About Sun’s Grid…

So soon Sun is going to launch its utility computing grid, open to all for rent. In Jonathan's post covering the launch here, I wonder, really, truly – isn't Google the clear competitor here? Oh, wait, no, it's already Amazon. I'm pinging Jonathan to ask about this. Google is…

Sun UtilSo soon Sun is going to launch its utility computing grid, open to all for rent. In Jonathan’s post covering the launch here, I wonder, really, truly – isn’t Google the clear competitor here? Oh, wait, no, it’s already Amazon. I’m pinging Jonathan to ask about this. Google is Sun’s partner, but will they also be fundamental competitors? (Thanks, James)

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Abortion, Adoption, Amazon

This NYT story is getting some pickup across the mainstream mediasphere, it demonstrates how search and clickstream habits can create sticky political wickets. From the piece: Amazon.com last week modified its search engine after an abortion rights organization complained that search results appeared skewed toward anti-abortion books. Until a…

This NYT story is getting some pickup across the mainstream mediasphere, it demonstrates how search and clickstream habits can create sticky political wickets. From the piece:

Amazon.com last week modified its search engine after an abortion rights organization complained that search results appeared skewed toward anti-abortion books.

Until a few days ago, a search of Amazon’s catalog of books using the word “abortion” turned up pages with the question, “Did you mean adoption?” at the top, followed by a list of books related to abortion.

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News: Google.Portal.Finance Launches

(image credit) It may not be live for a bit, but I just got off the phone with the product manager for Google Finance. Today the site is finally launching. The UK sites already have the story. A few thoughts. First, this marks a rolling shift at Google -…

Gvy

(image credit) It may not be live for a bit, but I just got off the phone with the product manager for Google Finance. Today the site is finally launching. The UK sites already have the story. A few thoughts.

First, this marks a rolling shift at Google – the company is getting into publishing, whether or not it wants to admit it. The product manager, Katie Jacobs Stanton, admitted as much when we spoke – Google Finance will have a Groups section where stocks are discussed with paid moderators – that’s editors to you and me. And that’s a shift, a shift that is worth noting.

Second, Google is integrating its Finance section as the first link in its one box implementation, ahead of Yahoo and the others who previously got the free Google juice (see it in action HERE). Now the first results are going to…well…Google. That’s obviously the right thing to do for the business, but it brings up the question – is Google in the pure unadulterated we don’t mess with your results at all we’re totally objective search business, or….is it in the Yahoo business of being a content company? Think about that on for a second. (For more, read my book on this tension.)

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An Interesting Note in Google’s 10K: No Favored Nation Status for AOL

Thanks to Bear Stearn's Robert Peck, for doing the work, in the summary of the 10K he finds: Google also stated that they have substantially completed negotiations with Time Warner and AOL and expect the investment to close in 2Q06. One of the prior elements in the agreement, “making…

Shark-TmThanks to Bear Stearn’s Robert Peck, for doing the work, in the summary of the 10K he finds:

Google also stated that they have substantially completed negotiations with Time Warner and AOL and expect the investment to close in 2Q06. One of the prior elements in the agreement, “making AOL content more accessible to Google web crawlers”, was removed, likely due to concerns that Google would give AOL’s content preferential treatment in its search results. AOL represented 9% of revenues in 05, down from 12% of revenues in 04.



So, it seems, Google and AOL have quietly dropped one of the most controversial elements of the deal. Remember the hubbub (I made a shark jumping comment, you may recall)?

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Google Wins (For The Most Part) Against DOJ

Google was due some good news, and yesterday (sorry, was traveling to Spring Training with my son…) it got some. From the Google Blog: Google will not have to hand over any user's search queries to the government. That's what a federal judge ruled today when he decided to…

Goovdoj-Tm

Google was due some good news, and yesterday (sorry, was traveling to Spring Training with my son…) it got some. From the Google Blog:

Google will not have to hand over any user’s search queries to the government. That’s what a federal judge ruled today when he decided to drastically limit a subpoena issued to Google by the Department of Justice. (You can read the entire ruling here and the government’s original subpoena here.)

The government’s original request demanded billions of URLs and two month’s worth of users’ search queries. Google resisted the subpoena, prompting the judge’s order today. In addition to excluding search queries from the subpoena, Judge James Ware also required the government to limit its demand for URLs to 50,000. We will fully comply with the judge’s order.

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CenSEARCHip

A neat project at the Indiana School of Infomatics compares Google US and China for the same search. Fascinating to see the results build on the fly. The site uses a variation of a tag map from the results, as opposed to just the results themselves. From the about…

Censearchip

A neat project at the Indiana School of Infomatics compares Google US and China for the same search. Fascinating to see the results build on the fly. The site uses a variation of a tag map from the results, as opposed to just the results themselves. From the about page:

When you click the “Web Search” button, each side of the display will first show you an estimate of how many English-language results the search engine has for that national version. Our system will then begin downloading the top few pages that are unique to that country’s results. As the pages are downloaded, you’ll see a set of words of varying size in each half of the display.

We get those words by breaking the pages up into individual terms, throwing out some common noise words (“and”, “the”, etc.), and tallying up the results. We then find the 50 words that have the highest relative frequency of use on each side and draw them in a font size proportional to their frequency. For example, if you see that the word violin is very large on the Chinese side of the display, that means that the pages unique to the Chinese search results use the word violin much more often than the pages unique to the United States search results.



You can also see image searches. Unfortunately it does not support inline URL searches so I can’t link to specific searches, but try Dali Lama, or Falun Gong, or Tiananmen (image results shown below).

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Please, Give me LiveSoft (Or…Please Split Up Microsoft!)

I've been thinking about Microsoft lately, maybe because I've been in an email dialog with Gary Flake, or because I just interviewed Ray Ozzie for my column, or because, perhaps, of silly speeches given by Gates like this one, which was summarized thusly by a news service I subscribe…

MicrodinoI’ve been thinking about Microsoft lately, maybe because I’ve been in an email dialog with Gary Flake, or because I just interviewed Ray Ozzie for my column, or because, perhaps, of silly speeches given by Gates like this one, which was summarized thusly by a news service I subscribe to:

“The cell phone will become a “digital wallet,” able to receive e-mail and even scan business cards, while computers and TVs will merge, predicts Microsoft chief Bill Gates.”

Now, I know it’s Gates’ job to make the world of tech seem approachable and understandable to the typical MS Office user – the same person who apparently has a dinosaur for a head and stopped paying attention to technology somewhere back in 1997. But g’damn, we’ve been hearing this speech for more than ten years now, and if Microsoft ever wants to get back out in front of the pack in technology, if it really wants to lead again, as it did in the mid 1990s, it needs to do one simple thing: Split the company up.

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