David Kirkpatrick

November 17, 2010

The erosion of personal privacy continues

Filed under: Business, Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:41 am

And a to a very large extent, the violated are willfully doing it to themselves. I really wonder, do most people have no idea what data mining is and what it can do given a substantial amount of personal information? Maybe the boy-wonder CEOs of Google and Facebook are right, and most people just don’t care.

From the link:

In this cell-phone-centric age, your friends might learn that you’ve gone to see a movie when you arrive at the theater and check in on Facebook or Foursquare. But that’s probably too late to function as anything more than a boast. An iPhone app called Blaze Mobile Wallet tells them the instant you book a ticket in advance, giving them time to respond and meet you there.

When users pay for a reservation using the app, which debits funds from a prepaid account, a Facebook post lets friends know all the details: film, theater, and show time. “It makes it more likely that friends will join them at the movie,” says Michelle Fisher, CEO of Blaze Mobile, one of a slew of companies exploring how cell phones that act as wallets can encourage new connections between friends—and between businesses and their customers.

 

August 19, 2010

Google’s Eric Schmidt is losing his mind

Filed under: Business, Media, Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:28 pm

What’s the deal with CEOs of big name internet companies going off the rails? Here’s Yahoo’s Carol Bartz from back in May, and now Google’s Eric Schmidt has made an increasing series of completely ridiculous statements culminating (for now) with this doozy. I hope this was said tongue-in-cheek and didn’t translate to the printed word. For some reason I doubt it. Do no evil, indeed.

From the second link:

Google (GOOG) is often accused of behaving like Big Brother, and Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt isn’t doing much to dispel those perceptions. In fact, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Schmidt dropped an interesting — and frightening — tidbit: perhaps people should change their names upon reaching adulthood to eradicate the potentially reputation-damaging search records Google keeps.

“‘I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time,’ [Schmidt] says. He predicts, apparently seriously, that every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends’ social media sites,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

June 3, 2010

Google’s Chrome OS coming out this fall

As much as I love the Chrome browser, I don’t see myself switching to the Chrome OS, but it will be very interesting to see how quickly it’s adopted and how it actually works out in the wild stability- and privacy-wise. Particularly the latter of those two.

From the link:

Google said Wednesday it is planning to release its Chrome operating system, seen as a rival to Microsoft’s Windows system, for free in the autumn.

May 25, 2010

Even more on social media and privacy

And this one isn’t just limited to Facebook.

Social networking sites may be sharing a lot more of your identifying data with their advertisers than you realize.

From the link:

A report in the Wall Street Journal indicates that a number of social networking sites (including Facebook, MySpace, and Digg) may be sharing users’ personal information with advertisers. Since the Journal started looking into this possible breach of privacy, both Facebook and MySpace have moved to make changes.

The practice is actually a somewhat defensible one–and most of the companies involved did try to defend it–in which the advertisers receive information on the last page viewed before the user clicked on their ad. This is common practice all over the web, and, in most cases, is no issue–advertisers receive information on the last page viewed, which cannot be traced back to the user. In the case of social networking sites, the information on the last page viewed often reveals user names or profile ID numbers that could potentially be used to look up the individuals.

Depending on what those individuals have made public, advertisers can then see anything from hometowns to real names.

The Journal interviewed some of the advertisers who received the data (including Google’s (GOOG) DoubleClick and Yahoo’s (YHOO) Right Media), who said they were unaware of the data and had not used it.

For some reason I find that last claim from DoubleClick and Right Media a bit hard to believe.

May 3, 2010

Yahoo’s Carol Bartz must be high

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:35 pm

That’s the only way to explain her very odd mischaracterization of Google in this BBC article unless she was massively quoted out of context. If she’s running the company and has that poor of mental grasp on the competition, I’d be very, very concerned as a shareholder for the future of the company.

From the link:

“Google is going to have a problem because Google is only known for search,” said Ms Bartz.

“It is only half our business; it’s 99.9% of their business. They’ve got to find other things to do.

“Google has to grow a company the size of Yahoo every year to be interesting.”

Find other things to do? I’m no Google cheerleader (although I absolutely love the Chrome browser), but is she serious? I think I answered that in the previous parenthetical reference. Now I know Bartz was talking about monetized business, but even facing the Facebook threat to online ad revenue I seriously doubt Google has any short- or even mid-term concerns to remaining enormously profitable.

