Wolf on Amazon

Yesterday I meant to note Gary's latest piece of wonderful writing, The Great Library of Amazonia. It's in the upcoming issue of Wired, and it relates a key insight that authors really grok (thanks Steven Johnson) – in the age of Google, books are increasingly valuable as resources for contextualized…

Yesterday I meant to note Gary’s latest piece of wonderful writing, The Great Library of Amazonia. It’s in the upcoming issue of Wired, and it relates a key insight that authors really grok (thanks Steven Johnson) – in the age of Google, books are increasingly valuable as resources for contextualized knowledge. Books are highly processed, extremely linked texts, but their power has been largely absent from mainstream search engines. Chalk one up for Amazon Book Search, which was first to bring this power to search. I imagine it’s driving folks at Google and Yahoo nuts.

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Network TV: It ain’t working

What a surprise (see my rant below). What *is* surprising is for Ad Age to hype the fact. SURVEY: NETWORK TV DOES WORST JOB OF PROVING ADVERTISING ROI…

What a surprise (see my rant below). What *is* surprising is for Ad Age to hype the fact. SURVEY: NETWORK TV DOES WORST JOB OF PROVING ADVERTISING ROI

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Again With The IPO

I was in LA Friday, and offline, but even there folks were buzzing about the FT.com report on the Google IPO, which claimed that Google was close to going public, and was seriously considering WR Hambrecht's auction process as its path to the public markets (caveat: The Hambrechts are friends,…

I was in LA Friday, and offline, but even there folks were buzzing about the FT.com report on the Google IPO, which claimed that Google was close to going public, and was seriously considering WR Hambrecht’s auction process as its path to the public markets (caveat: The Hambrechts are friends, so I am inclined to support the auction process). Two quick thoughts: First, the reporting on this is extremely thin, with one unnamed source in the FT piece spawning a media feeding frenzy (105 articles on Google News within 24 hours), none of which had any more information, as far as I could tell, save this WashPost piece that quotes Andy Bechtolsheim, one of Google’s first investors. There’s no question Google is and has been talking to investment banks, it’d be irresponsible for them not to be, and they’ve been doing it for months. You have to wonder if that one source was an investment banker, looking to prod Google into action.
Secondly, it’s kind of fun to note that for whatever reason, the Google IPO news leads Google News itself, at least today, thanks probably to the frenzied linking around the story from the blogosphere.

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Where Are All the Viewers?

While I was in NY this week talking to media types this article was published in the NYT, asking why the new network shows (such as The Next Joe Millionaire et al) were not drawing in the young viewers they were designed to snare. "It's a mystery" seemed to be…

While I was in NY this week talking to media types this article was published in the NYT, asking why the new network shows (such as The Next Joe Millionaire et al) were not drawing in the young viewers they were designed to snare. “It’s a mystery” seemed to be the theme of the article, which went on to blame everything from Iraq (!) to complicated television hardware. Please! Doesn’t anyone at the Times realize these folks are online, and on cell phones, or simply not interested anymore? If a show sucks, or seems to suck, or – particularly – if their friends are not *talking about it*, they will tune it out, or watch The Daily Show on TiVo, or whatever.

The article has a built in presumption that whatever is heavily hyped by a network will certainly draw its appointed Neilsen rating. After all, they hyped the new shows during the baseball playoffs, and those had great ratings! What went wrong? Steve Outing points (in E-Media Tidbits) to the lack of interactivity in these shows, but that’s only part of it. It’s also that the networks have failed two basic tests of making good media in the Internet age – connecting with a built in community (as all great magazines, sites, and blogs do), and promoting through trusted channels. The only real promotion Fox does for its shows is…during other Fox shows. And the only thing they are selling is the same kind of television experience as everyone else – titilation and escape. That’s not exactly a diverse ecology, and audience members are wising up.

It’s interesting to note that “hits” like Queer Eye or Trading Spaces have devoted audiences in the hundreds of thousands – audiences that look remarkably like magazine readerships. Hmmmm. More on this to come.

