free html hit counter April 2007 - Page 6 of 10 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Followup: Conversation with Eric

By - April 17, 2007

Eric and I had a lively conversation earlier today onstage, many of the questions I asked came from your input, thanks a million. He announced onstage that Google has completed its apps suite with the addition of a presentation component, he told me earlier that they did not have a name for it because, in the end, it was a feature of a service, not a product like PowerPoint.

There’s a lot of blog coverage, summarized here and here. More to come…

More: AP Story here.

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GoogleClick Round Up In Advance Of Eric S. Interview

By - April 16, 2007


Tuesday morning I am interviewing Eric Schmidt at the Web 2 Expo. Usually I obsess about these interviews, this time, I’m more than obsessing. Why? Today there were 4000 people in the audience, and that’s quite something to look out over. And there’s much news happening around Google – this will be Eric’s first live interview in front of the industry since the DoubleClick deal, and I want to make sure it’s good. So can you help me? I’m reading a lot of stuff on the deal, of course, and still formulating my own thoughts (I think I’ll wait to post till after I talk to him), but here’s what’s on my reading list:

Alarm Clock: Google CEO Eric Schmidt called in on the announcement conference call and explained that Google did a strategic review this year and discovered that the scale of the display ad business was larger than the company had initially thought. To our ears this sounds like spin to justify the deal. Surely Google management knows that brand advertising is big business that Google has had problems with.

WatchMojo: …since the next wave of growth is display/banners at the expense of video (and the one after that being video), Google did not apparently blink today, spending twice what it spent on YouTube to keep DCLK out of the hands of MSFT.

PaidContent: When I asked why display advertising had taken on greater importance in the last year, Sergey Brin said, “We’ve though display advertising has been important for several years.” He mentioned several Google efforts in display but—to paraphrase—nothing on the scale of DoubleClick. He said “we’ve had a lot to keep us busy in search and search advertising” … that remains important but “we can now afford” to give more attention to display.

NYT (first story): The sale offers Google access to DoubleClick’s advertisement software and, more importantly, its relationships with Web publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies.

For months, Google has been trying to expand its foothold in online advertising into display ads, the area where DoubleClick is strongest. Google made its name and still generates most of its revenue from search and contextual text ads.

Charlene Li: There’s been rational points made from some voices in the privacy advocacy community — namely Lauren Weinstein from the California Initiative For Internet Privacy — that Google would refrain from creating detailed user profiles, especially to stay in the good graces of its users. My point above is that Google can create user profiles only with the permission of the publishers and advertisers that it serves — and can benefit from them only if those same parties participate. It’s unlikely that anyone in that value chain will want to risk violating user privacy, so only minimal data — if any — will be passed between parties.

Chicago Trib: At a time when advertising dollars and readership are drifting to the Internet at an increasingly rapid pace, many newspaper industry executives share Curley’s circumspection about the online giants.

Blogoscoped: Sergey Brin emphasized that user privacy will be handled as top priority among all the different integration challenges. Wonder what kind of potential privacy issues he had in mind? After all, DoubleClick is tracking a whole lot of web traffic with their cookies. Combine that with what Google can already track through all the sites running AdSense, and you got an even greater percentage of the web covered…(more)

The River: As Google moves to become more Madison Avenue — becoming more entrenched in the advertising/marketing mainstream — it takes the whole media world just a little more digital and technology-oriented. After all, Eric Schmidt has said he wants people to think of Google as an “operating system” for advertising, or some such. Can you imagine anyone even conceiving of an operating system for advertising, before Google?

Kedrosky: To borrow a phrase from Microsoft’s past, this is a brazen attempt to cut off Microsoft’s future air supply.

GoYaMi: In June of 2004 DoubleClick acquired Performics, an affiliate network and management company and search engine marketing agency in an all cash deal totaling between $58M and $65M.

Now, seemingly in an effort to acquire the DART ad technologies and publisher relationships, Google has also acquired an affiliate network and search engine marketing agency that consequently gets paid by their customers to help them perform better in Google.

Microsoft (via WaPo): Microsoft said yesterday that Google’s proposed purchase of Internet advertising company DoubleClick raises antitrust and privacy concerns that deserve careful review by authorities.

Executives at the software giant said they talked over the weekend with AT&T, AOL and Yahoo about similar concerns. Microsoft had bid for DoubleClick but lost to Google. (more from
the Journal)

Google: This new partnership represents a tremendous opportunity for us at Google to broaden and deepen our inventory of available ads and to better serve both our publishers and users. Together, Google and DoubleClick will empower agencies, advertisers, and publishers to collaborate more efficiently and effectively, which will, in turn, provide a better experience for our users.

The Search (written two years ago): There was always the fallback of simply running banners on Google’s prodigious traffic—one deal with DoubleClick, an ad network that specialized in serving graphical banners, would probably net the company millions of dollars. But that felt like a sellout—DoubleClick’s ads were often gaudy and irrelevant. They represented everything Page and Brin felt was wrong with the Internet. “They didn’t want to turn the Web site into the online version of Forty-second Street,” recalls investor and director Michael Moritz.

So…what would YOU ask him?

