A Peek at What’s Coming from MSFT Search Labs

Again, I'm late on this but…Via Mamamusings, Elizabeth Lane Lawley's blog. She was one of the "Search Champs" invited up to MSFT last week to see what's on there. Susan Dumais from MSR is our first presenter today, and explicitly released what she’s showing from the NDA. Yay! She’s showing…

Again, I’m late on this but…Via Mamamusings, Elizabeth Lane Lawley’s blog. She was one of the “Search Champs” invited up to MSFT last week to see what’s on there.

Susan Dumais from MSR is our first presenter today, and explicitly released what she’s showing from the NDA. Yay!

She’s showing some really nifty stuff, including a personalized search tool that lets you do a web search, then drag a slider to make the results more customized based on what your local computer knows about you. It’s a split screen result, so you see the original results on the left, and the increasingly personalized results on the right. Very, very cool.

Read More
2 Comments on A Peek at What’s Coming from MSFT Search Labs

Still Catching Up…

News and fun items from the past week that I missed: Cops use Google to ID hit and run victim (AP). Neat anecdote, not very interesting in reality. Any cop who isn't using Google already should be fired. Google announces code jam finalists (Google PR). No details, but the big…

News and fun items from the past week that I missed:

Cops use Google to ID hit and run victim (AP). Neat anecdote, not very interesting in reality. Any cop who isn’t using Google already should be fired.

Google announces code jam finalists (Google PR). No details, but the big competition is October 15.

Read More
Leave a comment on Still Catching Up…

Comments Now Have Permalinks

Astute readers of this site (are there any other kind) may note that I've implemented permalinks for all comments. Thanks to Eric Case for the pointer to doing this, and to Scot Hacker, my extraordinary webmaster, for making it happen….

Astute readers of this site (are there any other kind) may note that I’ve implemented permalinks for all comments. Thanks to Eric Case for the pointer to doing this, and to Scot Hacker, my extraordinary webmaster, for making it happen.

6 Comments on Comments Now Have Permalinks

Google’s Web 2 Demo and the UI Plunge

As many have already noted, last week at Web 2.0 Peter Norvig, Google director of search quality, demonstrated word clustering, "named entities," and machine translation technology to the audience. The translation software was impressive, but somehow lacked zing – "good enough" translation doesn't seem like much of a revelation anymore….

labs_logo2As many have already noted, last week at Web 2.0 Peter Norvig, Google director of search quality, demonstrated word clustering, “named entities,” and machine translation technology to the audience. The translation software was impressive, but somehow lacked zing – “good enough” translation doesn’t seem like much of a revelation anymore. That in itself is an extraordinary achievement – Norvig showed translations from Arabic and Chinese – both significantly distinct languages compared to English. Google already has translation features built into its engine (from a third party), but this hand-rolled stuff was far more powerful, it seemed to me.

In any case, the demos that really got the audience going (and me, to be honest) was the named entities and the clustering technology. Seeing anything behind the veil of Google’s real research and development is of course a revelation, but seeing something that was so clearly ready for prime time felt rather close to a declaration of where Google is heading, in particular given the recent moves in the personalization and clustering space from Amazon, Ask, Vivisimo, and Yahoo.

“Named entity extraction” is a relatively new project called which Norvig said Google had been working on for about six months. As Norvig explained the concept – essentially identifying semantically important concepts and the meaning wrapped around them – I couldn’t help but think of WebFountain and my wish (near the end of the post) that Google would add a bit of IBM’s semantic peanut butter into its PageRank chocolate.

Read More
6 Comments on Google’s Web 2 Demo and the UI Plunge

Jeremy Is Back At It…

Yahoo's most well known blogger Jeremy Zawodny is back on the Search team at Yahoo, but this time, with a new remit. From his post today: Well, believe it or not, I'm going back to the Search Team[1] but in a very different role this time. Instead of hacking away…

JZHYahoo’s most well known blogger Jeremy Zawodny is back on the Search team at Yahoo, but this time, with a new remit. From his post today:

Well, believe it or not, I’m going back to the Search Team[1] but in a very different role this time. Instead of hacking away on software bits, I’m going to be working to:
• make sure our products kick the necessary amount of ass
• better communicate what we’re thinking about and building
• incorporate outside feedback and ideas into what we’re doing
• recruit more smart people

And other stuff as it comes up, I’m sure.

Read More
Leave a comment on Jeremy Is Back At It…

Neat.

