Onward, to the Lair of the Bear.

In Mumbai, Following the Pirates

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A colleague from NY who prefers to be anonymous sends me this email:

Sitting stuck in traffic on way to Mumbai airport. Various peddlers offering flowers, newspapers, etc knock on the car window. And here’s one with pirated books. My, the world certainly is flat I think looking at friedman’s samizdat cover. And then I look down the pile — and there is your book. It won’t put food on your table, but you should be happy to know that the guys who rely on one or two sales a day and can only carry a few books have put you on their bestseller list.

First, amazing that he can send me that note while in traffic in one of the most perilous places on earth (at least, last week it was). Second, how cool is it that The Search is a street bestseller in Mumbai?! Do I care about the piracy? No. No, no no. I care that someone in Mumbai cared enough to rip it off, and that someone there might be reading my stuff. That is just cool. Commercial markets always follow the free, or, well, the pirates in this case. Always.

Round Up

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IM interoperability

Limited public testing is underway on integrated IM communication between Yahoo Messenger with Voice and Microsoft’s IM service. Combined, Yahoo and Windows Live Messenger would comprise the world’s largest IM community, and the first partnership of its kind.

Picture 5-5Q&A with Hayden on Social Search and JetEye

David Hayden, co-founder of Magellan, talks about with SEL about his vision for the future of social search and his new project, JetEye.

So in a word, social search will be mainstream, because it represents the pursuit of knowledge over information, and the pursuit of knowledge must be a mainstream activity.

Watson customizable search

Watson, the free, contextual search sidebar by Intellext, is now customizable with sites like MySpace and the WSJ. Waston mines data in engines, social sites, desktops, blogs, news, subscriptions, and networks.


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I don’t say this much, but …. watch this space. GData has all the right geeks fibrillating…it’s Hailstorm but….opener. (Nice touch, wanting to call it “Shitstorm….”).

JG Writes….

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Reader JG writes: The problem is: How does Kinderstart actually go about proving “manual intervention”?

Cerf, Part 1: Excuse me, but we don’t get a free ride at all

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Vint Cerf Lg-1

Fortune recently ran an interview with Google’s Vint Cerf (I think it’s in the current issue, it’s not up on the site yet). That was unfortunate for Business 2.0, the magazine where I do interviews, because I had recently completed an interview with him as well. Given that B2 is monthly and Fortune comes out every two weeks, Fortune scooped B2, and now the magazine doesn’t want to run my interview.

Well, that’s great for us. Because B2 said I can run it here, a full month ahead of when it would get through B2’s production process, and at greater length.

Vint, who is Chief Internet Evangelist for Google and is widely regarded as one of the fathers of the Internet, does not mince words in this interview. He’s clearly got a point of view, and he is not afraid to explain it. Of note – Cerf understands the Bellhead point of view personally, he spent a fair amount of time at MCI before joining Google….

Here’s Part 1, more coming as I edit it…


Searchblog: I’ve got a bunch of stuff to ask you. I don’t know if you saw – I posted on my site requesting questions for you…You do read Searchblog, right?!

CERF: Well I actually would like to, finding a few hours between midnight and 3 in the morning.

Searchblog: I knew it … Let’s get to the hot issue right now: Can you define the issue of net neutrality and why is so much at stake right now?

CERF: Okay, so let me try and we’ll see whether it seems to make sense to you. This whole issue arose when (AT&T CEO) Ed Whitacre made some charges in the press that Internet service providers or information service-providers or application service-providers were getting a free ride on his broadband network and he thought that was wrong. And he said that he was going to fix that problem – he was going to make damn sure that companies like Google paid him to get access.

Searchblog: This sounds a little bit like “I’m not making enough money in my core business and I’m a little jealous of Google’s business model.”

CERF: I would have to concur that it sure sounds like that.

Searchblog: Now the response of course is – “Well wait a minute, I’m paying 30 bucks a month for DSL or cable, and I’m sure Google pays its bandwidth bill on time every month. Isn’t this really about the idea of a tiered network?”

CERF: Well, the term “tiered network” turns out to be ambiguous, so let’s hang onto that for just one second. Let me come back to what we believe has been sold to the subscriber and then what we believe is inconsistently being said by the broadband provider. Now I don’t mean to suggest every broadband provider is necessarily behaving this way. Some of them are sitting back, maybe privately hoping that the claim that’s being made (by folks like Whitacre) will somehow be feasible or be achieved and then they’ll jump on the bandwagon.

Here’s what (folks like Whitacre) are saying: “Well, we built this network and we can do anything we want with it. And by the way, the FCC has now essentially released us of any common carrier obligations we ever had, thank you very much, and so we can do whatever we want to and why don’t you just buzz off.”

That sort of grates a little bit. Gee, excuse me, but we don’t get a free ride at all. We spend an awful lot of money being connected to the public Internet backbone, in addition to which we pay a lot of money for our own Internet backbone that links all of our computer centers together at substantial capacity, which is necessary to do what we do.

Moreover, the subscriber has been told (by the telcos and cable ISPs) that if you pay for broadband service, you’ll get access to everywhere on the Internet. But then they’re saying, in the same breath or same paragraph anyway, “Well actually, it’s not quite like that because the places you’ll be able to get to in this broadband mode are only the ones that we’ve done business deals with. So well we’re going to shut out Google unless they pay or, you know, shut out eBay, or Amazon.”

And so this means that the subscriber’s choice has suddenly been circumscribed by what business model the people at these broadband service-providers have been able to invent. My view of their invention is that the business model seems very 20th century and very backwards looking.

Searchblog: In what way?

CERF: They seem to be very focused on video as a service. Lots of people associate broadband and video as being somehow linked at the hip. What they do not understand, apparently, is that people are not necessarily eager to watch video in a streaming mode, limiting themselves to whatever is being transmitted at the moment. And if you’re paying any attention at all to Tivo and iPod and other fairly modern communication services, you’ll find people downloading things and then listening to or watching them later. And if you are no longer watching the video as its being delivered to your hard drive, then you no longer need for it to be delivered in realtime in a viewable form. The broadband providers seem to be reinventing the cable and satellite television service model for the Internet. What mystifies me about this is that they are therefore going after an already hotly completing-for market with a finite revenue stream. So the best they can do is a share of that market. Their entry is not going to increase the market, in my view.

Searchblog: Right.

CERF: They’d be renting or leasing or otherwise paying for content from all the same sources. And all it does is add a competitor who delivers nothing new. For the life of me I do not understand why one would base a business on this 20th century model, when you could be thinking the way the people in the U.K., in New Zealand, in The Netherlands and places like Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore are thinking. What they’re saying is let’s open this broadband pipe up. Let’s make sure that access to it is open in the sense that there isn’t any constraint as to where the subscribers to these services can go on the Internet. Let’s allow innovative new services to enter into the system without constraining them to pay tolls in order to deliver an innovative new service. Let’s look at Yahoo! and Amazon and eBay and Google. Here are four companies that did not need to get permission from the Internet service-provider or to pay a special tariff to the Internet service-provider in order to offer the service.

Part 2 Coming ….