free html hit counter September 2007 - Page 7 of 8 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Ex Googlers Using Google Lucre to Make Google Competitor

By - September 05, 2007

I love this. Love love love it. From TC:

The murmurs about new stealth search engine Cuill (pronounced “cool”), which were barely a whisper earlier this year, are gaining strength and are starting to reverberate through Silicon Valley gatherings…

Cuill was also founded by highly respected search experts. Husband and wife team Tom Costello and Anna Patterson were joined by Russell Power. Patterson and Power are ex-Google search experts, and Google must be fuming that their inventions were not added to Google’s intellectual property library. Costello was the founder of Xift.

Cuill met with venture capitalists, but we’re hearing that Costello and Patterson eventually self-funded the company with a $5ish million injection of capital. They now have 10-15 employees and offices in Menlo Park.

Another rumor circulating is that Google already took a shot at acquiring the company with a very healthy offer, showing that they take this potential threat seriously.

This reminds me of another stealth search startup that Google quickly acquired: Applied Semantics. Ex Googlers who rejoined, much richer. Isn’t that why Sergey started that Founders Award?!

No matter what, it’s going to be hard for Google to keep its best folks, because the grass is always green where the horses aren’t. Er, or something.

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A Hint On Google's Phone Philosophy…

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…can be found here on Matt Cutts blog:

So lots of people want to write independent/third-party native apps that run on the iPhone. The problem is that while Apple hasn’t squashed the development of native apps, they haven’t helped, either….

…Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t provided any documentation on the application programming interface (API) or system libraries that would allow people to write native applications for the iPhone. Luckily, dedicated people have helped to produce not only a toolchain but also to fill in documentation on the system APIs that the iPhone supports. In the same way that Apple desktop machines have a framework called AppKit, the iPhone has a user-interface (UI) framework called UIKit.

Now, why would Google’s best known developer evangelist be telling his audience how to write web apps for the iPhone? Hmmmm?

This Says It All

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It was about five years ago I stopped reading local newspapers because all they had was wire copy and some pretty lame local reporting I could get from the Internet, or from talking to friends.

This set of headlines from IWantMedia (the email version) really sums up what’s going on now:


Japan to Google: Iie Mas!

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The FT has a piece today that reminds me of that other national attempt to compete with Google (that’d be France and Germany, though I understand Germany pulled out). From it:

Tokyo, alarmed by the global dominance of Google and other foreign internet services, is spearheading a project to try to seize the lead in new search technologies for electronic devices.

The push has been sparked by concerns in Japan that the country’s pre-eminence in consumer electronics has faded and value in the technology industry is moving away from hardware.

Yahoo Takes Its Lithium

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Blue Lithium

Yahoo yesterday announced its intent to purchase Blue Lithium, another ad network. We work with BL at FM, as well as Right Media, which Yahoo purchased earlier (Blue Lithium will make that purchase more valuable, as it will provide tons of inventory to feed RM’s exchange).

There are fewer and fewer pure play ad networks of scale (and with some kind of “secret sauce” – ie behavioral or contextual algorithms) that can be purchased. And the numbers are coming down – BL went for $300 million. Alarm:Clock likes the deal (image is from a:c), Yahoo’s own blog claims a major reason for the purchase was direct response tools.

Facebook + Search = Big Move

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Today Facebook is taking a big step toward leveraging one of its major possible competitors – search engines, and specifically Google – into more traffic for, well, Facebook. From an email sent by Facebook PR:

Starting tomorrow (Weds), we are making limited public search listings available to people who are not logged in to Facebook. A public search listing provides, at most, the name and profile picture of any Facebook member that has their search privacy settings set to “Everyone”. It will show less information about a person than results of a search performed by someone logged in to Facebook. We wanted to give people who had never come to Facebook, or who are not currently registered, the opportunity to discover their friends who are on Facebook.

It’ll look like this when you get to

Welcome Page-2

OK, that’s nice, now you can find out folks who are on Facebook without registering. But the real kicker is this:

We will soon be indexing public search listings in external search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc. to allow more people to connect with who they are looking for. We are giving users approximately one month to set their privacy options before we allow search engines to index these public search listings.

From the FAQ I was also sent:

Why and when will you be allowing search engines to index these public search listings?

