Tired of Stanford’s Search Shadow, Berkeley Organizes…

I'm a Berkeley guy, so this was interesting. Cnet has the scoop: U.C. Berkeley, birthplace of early search highflier Inktomi and the school where Google CEO Eric Schmidt got his computer science doctoral degree, is bringing together roughly 20 faculty members from various departments to cross-pollinate work on search…

I’m a Berkeley guy, so this was interesting. Cnet has the scoop:



U.C. Berkeley, birthplace of early search highflier Inktomi and the school where Google CEO Eric Schmidt got his computer science doctoral degree, is bringing together roughly 20 faculty members from various departments to cross-pollinate work on search technology, said Robert Wilensky, the center’s director. The principal areas of focus: privacy, fraud, multimedia search and personalization….

…”If you have 20 researchers interested in search, then getting them together where they are cross-fertilizing ideas, you make something bigger than its parts. You can create a nuclear reaction,” said (Robert Wilensky, the center’s director).

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Web 2.0 Infomercial: Early Reg Discount Expires Monday Night

A while back I reminded you all that if you signed up early for Web 2.0 this year, you'd get a significant discount. We make the early registration for the event invitation only, to give alumni and friends (at least, the ones we had correct emails for) a chance…

Web2-1A while back I reminded you all that if you signed up early for Web 2.0 this year, you’d get a significant discount. We make the early registration for the event invitation only, to give alumni and friends (at least, the ones we had correct emails for) a chance to get a seat first, before we open it up to the public. I’m pleased to say that we have had very strong early registrations, nearly as many now – in mid August – as we had just a week before the event last year.

That means that the conference will probably sell out (sponsorships are nearly sold out, for example). So if you want to come, and grab that earlybird discount, sign up now. If you have not gotten an invitation, consider this post your invite, and head here. You need to fill out a form requesting one, but just say you came via Searchblog, and you’ll get a code to use for registration. When it comes, register asap, as hotel rooms (should you need one) are filling up fast too, and after Monday, the doors swing open for everyone….

BTW, the conference is really coming together. Terry Semel just confirmed, I’ll be interviewing him. So has Shawn Fanning, Yusuf Mehdi (MSN), Jonathan Miller (AOL), Bram Cohen, Pierre Omidyar, Omid Kordestani (SVP and “business founder” at Google), Joshua Schachter (del.icio.us) and many many more. And we have at least 16 killer workshops – on tagging, the future of video, of search (of course), VC 2.0, etc etc etc. The workshops are part of the overall deal now, no separate registration, and they are really going to rock. It all starts Weds morning the 5th of October.

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Second Book Excerpt: Google Goes Public

Given that it's nearly a year since the blessed event, I thought it'd be fun to post a portion of my chapter covering the IPO. This is just a taste, the first 1000 or so words. As always, if I got stuff wrong, let me know…. Success and failure…

Thesearch Bookcover-2Given that it’s nearly a year since the blessed event, I thought it’d be fun to post a portion of my chapter covering the IPO. This is just a taste, the first 1000 or so words. As always, if I got stuff wrong, let me know….



Success and failure are equally disastrous.

—Tennessee Williams

Sergey Brin is jet-lagged; he has the vaguely disoriented look of

a young man still finding his bearings after a very long,

strange trip. I watch him enter a crowded restaurant and look

around for familiar faces—save for me, the persistent author, there

are few. He is in Davos, Switzerland, attending the World Economic

Forum (WEF), the annual conference of political and business lead-

ers. The room is full of captains of industry and members of the

media from around the world, and all of them stop to regard Brin,

who is, quite literally, the man of the moment (he is slated to give a

short dinner presentation that night).

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Why Am I So On About Dr. Lee?

I have no idea. I find him fascinating. Now Dan Farber has given me some justification. He found a letter from Dr. Lee to friends and family in China explaining his move from MSFT to Google and had it translated. It says a lot about what Google means to…

I have no idea. I find him fascinating. Now Dan Farber has given me some justification. He found a letter from Dr. Lee to friends and family in China explaining his move from MSFT to Google and had it translated. It says a lot about what Google means to engineers. From Dan’s post:

Lee writes, “Microsoft is an outstanding company, and there are many things we can learn from it. But Google is a company that makes feel a shock. The reason Google gives me a shock is the passion for creating a new generation of technology. I found treasures in Google everywhere. The technology and products are way beyond just the search.”

At the end of the letter, Lee gives his formula for why Google is his choice:

youth + freedom + transparency + new model + the general public’s benefit + belief in trust = The Miracle of Google

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UnBooked

Cnet: Google Pauses Library Project. All I can say is – let's work this out, folks. This ain't Napster. I know the book industry has issues with this, and they are significant, but man, they are completely shooting themselves in the foot if they don't figure out how to…

Cnet: Google Pauses Library Project.

All I can say is – let’s work this out, folks. This ain’t Napster. I know the book industry has issues with this, and they are significant, but man, they are completely shooting themselves in the foot if they don’t figure out how to leverage Google and search in general to sell down the long tail. Sheesh.