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The Google IPO, again

The favorite topic of many a wag in the Valley, the Google IPO has once again been revived, this time by Barrons, and Eric Savitz, no less, The Standard's old EE. Eric is conservative in his reporting of the numbers (I've heard estimates of a hell of a lot more…

The favorite topic of many a wag in the Valley, the Google IPO has once again been revived, this time by Barrons, and Eric Savitz, no less, The Standard’s old EE. Eric is conservative in his reporting of the numbers (I’ve heard estimates of a hell of a lot more profit than $100 million this year, and more revenues than $700 million), but in any case it’s a lot. Speculation about the triggering of section 12(g) of the 1934 SEC Act (more than 500 shareholders = public filing requirements similar to an IPO) has been rife for nearly a year, given the number of Google employees – I recall the same issues being raised at Wired and The Standard (not that we had to worry in the end!). So, as Eric concludes, we finally have a time horizon for The IPO That Will Cure Cancer, Save The World, and Tie Your Shoes For You, Spring 2004.

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Google Use Tips

Speaking of Tara, here's a good summary of the best tips in her book Google Hacks. Worth anyone reading who uses Google quite a bit. 20 Great Google Secrets….

Speaking of Tara, here’s a good summary of the best tips in her book Google Hacks. Worth anyone reading who uses Google quite a bit. 20 Great Google Secrets.

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Deep (Invisible) Web Resources

Saw this thanks to a recent Research Buzz (Thanks Tara)…this is one man's obsession – the Rest of the Web, that huge resource of information that is not digital or not formatted to be crawled….it's called the Deep Web Research Subject Tracer

Saw this thanks to a recent Research Buzz (Thanks Tara)…this is one man’s obsession – the Rest of the Web, that huge resource of information that is not digital or not formatted to be crawled….it’s called the <a title="Deep Web Research Subject Tracer

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Microsoft and Overture (Yahoo): Wed till 05

Many thought (including me) that MSFT would boot Overture as soon as they could once Yahoo bought the company, but not many thought it would take another two years to happen. This is clearly a marriage of convenience, but it points to two realities: one, it creates a timeline: Microsoft…

Many thought (including me) that MSFT would boot Overture as soon as they could once Yahoo bought the company, but not many thought it would take another two years to happen.
This is clearly a marriage of convenience, but it points to two realities: one, it creates a timeline: Microsoft now has two years to get its own Adwords/Overture type product ready for market (probably to coincide with the introduction of their algorithmic search ), and two, any predictions that Microsoft might buy Google are now looking increasingly unrealistic.

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Again, The Death of Tivo

The NYT's piece today on TiVo once again questions the company's prospects, and lays the blame for its possible demise on cable obivating the company's hardware business by incorporating TiVo-like features into set top boxes. But as usual the piece ignores the implications of what happens to consumer choice and…

The NYT’s piece today on TiVo once again questions the company’s prospects, and lays the blame for its possible demise on cable obivating the company’s hardware business by incorporating TiVo-like features into set top boxes. But as usual the piece ignores the implications of what happens to consumer choice and the future of ideas (in the Lessig sense) if we allow cable companies to control what features are available on PVRs. Not only do we lose the freedom to tinker, we also push intelligence, such that it is, into the cable companies’ systems, and away from the edges. Sigh. Time for Apple to step in?

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Transparency v. Trust

While on the plane, I finished reading an as yet published story by Cory Doctorow, who was kind enough to send it my way. Cory is one of the great projectors/predictors of tech/culture collision, and in this tale, titled "Human Readable," Cory use the inherent clash between engineers – who…

While on the plane, I finished reading an as yet published story by Cory Doctorow, who was kind enough to send it my way. Cory is one of the great projectors/predictors of tech/culture collision, and in this tale, titled “Human Readable,” Cory use the inherent clash between engineers – who implicitly trust that all human problems can be solved by elegant code – and humanists – who believe that trusting in code alone is a recipe for abuse, and possibly worse. This tension is certainly playing out in the world of search – with most of the paranoia around Google and other search engines driven – in essence – by seemingly cold, soulless and maddeningly opaque code. Worthy of note: Cory’s first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, takes Page Rank to the next level and beyond. A great read.

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