Maybe the tone of the interview was driven by a little industry jealousy. Just for fun let’s compare the recently released Q1 earnings reports for each.

Yahoo! (released April 20, 2010)

revenue: just under $1.6M, up one percent over first quarter 2009

Google (released April 15, 2010)

revenue: $6.77B, up 23 percent over last year’s first quarter

Now that is a difference in revenue. Yahoo is below two million and Google is below seven billion. Good interview, Carol. It’s always smart to call out your competition when you’re operating from a position of strength. Oh, wait …

April 21, 2010

The downside of Google’s Chrome OS?

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:04 pm

Privacy issues. I consider privacy the big bugaboo of cloud computing in general, and the simple nature of Google’s Chrome operating system and the company’s penchant for (really its corporate raison d’etre) data mining the potential for serious abuse of user data is there.

I don’t have a problem with all data mining and I certainly understand what Google does and why. I absolutely love the Chrome browser and recommend it for everyone, and I use Gmail for a number of secondary email accounts, but I’m not even close to ready to trusting all my data to a cloud controlled by Google, or any other entity for that matter.

From the link:

The naming scheme is no accident. It reflects Google’s ambition to create an operating system that is all but indistinguishable from the browser. Gone will be the normal files, directories, and applications. Instead, Chrome OS will put Google’s cloud computing infrastructure–services and applications delivered over the Internet from its vast array of servers–at the heart of practically everything you do. Within a few years, Chrome OS could become the planet’s simplest, fastest, and safest environment for personal computing. But there’s a catch: it will also make Google the gatekeeper of your personal information. It could let Google delve further into your data to make its online advertising business more profitable than ever.

There is one upside — your “backup” data is located in your computer, so when it craps out the real data still resides on Google’s servers and isn’t lost. That alone might make the Chrome OS attractive to some people.

Also from the link:

Google’s engineers have explained that Chrome OS will use your computer’s hard drive as a cache, making copies of whatever you’re working on so that you won’t burn up your netbook’s wireless data plan (or your batteries). All that personal data will be encrypted, so you won’t need to worry if you happen to lose the machine. And if for some reason your computer gets corrupted–perhaps by a virus–you’ll be able to wipe it and start over without losing any work at all, since your data is stored in the cloud.

April 8, 2010

Cyberwar food for thought

The CIO.com daily newsletter had a lot of cyberwar coverage today, and there’s plenty to think about when contemplating the future of national security.

Here’s highlights from three articles.

First up, is the U.S. the most at-risk nation in the world vis-a-vis cyber attack? Facts on the ground ought to give a little pause.

From the link:

Although the United States likely has the best cyberwar capabilities in the world, “that offensive prowess cannot make up for the weaknesses in our defensive position,” one-time presidential advisor Richard Clarke argues in his forthcoming book Cyber War.

Clarke — who served as special advisor to the president for cybersecurity in 2001 and now teaches at Harvard’s Kennedy School for Government and works at Good Harbor Consulting — fears that any outbreak of cyber warfare would spill over into more violent conflict.

“Far from being an alternative to conventional war, cyber war may actually increase the likelihood of the more traditional combat with explosives, bullets and missiles,” Clarke writes in his book, which is due out April 20.

Next up, when the cyber attack happens here, what’s the chain-of-command and other protocols? Not as easy to answer as I’d like because of the widespread nature of cyber attack and the likely integral involvement of private enterprise. It’s akin to bombing a factory without the obvious military-based response.

From the link:

Because possible return fire could come from traditional military, intelligence, diplomatic or economic agencies — and perhaps even from private business — the United States needs a set of policies and procedures for cyberwarfare that are still in the making, experts say.

The president’s top cyber adviser, Howard Schmidt, has said in interviews that the responsibility for cybersecurity is a shared responsibility between public and private sectors. And within the government it will be shared among government agencies but not in a well-defined way. “Who’s in charge?” asks Jamie Sanbower, the director of security for Force 3, an integrator that works with the federal government. “That’s the number-one challenge we’re facing right now.”

And finally more analysis of the Google/China issue, and does it signal the beginning of a public cyberwarefare age? If nothing else, with a very concrete example to turn to, expect a lot more mainstream coverage of cyberwar issues

From the final link:

Many see the attacks as evidence that the U.S. is already in the midst of an undeclared cyberwar, with attacks against government targets estimated to have more than doubled in the past two years. Just last week, a top FBI official called cyberattacks an “existential threat” to the U.S. On Friday, two U.S. senators now pushing cybersecurity legislation in Congress reiterated those sentiments.