Biz 2.0, where I wear a columnist hat, has rendered its entire current issue in a quickly readable web format. I like it, though I'm not sure how I'd work it into my daily reading (I am sure that problem is being worked on…). In any case, it's compelling to…

b2webBiz 2.0, where I wear a columnist hat, has rendered its entire current issue in a quickly readable web format. I like it, though I’m not sure how I’d work it into my daily reading (I am sure that problem is being worked on…). In any case, it’s compelling to see it all on screen. Course it helps that I recently got a spiffy Apple 21-inch flat screen…Here’s my column, pictures and all.

UPDATE: Oops, you can’t link deep into the magazine, making it impossible to point, as I tried above, to a particular page. You have to navigate through the table of contents. Gotta get that one fixed, guys!

2 Comments on Neat.

From Pull to Point: How to Save The Economist and The Journal from Irrelevance

The night after the conference ended, I decompressed in my hotel room with Jonathan Weber, my editorial partner in the Industry Standard, and Steve Ellis, who runs an innovative music company called Pump Audio. Talk turned to what constituted "quality writing" in a journalistic sense. I'm not without a dog…

wsjThe night after the conference ended, I decompressed in my hotel room with Jonathan Weber, my editorial partner in the Industry Standard, and Steve Ellis, who runs an innovative music company called Pump Audio. Talk turned to what constituted “quality writing” in a journalistic sense. I’m not without a dog in this particular hunt, as it’s been the central premise of both my previous magazine launches, and is at the center of a new venture I’m noodling now that the conference is over. Steve, who is British, asked Jonathan and I if we thought the Wall Street Journal represented the paragon of American newspaper feature writing. And I thought, Jesus, I haven’t read that paper for months. I pay for the online version of the paper, but given how my reading habits have shifted from pull to point*, the Journal simply has not crossed my radar enough to register.

economistJonathan and I agreed that the Journal pretty much defined the American standard of good page one feature writing, and I copped to being “Journal blind” for the past few quarters. Talk then moved to The Economist. Goodness, it had been ages since I read that magazine as well. I used to subscribe to the paper version (same for the WSJ), and when I did, I signed up for a few email newsletters as well. But for whatever reasons those came intermittently, and they were not very good. Why, I wondered, were these two august bastions of journalism falling off my reading list?

You’ve already guessed, of course. Both require paid subscriptions, and therefore, both do not support deep linking. In other words, both are nearly impossible to find if you get your daily dose of news, analysis and opinion from the blogosphere.

Read More
23 Comments on From Pull to Point: How to Save The Economist and The Journal from Irrelevance

At Least They Didn’t Move to the Valley

News from last week: The heralded one man search engine is getting bigger – both in its index, and its staff. Gigablast increases its index to 650 million pages….and is growing its staff and office space as well. I'm kind of a little sad to see it, in a…

logo News from last week: The heralded one man search engine is getting bigger – both in its index, and its staff. Gigablast increases its index to 650 million pages….and is growing its staff and office space as well. I’m kind of a little sad to see it, in a way, as it was always fun to point to Matt’s work as evidence of what one guy in New Mexico can do. Now it’s a few folks. Still not bad….

Leave a comment on At Least They Didn’t Move to the Valley

Some Caution In Web 2.0

Jason Fried of Basecamp/37 Signals reminds us to stay lightweight, and don't believe the hype. I very much hope the conference, which certainly was upbeat, was not considered hype. It's true, I focused on that which I found interesting, astounding, important, and new…which really does create a bit of novelty…

Jason Fried of Basecamp/37 Signals reminds us to stay lightweight, and don’t believe the hype. I very much hope the conference, which certainly was upbeat, was not considered hype. It’s true, I focused on that which I found interesting, astounding, important, and new…which really does create a bit of novelty exhaustion, as Kottke puts it, over the course of a three-day event.

In any case, I certainly agree with Jason Fried’s advice:

My advice to these new companies with their new products and fresh-faced enthusiasm… Keep it small. Start small and stay small. Borrow from yourself before you borrow from someone else. You can have an impact with just a few people. You can build great products with a small team. You can do it on your own. You can.

2 Comments on Some Caution In Web 2.0

But before I drift off to sleep…

This is a very interesting post on the future of eBay, by Brian Dear. He keys off a question I asked Louis Monier on stage Weds… One of eBay's main selling points for years has been: trust and safety. You're gonna be fine if you buy or sell on…

eBayLogoTM This is a very interesting post on the future of eBay, by Brian Dear. He keys off a question I asked Louis Monier on stage Weds…

One of eBay’s main selling points for years has been: trust and safety. You’re gonna be fine if you buy or sell on eBay, even if the other person in the transaction is a total stranger halfway across the world. And that is true. Most of the time, things are fine. Fraud happens occasionally, but the vast majority of the time, even big transactions like computer and car sales go smoothy.

But now think 2005. Why might we need eBay less and less?

Read More
6 Comments on But before I drift off to sleep…