Posts tagged Google
Posts tagged Google
I’m not sure a religious construct will hold up under strict scrutiny, but this is still an interesting comparison of cloud ideologies:
In a sense, these three companies’ cloud services do represent three different concepts of God. Google is an Old Testament, theist-style cloud all the way: He through whom all blessings and punishments come, who must be praised and supplicated; without the Cloud, you are nothing and have nothing. iCloud represents more of a Deist ideal. The Cloud exists, but its presence is more to be felt than seen; if it does its job right, iCloud will instill great doubt that it even exists, or that it takes any notice of us at all. Amazon is a form of agnosticism. You don’t know if you really believe in it or not, but you do know that on the third weekend of every month this pointy building near the center of town throws a really great bake sale.
Google’s impressive speech recognition is one of the best examples of big data’s practical application. Farhad Manjoo explains:
How does Android’s speech system work so well? The magic of data. Speech recognition is one of a handful of Google’s artificial intelligence programs—the others are language translation and image search—that get their power by analyzing impossibly huge troves of information. For the speech system, the data are a large number of voice recordings. If you’ve used Android’s speech recognition system, Google Voice’s e-mail transcription service, Goog411 (a now-defunct information service), or some other Google speech-related service, there’s a good chance that the company has your voice somewhere on its servers. And it’s only because Google has your voice—and millions of others—that it can recognize mine.
Between Instant search and the new previews (see the image above), Google is doing some fantastic iterations with its core search product.
Annoying to Google, no doubt, but still very funny:
For example, Mr. Oberbeck said, fans of Schalke 04, a soccer team based in the city of Gelsenkirchen, began a campaign to have the stadium of their archrival, Borussia Dortmund, removed from Street View.
Excellent distinction between the approaches of Techmeme and Google News:
In fact, in their very own fields, Techmeme are Mediagazer are more useful than Google News. By crawling through so many sources, with the sole help of a powerful (but aging) algorithm, Google News ends up lacking finesse, precision and selectiveness. It’s a pure product of the engineering culture the search giant is built on, where obsessive hardcore binary thinking sweeps away words like “nuance”, “refinement”, “gradation”.
An offhand sentence in this New York Times article made my brain hurt:
Google also counts text ads that appear on Web sites other than search results pages as display ads.
So, most of the text ads sprinkled across the Interweb are, according to Google, display ads? That’s cheeky at best.
… we started paying companies to reach out to relevant sites and ask them for links
Yeah, well, don’t do that. As someone who receives link requests — many of them from sites that have zero relevance to mine — I have no empathy for anyone who engages in this nonsense.
Take this post with a grain of salt, what with the anonymous and undefined “source” (it’s not even a “source with inside knowledge” or a “Google source” … just “our source”). But if this is legit, the Google/Verizon tablet is going open a very interesting chapter.
Let’s say this thing sells for $199, which seems reasonable since that’s the most common smartphone price point (with an associated contract, of course). That’s a compelling price for a snazzy tablet, particularly when it’s matched up with the $499 iPad or the $629 iPad 3G. And if this story is correct — if HTC is the manufacturer — I expect good things on the design front. The Nexus One, which was also made by HTC, didn’t disrupted the carrier blockade. But there’s no denying it’s a beautiful device.
The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating interview / opinion piece with Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Among his many insights — the article is brimming with good stuff — is Schmidt’s intriguing perspective on serendipity:
… a generation of powerful handheld devices is just around the corner that will be adept at surprising you with information that you didn’t know you wanted to know. “The thing that makes newspapers so fundamentally fascinating—that serendipity—can be calculated now. We can actually produce it electronically,” Mr. Schmidt says.
Newspapers do love their serendipity, mostly because it’s one of the few remaining pro-newspaper defenses that carries weight. But Schmidt’s new and improved definition of serendipity, which really does sound cool, will again push newspapers to the sidelines. Newspaper companies don’t have the core skills needed to pull off the mobile serendipity described in the Journal article:
Let’s say you’re walking down the street. Because of the info Google has collected about you, “we know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are.” Google also knows, to within a foot, where you are. Mr. Schmidt leaves it to a listener to imagine the possibilities: If you need milk and there’s a place nearby to get milk, Google will remind you to get milk. It will tell you a store ahead has a collection of horse-racing posters, that a 19th-century murder you’ve been reading about took place on the next block.
Broadening the view a bit, the Schmidt piece deftly illustrates newspapers’ real skill: creating in-depth, relevant and valuable information and analysis. If they scaled down (way, way down) to that core competency, they’d finally have a legitimate platform to build upon and a true justification for continued existence.
I remember most of these — heck, I used many of them — but a couple were curveballs: Google Catalogs? Google Page Creator?
As for the next product to get the axe, my money is on Knol. It’s a little too “publishy” for Google’s taste.
To be fair, Google’s hits are monsters. I use Gmail, Docs, Reader and Voice on a daily basis and I’d be lost without them. And let’s not forget about that search thing … or the ad thing … or that Android thing …
With Android on the rise (160k activations per day?!) and the Chrome web app store on the way, I’m guessing Google will soon make sweeping changes to the Android Market. This piece from CNET hints at an early first step:
The new mechanism runs in real-time, with a server receiving requests to verify that an app was legitimately purchased through the Android Market.
Getting developers to trust the marketplace is vital. Say what you will about Apple’s policies. It runs a well-tended shop.
Two things I appreciate here:
1. Google recognizes that browser extensions are a geek perk, not something with broad-based appeal. I imagine most Firefox users don’t even know extensions exist. And I imagine even fewer people know Google *has* a browser. All this may change in time, but right now it’s not an issue.
2. I will be stunned — jaw-droppingly stunned — if Google clamps down on ad blocker extensions for Chrome. That would be so insanely stupid. Like, Facebook/Beacon stupid.
Life just got a whole lot harder for SEO professionals:
Previously, we only offered Personalized Search for signed-in users, and only when they had Web History enabled on their Google Accounts. What we’re doing today is expanding Personalized Search so that we can provide it to signed-out users as well. This addition enables us to customize search results for you based upon 180 days of search activity linked to an anonymous cookie in your browser.
Google can change the rules anytime it wants. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since it has a long history of tweaking the system to benefit users. But that means companies that rely on ranking to achieve sales or traffic or some other criteria need to be amazingly agile in their SEO efforts. It’s a game that never ends.
Danny Sullivan and Search Engine Land offers some excellent analysis.
Sidenote: A user who is not signed in can opt-out of personalization, but the process is clunky. You have to run a query and click the “Web History” option in the top right of the search results page. You cannot disable personalization from the Google home page. That means virtually no one will do this unless they’ve got the motivation to follow through.
The claim that we’re making big profits on the back of newspapers also misrepresents the reality. In search, we make our money primarily from advertisements for products. Someone types in digital camera and gets ads for digital cameras. A typical news search—for Afghanistan, say—may generate few if any ads. The revenue generated from the ads shown alongside news search queries is a tiny fraction of our search revenue. [Emphasis added.]
Despite their delight that there is finally a search engine in the market willing to take on Google’s preeminence, Newspaper publishers still have issues with the whole Bing idea. Our sources argue that Bing could jeopardise any standing it has as an agnostic or neutral search engine if it gets into the game of picking and choosing which newspapers should have premium positions on its News service, and paying some but not others for their content. That could backfire both on Bing, but more importantly on the newspapers that would rather sit above that kind of association, especially where they are concerned that readers will wonder about their editorial independence. [Emphasis added.]