And Mike McConnell the former director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and director of national intelligence during the Bush administration, recently said in a Washington Post (WPO) column that the U.S is not only fighting such a war, it’s also losing the battle.

April 3, 2010

Reaching out to ET …

Filed under: et.al., Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:22 pm

… here’s one idea.

From the link:

Or perhaps people shouldn’t bother composing a message at all. Another scientist, astronomer Seth Shostak, has proposed that we just broadcast everything on the Google servers out to aliens.

“Instead of trying to think of what’s fundamental, just send them a lot of data and let them sort through and find the pattern,” Vakoch said.

Vakoch discussed some of the issues around interstellar message composition in a recent paper in the journal Acta Astronautica.

April 2, 2010

The latest on Google and China

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:51 pm

The whole story is full of twists, turns and more than a little Kabuki theater (yeah, I know Kabuki isn’t Chinese).

Here’s the latest:

The Chinese government apparently slowed access to Google (GOOG) Web sites earlier this week, as the search giant last night backed off earlier statements that access to the site was blocked by changes Google made to the engine’s search parameters.

Google had disclosed early this week some users in China were unable to complete Google searches or had intermittent trouble accessing any of Google’s Chinese-language sites.

That disclosure prompted some immediate speculation that China was blocking access to the sites because of Google’s decision to stop censoring search results in the country.

The speculation abated yesterday afternoon when Google announced that it had accidentally caused the blockage itself.

A spokeswoman told Computerworld then that access to the Chinese site, now run out of Hong Kong, was blocked because its programmers had added a series of letters — gs_rfai — to the Web addresses of Google search pages. The spokeswoman explained that “rfa” is associated with Radio Free Asia, a site that China has long blocked. Therefore, adding them automatically caused Google’s site to be blocked there.

Now, Google says that something in China’s Internet filter, or “great firewall,” caused the site to be blocked.

March 24, 2010

Google and China …

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:11 pm

… a good move? Looks like at least some analysts think it’ll help Google’s image.

From the link:

People using Google.cn are now redirected to Google.com.hk, where they are given uncensored search results in simplified Chinese. Google is running Google.com.hk off of servers located in Hong Kong.

“Google made a smart move,” said Augie Ray, an analyst at Forrester. “Rather than unilaterally pulling out, they took an action that puts the ball back into China’s court.”

“While Google feels redirecting Chinese users to their Hong Kong site and search results is ‘entirely legal’, it seems unlikely the Chinese government will see this as anything other than an attempt to bypass their laws and direction. Given the impasse that Google and China came to on the issue of censorship, this move by Google seems a little less brave than inevitable,” Ray said.

Google had taken its lumps for agreeing earlier to follow Chinese law and censor search results in China . That wasn’t a popular move with critics in the West.

Monday’s move, however, may go a long way to cleaning some of that tarnish off its image. “Google is generating a great deal of press for taking on an issue that many in the U.S. care deeply about,” Ray said.

March 13, 2010

Google makes cloud acquisition

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:20 pm

This move really pushes Microsoft because it’s going to give Google’s users the opportunity to access full-featured Microsoft Office files in the cloud before Microsoft provides that service.

From the link:

Late last week, Google (GOOG) made another aggressive move to stay ahead of Microsoft (MSFT) in the online productivity tools space by acquiring DocVerse, a startup founded by two former Microsoft employees, known for tools that let users collaborate on Microsoft Office files on the Web.

Google nabbed the three-year-old, San Francisco-based DocVerse for $25 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. What Google gets in return is the technology to make Microsoft Office operate more like Google Docs.

DocVerse provides a 1MB plug-in to Office 2007 that allows users to edit and share Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents online and in real-time with all the features of the Office client versions intact.

Bing gaining search engine market share …

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:12 pm

… but just barely. I’ve seen more than a few tech stories covering Bing’s modest gains in search engine market share. All well and good, but it’s worth looking at the actual numbers and some of the reasons for that gain. Let’s just say I think the Redmond bunch should probably keep the champagne on ice and heed the advice of Winston Wolf. (In case you don’t remember Wolf, he’s the “Pulp Fiction” character who used a rather colorful idiom to keep Vince and Jules’ ego in check.)

