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Search Thoughts from O'Reilly

By - November 13, 2006

Missingmanual

Tim posts on fellow editor Sarah Milstein’s observations. Sarah wrote (and updates) Google: The Missing Manual. From her thoughts:

As the Web gets bigger, search results contain more irrelevant stuff. In many cases, it’s getting harder to find what you want. Appreciably harder.

What do you all think? Yes or no?

and

Other search companies are doing some cool stuff with their main results. For many searches, Microsoft Live presents a super-useful list of related searches; also, somebody hit them with the clean-interface stick. Ask.com does a nice job with simple natural-language questions. Clusty has been offering very handy clustered search results since at least 2004. Daylife (still in alpha) does what is essentially clustering with a thoughtful interface.



My thoughts: It’s about a year away, but in one year, there will be precious little difference between results on Google, MSFT, and Yahoo. But will it matter? Yes or no…

and

I wonder when/if search is going to be real-time (i.e. live Web) rather than index-based. And I wonder if the main barrier to it now is hardware or software (to the degree you can separate them). At Web2, I met a woman from Intel R&D who’s working on a continuous refresh data system that would allow real-time searching but for which you need multi-core processors that aren’t yet ready for primetime. Still, an interesting glimpse of the possible future.



This is exciting, but what I want is even more is a web time axis….

and



During the two-year period from one edition of Google TMM to the next, Google began adding features and services at such an increasingly quick clip that while the second edition was at the printer, we missed out on eight new tools. That was in a 10-day period. (Some of those new tools are search-related; many are not.)

Tell me about it. I missed about 100 from the hardback to the paperback, and now I’m hopelessly behind. No, wait…that’s why we have Searchblog….

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Google: Angel or Devil?

By - November 11, 2006

Nyt Goog Devil

The Times continues it’s fascination with all things Google in this Richard Siklos piece entitled “A Struggle Over Dominance and Definition.” (image cropped from full image at Times site)

It features this broadside from Microsoft’s CEO Steve “I did not throw a chair at f*ing Google” Ballmer: “The truth is, what Google is doing now is transferring the wealth out of the hands of rights holders into Google. So media companies around the world are all threatened by Google.”

What’s the nub of the story? Well, it’s this: Is Google a media company? Er….YES. YES! YEEEEESSSSSSS!!

But what this also shows me is that Microsoft is taking a new tack in the ongoing battle with Google – Hey media companies, Google is not your friend. Now Microsoft, on the other hand….

Jim and Steve, Sitting On A Sofa…

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Jim And Steve At Web2

(photo credit) Dan Farber has a good writeup of my interview with Jim Lanzone, CEO of Ask, and his former boss, Steve Berkowitz, who left Ask to run MSN. Best line: “Google is the Model T of search.” Well, Ford didn’t stop innovating, of course, and it dominated the market for a good long time….

Google Video Suit

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Does anyone know who actually filed this suit? This WaPo piece says it came from France. Trying to grok if this is a Big Deal or not. Given the lack of second beat stories, perhaps it’s not…

Quick Notes On Schmidt Interview

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Eric Schmidt-1

There’s been a lot of coverage of my interview with Eric Schmidt at Web 2, but this angle (Guardian) was not that well covered. Till now. It’s funny, while I was talking to him, I did not perceive Eric to have made such a strong statement, but the Guardian reporter certainly did. My question, from my notes, was this (I paraphrased from my notes when asking, as I usually do):

You stood up to the DOJ. And you also, in your own way, stood up to the traditional approaches of Wall St. Let me give you a scenario. If the government makes a request of Google that you and your management team believes is Evil, but it is legal under Patriot, will you stand up as you have before?

I’ll link to the podcast once it’s up so you can hear his response.

From the Guardian story:

The head of the internet search engine Google has vowed to protect the privacy of web surfers against the US government.

As Americans delivered a sweeping midterm election defeat for the Republican administration, Eric Schmidt strongly criticised the White House’s attitude towards privacy at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco…

Update: Another part of the interview that has made news was when I asked about the YouTube acquisition and whether a portion of the $1.65 billion sum was reserved to pay settlements with various media companies, as Mark Cuban asserted on his site. Eric flatly denied it. But Paid Content has found amended SEC filings which may infer the opposite:

“We entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger with YouTube, Inc. (YouTube) in October 2006 which we amended in November 2006. Under the terms of this agreement, as amended, we will acquire all of the outstanding equity interests of YouTube, a privately held company, for aggregate consideration of $1.65 billion. The consideration will be payable in shares of our common stock, which will be reduced to the extent we lend certain amounts of cash to YouTube prior to the closing of the acquisition.”

Feels to me like Eric might have been fudging it onstage, if any of that money is used to pay settlements….

Update 2: More headlines from the conversation came from Eric’s defense of user data portability. I think this is a big issue and I’m pleased Eric supported it.