Bezos at Web 2 Expo….S3 Data

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Jeff Bezos just gave out some first look data on his S3 web scale storage business. It’s pretty impressive, if hard to fully grok. He said that S3 has scaled to 5 billion objects stored since inception. His presentation on how S3 and EC2 work together was pretty impressive….at FM we’re scaling servers and dealing with spiky conditions and man, EC2 sure sounds good…

Google Secures Clear Channel Inventory

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From a release:

SAN ANTONIO AND MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., April 16, 2007 — Clear Channel

Radio and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), today announced a multi-year

agreement that enables Google to sell a guaranteed portion of 30-

second advertising inventory available on more than 675 of Clear

Channel’s AM/FM stations. Specific financial terms are not being


Under the agreement, Google™ Audio Ads advertisers will have national

distribution, enabling them to reach specific audiences, at specific

times, in targeted geographies. For Clear Channel, this agreement

opens up an additional sales channel and provides supplemental revenue

by making Clear Channel inventory available to advertisers who

previously had not used radio.


The $125 Million Website

By - April 15, 2007


Is up. That’d be the site of Portfolio, Conde Nast’s business magazine launch. Which cost $125 million, all in (for print and web.) Enjoy.


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Back when I fancied myself a writer, but hadn’t written a book and therefore had insecurities in calling myself by that moniker, I subscribed to A Word A Day, which sends you, well, a word a day. Most I’ve seen before (thanks, Mom), but today, wow, a word crossed my desk that has all kinds of wonderful possibilities. I love the definitions, but what I really love is the potential. It’s one of those words that, well, shimmers like The Word.

albedo (al-BEE-doh) noun

1. The fraction of light reflected from a body or surface.

For example, earth’s albedo is around 0.39.

2. The white, spongy inner lining of a citrus fruit rind.

[From Latin albedo (whiteness), Latin albus (white).]

Today’s word in Visual Thesaurus:

-Anu Garg (words at

“The more powerful magnetic fields generated by the Sun during maximum

activity are known to block many of the particles, which would

theoretically lead to less cloud cover and less reflection, or a lower


James Glanz; Scientists Find Way to Gauge Earth’s Glow; The New York Times;

Apr 21, 2001.

“We don’t need to tell you that oranges are full of vitamin C. But did you

know that the white membrane under the skin, called the albedo, contains

almost as much C as the flesh of the fruit itself?

Myra Kornfeld; Giving Thanks; Vegetarian Times (Stamford, Connecticut);

Nov 2000.

Conversational Search

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Data Gets Down

Is getting closer….Infoweek:

Some people read tea leaves to predict the future. Stephen Arnold reads Google patents, and right now he’s focusing his attention on United States Patent 7,027,987 voice interface for a search engine.

Arnold, a Google expert who has written a book on the search leader, believes the patent is a roadmap to Google’s future in voice search applications. He said the patent reveals that the company has plans to use voice search across the board for a wide variety of devices big and small and for an equally wide swath of applications ranging from voice-to-text products to a variety of telecommunications uses.

“Google is optimizing voice search to run on Google’s data centers,” said Arnold in an interview Friday. “There’s no limit to how they can scale it. They can embed the function on mobile phones, on browsers, on chips, and even on big mainframes. It’s entirely device independent.”

It's the Data, Indeed

By - April 13, 2007

Tim posits a theory as to why Google is building at 411 service; To get the data that TellMe and Nuance has. Indeed!

… it also seems to me that there’s a hidden story here about the speech recognition itself. I was talking recently to Eckart Walther of Yahoo!, who used to be at Tellme, and he pointed out that speech recognition took a huge leap in capability when automated speech recognition started being used for directory assistance. All of a sudden, there were millions of voices, millions of accents to train speech recognition systems on, and much less need for the individual user to train the system.

This is reminiscent of a comment that Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google, made to me last year about automated translation, and why it’s getting better. “We don’t have better algorithms. We just have more data.”

In short, I’m speculating that the 1-800-GOOG-411 service is designed to harvest voice data to build Google’s own speech database, rather than licensing from Nuance or another player.

Google Buys DoubleClick

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And I will eat my post before where I said they would not. From the Journal:

Google Inc. said Friday that it would purchase Internet services company DoubleClick Inc. for $3.1 billion, marking another big foray into the heart of the Web economy.

The price represents a stunning change in valuation for the company, given that it fetched $1.1 billion in 2005, and has since sold off parts of itself to other parties. Among others, Microsoft Corp., had been vying for control of New York-based DoubleClick, which is controlled by San Francisco private-equity firm Hellman & Friedman.

Even as the Internet economy enters its second decade, the price shows just how valuable important market positions can still be. In adding DoubleClick, Google pushes deeper into the business of placing, or “serving,” the electronic advertisements that dot Web sites.

But it also complicates Google’s already fraught relationships with Web publishers, who often rely on Google for advertising revenue and traffic, but worry that Google’s ever-growing market power may somehow crimp their own growth plans.

This purchase requires a lot of thought. Will Google make the service free? Did it buy the service mainly for the data about display advertising – data it wants so it can drive efficiencies into that market? The price is way over the whisper number last week – did Google once again outbid its competition? Looks that way. The price is cash – not stock. Now Google has a major set of relationships with display advertisers.

But will they trust Google? My sources told me that Google was building its own, now it’s clear it wanted the relationships which came via a market leader. And to force me to eat my post, which I will do Monday when I can get home to a printer (yum).

More to come.