Microsoft is gaining market share, but at a very high cost. Bing has had the living hell marketed out of it, particularly on television. If all that money creates converts who consistently use Bing over Google, and market share keeps growing, it’ll be worth the cost. Right now I’m guessing whatever money Microsoft is earning from Bing is dwarfed by the search engine’s marketing budget. Microsoft has a long and proud history of losing a ton of money in a market area they want to enter and challenge a rival (see: Xbox gaming console.)

Now let’s look at the actual numbers and see just how far behind Google Bing really is, and how it may not be chipping away at the targeted rival at all, but actually stealing market share from its now partner, Yahoo.

From the first link:

December 2009 January 2010 February 2010
Google 72.25% 71.49% 70.95%
Yahoo 14.83% 14.57% 14.57%
Bing 8.92% 9.37% 9.70%

Source: Hitwise

And:

January 2010 February 2010
Google 65.4% 65.5%
Yahoo 17.0% 16.8%
Bing 11.3% 11.5%

Source: comScore

Also from the first link:

Bing search engine may still be a bit player in the lucrative online search business dominated byGoogle, but it’s slowly and steadily gaining users. And it appears that Bing’s share is coming at the expense of both Google (GOOG) and Yahoo, the latter of which recentlyteamed up with Microsoft to be more competitive in online search.

A commenter at the link made a great point that some of this gain could be from Windows 7 users retaining — at least for now — the Bing default search engine option.

March 2, 2010

Google is serious about developing solar

Filed under: Business, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:35 pm

Very serious.  A solar thermal plant pumping out electricity at 5 cents/kWh (or less!?!) would be pretty amazing. This advance in efficiency is coming through a redesign of the mirrors with new material on both the reflective surface and the substrate.

From the link:

Google announced last year that they were working on new technology that would make solar thermal energy cheaper than coal.  Just a few months later, they have a prototype and expect a product to be ready in as little as a year.

And:

The prototype is being internally tested before more rigorous external testing, but two solar companies, BrightSource and eSolar, are already interested in the technology.  Google is a major investor in both companies and has said if the prototype works, the companies would use the technology.

February 12, 2010

Can China’s computer manufacturing industry be trusted?

A very good question, and the current answer is a bit unsettling.

From the link:

Is it safe to buy Chinese-made computer equipment?With Google and the National Security Agency now teaming up to investigate supposed Chinese hacking and most of our PC hardware coming from China, it’s a fair question. And a hard one to answer with certainty.

It is made more urgent by a report in the Sunday Times newspaper that Chinese spies in the U.K. have been handing out bugged memory sticks and cameras to targeted businesses in an attempt to steal the companies’ intellectual property.

Headlined, “China bugs and burgles Britain,” the story quotes a classified report from MI5–their equivalent of our CIA–and says, “The gifts–cameras and memory sticks –have been found to contain electronic Trojan bugs which provide the Chinese with remote access to users’ computers.”

My friend, security blogger Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, yesterday posted an item suggesting it wouldn’t be too difficult for Chinese PC manufacturers to build backdoors into their products and use them to spy on pretty much anyone.

“If China’s government really is hell-bent on keeping an eye on American and European businesses, why not just incorporate 21st century backdoors into their products? Then, you could just have them automatically call home to do a data dump of documents. If there’s anything interesting in the files, it can be set to monitor its user on a regular basis,” Vaughan-Nichols wrote.

“There’s nothing difficult about doing this. Not only are backdoors easy to create, running an automatic check for words of interest, even in terabytes of documents, just requires some servers. After all,Google does it every day with far more data than such a plot could ever uncover.”

February 9, 2010

Gmail 2.0

Filed under: Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:25 pm

As in it looks like Gmail is about to go web 2.0 on us. To me this just seems like blurring the role of Gmail. Sometimes there is such a thing as too much functionality.

Via KurzweilAI.net:

Google’s ‘Social’ Gmail: Could It Really Work?
PC World, Feb. 8, 2010

Google‘s social networking component for Gmail will reportedly aggregate updates from friends into single tweet-like status updates.
Read Original Article>>

February 5, 2010

Google Chrome 4.0 running slow?

Filed under: et.al., Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:52 am

After Google recently released the stable 4.0 version of Chrome I noticed a ridiculous amount of lag at times — scrolling was slowed to a crawl and typing into any text boxes (including creating blog posts in WordPress) was torture. The typed text was entering at something like a character per second or so. Just unacceptable.