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More On Yahoo, Google, Index, Size

I had a long chat today with folks from Yahoo about the ongoing "size matters" tempest, and it was once again enlightening. I'm planning a longer post on all this, but the upshot of our conversation was that Yahoo stands by its number, that it agrees with many that…

I had a long chat today with folks from Yahoo about the ongoing “size matters” tempest, and it was once again enlightening. I’m planning a longer post on all this, but the upshot of our conversation was that Yahoo stands by its number, that it agrees with many that size alone does not matter, that any claims that any one company can accurately estimate another’s index are simply not defensible, and that, in the end, the proof will be in the results.

Yahoo also acknowledged that it was certainly aware of the PR angle when it made its announcement, and that given Google’s home page claim regarding index size, it was hardly a new tactic to tout that number.

I think there’s more to this story than meets the eye, in terms of a major, multi-billion dollar tussle for the hearts, minds, and pocket books of millions of web users. Sure, the math is hard, and the science even harder, but at the end of the day, I think size matters, a lot. Maybe not so much to the ultimate results one gets – that may well be a case of “it’s not the size of the wand, it’s how you wave it” – but in terms of bragging rights and marketing mojo. Perhaps the ultimate end game of this all will be a deeper cultural awareness of what constitutes good search, but then again, no one ever got rich overestimating the public’s taste for nuance.

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Murdoch: Late to the Search Party, But He’s Bringing Lots of Booze

From this DJ story: "Make no mistake, our commitment to this space and this business will constitute a major part of the company's growth, profits and asset building over the next several years," Murdoch told investors and analysts during a conference call to discuss fiscal fourth-quarter results. "We believe…

MurdochFrom this DJ story:

“Make no mistake, our commitment to this space and this business will constitute a major part of the company’s growth, profits and asset building over the next several years,” Murdoch told investors and analysts during a conference call to discuss fiscal fourth-quarter results. “We believe through our superior collection of News Corporation assets, and through further strategic and targeted acquisitions, we can very quickly become a major player in this industry.”

News Corp., which in July agreed to pay $580 million for Web concern Intermix Media Inc. as part of a new Internet strategy, could spend a total of about $1 billion on acquisitions, Murdoch said. “Now, something may come along to change that, but it wouldn’t change it…by more than another billion. This is not something we’re putting tens of billions into or need to.”

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August Is the Month of Speculation

First, I have very good confirmation that the earlier Meetro-Google rumour is false. Second, Rafat has a rundown on the word that Newscorp/Murdoch is on the prowl for search properties. Update: The Yahoo Alibaba story is true, but you knew that……

First, I have very good confirmation that the earlier Meetro-Google rumour is false. Second, Rafat has a rundown on the word that Newscorp/Murdoch is on the prowl for search properties.

Update: The Yahoo Alibaba story is true, but you knew that…

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In This Battle, Size Does Matter: Google Responds to Yahoo Index Claims

As I posted earlier, Yahoo's claim of indexing more than 20 billion items ruffled more than a few feathers across the web, and nowhere more distinctly than at Google. I spent an hour or so on the phone with a group of Google folks, and they shared a lot…

Goog SizeAs I posted earlier, Yahoo’s claim of indexing more than 20 billion items ruffled more than a few feathers across the web, and nowhere more distinctly than at Google. I spent an hour or so on the phone with a group of Google folks, and they shared a lot of information about how they measure index size, how they deal with issues of duplicate URLs and documents, and why they are baffled by Yahoo’s claim.

I am still reporting this story, so a longer post is forthcoming, but an update at the end of the day is worth penning.

First of all, I agreed to review some of the Google information on background, agreeing not to disclose it save with permission. (I agreed to this only if I could tell you all that I did in fact agree to it). I am still digesting what Google had to say, and the information they sent me, but it did leave a distinct set of questions percolating in my mind, questions that I plan to speak to Yahoo about (Yahoo has agreed to talk as well, we just haven’t had time yet).

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A Mea Culpa

Kind readers have contacted me of late asking if I'm perhaps a bit overworked, as the analysis and timeliness of this site has suffered in recent months. Is it the new company or preparations for Web 2.0? The fact that the book is pretty much finished? Summer doldrums? Or…

SearchblogKind readers have contacted me of late asking if I’m perhaps a bit overworked, as the analysis and timeliness of this site has suffered in recent months. Is it the new company or preparations for Web 2.0? The fact that the book is pretty much finished? Summer doldrums? Or perhaps a case of blog burnout?

Truth is, it’s most of that, plus a bit more (save the burnout part – I have never not wanted to work on this site). First off, let me apologize for the shorter posts, and the paucity of analysis of late. While I didn’t plan on it, Searchblog turned from a way to communicate with a few hundred folks about a book I was authoring to a nearly full time job. Trouble was, I already have a few other full time (or nearly so) jobs, including Web 2.0 and the new company I am now starting. It’s real work to write a good site, even when you have the support of an entire community. It needs at least a few hours a day, if not more. Just responding to the PR requests, along with doing original reporting, can take up to half a day.

When you can’t give your site that kind of time, it’s immediately evident. Many authors I’ve spoken with – in particular those who author sites in their “free time” and have a day job – are feeling pushed to the limits, and are searching for a way to do what they love full time. This is why I’m starting FM – to provide what I hope will be an infrastructure and support system that will allow our authors to make a real living doing what they do best.

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