Many people who are not familiar with Facebook perform searches for people they are looking for using other search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc. Indexing public search listings results for people on Facebook in these external search engines allow more people to connect with those they are looking for. We are giving users approximately one month to set their privacy options before we allow search engines to index these public search listings.

Can users opt out of having a public search listing?

Yes. All users have several options in regards to the privacy of their public search listings. In addition, we are informing all users that external indexing will occur in approximately one month, so they have time to adjust their privacy settings. All of these options can be accessed from the Search Privacy page.

• Users who have their search privacy set to “Everyone”: Users who currently have search set to “Everyone” will have a public search listing created for them. They have additional options to remove their public search listings from search results on Facebook’s Welcome page, to remove their public search listings from external search engine results, or to do both.

• Users who have their search privacy restricted: Users who currently have search set to anything other than “everyone” have not had public search listings created for them. Their public search listings will not appear in search results from Facebook’s Welcome page or in search engine results.

Who is indexed in these searches?

Only users who are over 18 and have the “Allow my public search listing to be indexed in external search engines” checked in their search privacy settings will appear in external searches.

Why am I on about this? Well, it’ll be interesting to see how Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask, and AOL onebox, or don’t onebox, the Facebook listings. Very, very interesting. Here’s what Facebook shows as how a result for a non public search will look on the Facebook site:

Public Search Listing-2

Hmmm. I bet it’ll look different in Google. But hey, it’d be cool to be able to poke folks right there in Google’s result pages, now, wouldn’t it? Hmmmmm?

Cool: and RockYou

By - September 04, 2007

From TechCrunch:

This weekend photo widget startup RockYou started to integrate results into slide shows shown on the RockYou site (example). For now, results are limited to showing shirts on sale that are similar to the ones being worn by people in the photographs. Viewers can click through and purchase a shirt that look similar to the one their friend is wearing in the photos.

I like (er, sorry) the idea of using images as search queries. Soon, well, in a decade or so, nearly anything can be a query – a photo you take with your phone, for example, a gesture you make with your eyes. I can’t wait.

LaunchPad, Revisited

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Last week I posted about the new LaunchPad, VC edition, at Web2, noting that submissions are open, and entrepreneurs now did not have to pay or actually launch the company – it’s more of a chance to get in front of the entire Web 2 audience and show off your stuff. Since we’re only going to have a month or so for submissions to be open, and no one reads sites like this one in the last week of August, I figured I’d post again. Here’s my original post, here’s where you can learn more and submit your company. Good luck!

More on the GPhone: I Guess I'm Wrong

By - September 03, 2007

I’m not a fan of the iPhone, because it’s locked and chained into AT&Ts network. I also am not a fan of the Gphone, because, well, I guess I’m not a gadget head, first off, and second, who wants to be in the phone business? It’s better to be in the network/platform business. And I’m going to guess that the Google Phone, whatever it ends up being, will be much more interesting at that level than at the level of the hardware device itself, which of course is what the iPhone is all about.

I hope.

In any case, more details about the phone in this piece. It sure sounds like something is up.

Google Hosting News: This Is A Big Deal, Announced Quietly

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Google is making a very clear decision to license and host news content. In other words, to make money from it, like Yahoo does. This is counter to Google’s long standing tradition of being “switchboard” to traffic when it comes to content, and it has very significant implications if carried forward to other areas of Google’s operations. Is Google becoming a true Publisher? There’s really no other way to look at it. With licensed and hosted news content, Google can keep eyeballs on Google’s own servers, and it gets to keep the advertising margin as well. So far, no word on when ads are coming, but this augurs it:

Josh Cohen, business product manager of Google News, said his company would consider eventually running advertising alongside the agencies’ articles.

Notably, Google’s own version of the news wire story will take precedence over those running in other news outlets. In other words, Google keeps the traffic. Google explains it as dealing with a duplication problem here, but, come on now…if I were running a newspaper, I’d be livid. I pay the wire services so that I can get the eyeballs. Now Google is paying them, presumably (no comment on this in the coverage), and the inevitable result is that the newspaper outlets will lose traffic to Google’s direct relationship with the wire services.

It’s interesting that this news was broken on a Friday, before Labor Day. In other words, the deadest day in the news business. Yup, Google knows how to play the news, don’t it?!

Tim muses on this, as does Matthew Ingram, who points to a lot of other thoughtful coverage.