The fix for me — at least so far so good — was pretty simple. I just cleared the browser cache. If your Chrome browser installation is feeling sluggish, I’d try this before doing anything else too drastic.

(Note: updated 7-2-10, the steps below apply to Chrome 5.0, update 9/11/10, same steps apply to Chrome 6.0. They still hold true for v.7.)

  • Click on the wrench (top right of browser window) and choose “options”
  • Click on “Under the Hood” (the right tab)
  • Click on “Clear Browsing Data”
  • From there you have a checklist of things you can delete — Clear Browsing History, Clear Download History, Empty the Cache, etc. — I unchecked everything but “Empty the Cache” and in the “Clear data from this period:” action menu I chose “Everything.”

Simple and has worked wonders. Chrome is back to its speedy browsing self again.

January 25, 2010

China doesn’t restrict internet freedom?

Filed under: Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:31 pm

Could have fooled its citizens, and companies forced to comply with government censorship demands to operate in the nation, I guess.

This is a hole Chinese officials might as well stop digging.

From the link:

China on Friday slammed remarks made by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promoting Internet freedom worldwide, saying her words harmed U.S.-China relations.

China resolutely opposes Clinton’s remarks and it is not true that the country restricts online freedom, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement on the ministry’s Web site.

Clinton’s speech and China’s response both come after Google (GOOG) last week said it planned to reverse its long-standing position in China by ending censorship of its Chinese search engine. Google cited increasingly tough censorship and recent cyberattacks on the Gmail accounts of human rights activists for its decision, which it said might force it to close its offices in China altogether.

Click here to find out more!China blocks Web sites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and has long forced domestic Internet companies to censor their own services. Blog providers, for instance, are expected to delete user posts that include pornographic content or talk of sensitive political issues.

January 20, 2010

China claims hacker victimhood …

Filed under: Business, Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:42 pm

not malfeasance.

Not likely.

From the first link:

China on Tuesday denied any role in alleged cyberattacks on Indian government offices, calling China itself the biggest victim of hackers.When asked about Google’s (GOOG) allegation that cyberattacks launched from China hit the U.S. search giant, foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Chinese companies were also often hit by cyberattacks.

“China is the biggest victim of hacking attacks,” Ma said, citing the example of top Chinese search engine Baidu.com being hacked last week.

January 14, 2010

Is China committing massive corporate cyber espionage?

Filed under: Business, Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:34 pm

Looks like all that recent Google news has a bit deeper, and broader, roots than first reports indicated.

From the second link:

It’s a problem that the U.S. lawmakers have complained about loudly. In the corporate world, online attacks that appear to come from China have been an ongoing problem for years, but big companies haven’t said much about this, eager to remain in the good graces of the world’s powerhouse economy.

Google, by implying that Beijing had sponsored the attack, has placed itself in the center of an international controversy, exposing what appears to be a state-sponsored corporate espionage campaign that compromised more than 30 technology, financial and media companies, most of them global Fortune 500 enterprises.

The U.S. government is taking the attack seriously. Late Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a statement asking the Chinese government to explain itself, saying that Google’s allegations “raise very serious concerns and questions.”

“The ability to operate with confidence in cyberspace is critical in a modern society and economy,” she said.

January 12, 2010

More on Google and China

Filed under: Business, Media, Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:10 pm

Who’d a thunk I’d be doing two posts on Google and China today? First Google apologizes for a copyright breach issue in China (?!), and now the Mountain View company is threatening to pull out of China because of claims the Asian behemoth breached Google email accounts of human rights activists. Whatever else is going on here, I don’t see any changes to China’s overarching attitudes toward individual privacy or intellectual property — well, at least the intellectual property of non-Chinese citizens.

I understand Google wanting to do business with such a massive market, but it made serious concessions regarding censorship when it went into China so it can’t be all that shocked when China decides to just go out and do whatever it wants.

(Quick joke for Robot Chicken fans — Darth Vader: I’ve changed the terms of our deal. Pray I don’t change it further. Lando: Man, this deal keeps getting worse all the time.)

From the second link:

The company disclosed in a blog post that it had detected a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China.” Further investigation revealed that “a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists,” Google’s post said.

Google did not specifically accuse the Chinese government. But the company added that it is “no longer willing to continue censoring our results” on its Chinese search engine, as the government requires. Google says the decision could force it to shut down its Chinese site and its offices in the country.

A word/concept combo you don’t see very often …

Filed under: Arts, Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:02 pm

China and copyright protection.

From the link:

Google (GOOG) has apologized to a Chinese authors’ group over its scanning of books by local writers into an online search system, moving to defuse copyright concerns around the project in China.

December 11, 2009

Now this is something that could be pretty handy

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:14 pm

With a very utile hack, Google’s Chrome OS can be booted into a Windows, Mac or Linux box via a dedicated USB flash drive. A great idea.

From the link:

We’ve all had those moments at an airport waiting room, hotel lobby or coffee shop when we just want to yank out our laptops, hop onto the Web, check our e-mail and get offline. Try that with a Windows notebook and you’re talking about a few minutes to boot up, and maybe even longer to shut down. Your plane could be gone by then.

The solution? Arm yourself with a USB flash drive loaded with Google’s new Chromium OS. Boot your notebook with that when you’re pressed for time and you’ll be on and off the Web in less than a minute each way. Don’t want to boot with Chromium right now? Just remove the USB drive before your next boot-up. Your Windows notebook will forget all about Chromium and boot up normally.

As we reported earlier, a Twitter user Hexxeh has brewed a version of Chromium that boots a Windows, Linux or Mac computer from a USB drive. The latest build requires an empty USB flash drive (installing Chromium will wipe it) with a capacity of as little as 1GB.

December 8, 2009

Google goes real-time …

… by adding Twitter and Friendfeed to search results, plus making updates in seconds rather than minutes.

From the link:

It seems that Google’s recent deal with Twitter is already bearing fruit. Today, Google announced that in response to English searches it will now return a “latest results” section that will include posts from Twitter and Friendfeed, along with seconds-old headlines from newspapers and blogs.

It’ll be interesting to see how well this content will supplement Google’s regular results, which change at a much slower pace. There isn’t much room in a 140-character Twitter post to provide the context that search engines typically use to judge relevancy.

November 20, 2009

Google’s Chrome OS is out

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:32 pm

Here’s a quick report from Technology Review. I’m not convinced naming the operating system to match the browser is that great an idea. I see confusion amongst the casual user. I’m guessing that’s what Google is shooting for, but I don’t see any real advantage there. Both products need marketing — marketing to separate groups — to gain any real traction, and I can’t imagine any level of confusion among users is going to help those efforts.

From the link:

Google gave the first demonstration of its Chrome operating system today, at the same time opening the source code to the public. The company highlighted features that have grown out of what vice president of product management Sundar Pichai called “a fundamentally different model of computing.” Unlike other operating systems, which merely incorporate the Internet, Chrome is completely focused on it.

The Chrome OS is based so aggressively on the Internet that devices running it will not even have hard drives, Pichai said, emphasizing that “every app is a Web app.” All data will be stored in the cloud, and every application will be accessed through the Chrome browser. Because of this, he added, users will never have to install software or manage updates on the device.

The user interface closely resembles the Chrome browser. When the user opens applications, they appear as tabbed windows across the top of the screen. Users can stick their favorite applications to the desktop with one click, creating permanent tabs for them.

November 5, 2009

Google’s Dashboard feature

Filed under: Business, et.al., Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:18 pm

Apparently this thing rolled out today, but after a quick peek around I couldn’t find it.

From the link:

Google is offering a new privacy control that will make it easier for people to see some of the information being collected about them.

The “Dashboard” feature unveiled Thursday pulls together all the data that pour into Google’s computers whenever Web surfers log in to one of the company’ services.

That includes summaries of an individual’s e-mail, search requests and viewing habits on Google’s video site, YouTube. Before, a user would have to check multiple places for all that.

Update 11/6/09 — Here’s the Google Dashboard story with links straight from Mountain View.

October 20, 2009

Twitter, Google, Microsoft, data mining and dollars

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:30 pm

Whew, that’s some title up there and it’s the highly distilled — Twitteresque, even — news that it looks like Twitter is about to monetize in a very painless way. Most likely both Google and Microsoft’s Bing search engines will cut data mining deals with Twitter to leverage the power of Twitter’s real-time searchable information stream.

From the link (in bold is from me) :

The intense rivals (Google and MS) are in separate talks with the new online darling Twitter to set up their own data-mining deals , says a report from The Wall Street Journal ‘s AllThingsD Web site. The “advanced talks” are said to be over licensing deals that would allow them to integrate real-time Twitter feeds with their search engines, Google’s search and Microsoft’s Bing.

None of the three companies would respond to requests for information about the reported negotiations.

AllThingsD reported today that the individual deals could mean upfront payments worth several million dollars, or involve revenue-sharing plans.

“Ah, this could be a way for Twitter to make some money , and maybe more than just a little money,” said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Co.

“It finally means a business model for Twitter, or at least the beginnings of one. And, of course, it means real revenue, which is very important. Not just in licensing revenue from Google or Microsoft, but also in potentially getting a piece of the action on an ongoing basis. So there could be considerable upside here for Twitter,” Olds said.

October 19, 2009

A small business primer for Google’s AdWords

Filed under: Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:34 pm

A very informative AdWords/AdSense 101 for small business from the New York Times. Easy to understand and informative, this article is a great primer for anyone looking for a bit more guidance in using AdWords.

From the link:

Here are the basics: Google AdWords are keyword-driven ads that show up along the right-hand side of a Google search page under the rubric “sponsored links.” People who search for terms related to those you select — say, “widgets for sale” — will see your ad alongside the results of their search. How high up your ad appears on the list of sponsored links will depend, in part, on how much you’re willing to spend on your campaign. The more you spend and the more relevant your ad, the higher it will rank. Because AdWords is a pay-per-click service, you pay Google only when someone clicks on your ad.

October 9, 2009

YouTube tops 1B views a day

Filed under: Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:07 pm

According to its internals. Even if the number isn’t totally accurate the numbers are astounding. That’s a lot of bandwidth and not much of an income-generating business model, but Google still has to be very pleased with the acquisition.

From the first link:

Pretty much everyone knows that YouTube is the king of online video. Indeed, comScore recently said that in August, YouTube surpassed 10 billion views in a single month in the United States for the first time. That made YouTube nearly 20 times more popular than its nearest rival in online video,Microsoft, which showed just 547 million videos.

But on the third anniversary of its $1.65 billion deal to sell itself to Google, YouTube is saying, in a sense, you may be underestimating us. The company released more precise viewing figures than it had in the past, saying it serves more than 1 billion videos a day, or roughly 30 billion in a month. Unlike the comScore numbers, which are for the United States only, the viewing data released by YouTube is global. But since Google gets roughly half of its business from overseas, it isn’t unreasonable to assume that roughly half of YouTube’s audience is overseas. Assuming comScore’s U.S. numbers are accurate, that would have put YouTube number of clips viewed globally at about 20 billion a month, far less than YouTube’s count.

October 5, 2009

IBM throws down a cloud gauntlet

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:46 pm

By undercutting Google’s  business email service at $36 a year against Google’s $50 annual rate. IBM, old and hoary as it might be, has a strong track record for supporting enterprise-level applications, and a strong case on the difference between consumer and enterprise support — a serious cloud computing issue – but at the end of the day I don’t see Big Blue cutting too far into Google’s expanding empire.

From the link:

Without providing specifics, Google says its corporate users now number in the “hundreds of thousands.” Some companies, including Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc., switched from IBM’s premium e-mail service that costs substantially more than Web-based e-mail.

Now, IBM is counter-punching. IBM thinks the timing for its e-mail alternative is ideal, given that Google’s service suffered a highly publicized outage that locked out corporate customers for nearly two hours last month.

“Candidly, Google has shown itself to be weak” in some areas of e-mail, said Sean Poulley, an IBM executive overseeing the company’s e-mail service. “There is a world of difference between supporting a consumer-grade service and a business-grade service.”

September 18, 2009

Chrome 3.0 is out

Filed under: Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:32 pm

Actually it’s been out for a few days. I downloaded Google’s Chrome 3.0 browser immediately and I like it. I did a Chrome experiment a few weeks ago and haven’t looked back. Within the first week I made it my default browser, and yesterday had to get into IE for to troubleshoot some tech problems I was having with WordPress and realized I’d already become completely comfortable with the stripped-down and very fast Chrome interface.

From the first link:

HTML5 Support

image of iPassConnect for BlackBerry Icon

Google Chrome 3.0 offers support for HTML5 capabilities, including the “video” and “audio” tags for integrated embedding of multimedia elements. With those options, multimedia content can be featured and played in pages without the need for any plugins or external utilities.

Ready to give the new Chrome a whirl for yourself? If you have an older version of the browser already installed, you should be prompted to update soon. Or, you can visit the official Chrome page to download it manually now.

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