The only reason to care about the publishers' lawsuit against Google Print is the pure epic drama that's going to unfold.
If plainitively dumb wailing can win the PR battle that is the lawsuit over Google Print, then the AAP (the publisher's lobby) has made a great choice in picking former Colorado congresswoman Pat Schroeder as their leader.
I say to Google, ‘Let’s make a deal. You won’t make quite as much money, but I think you’ll do okay. Let’s share, boys, come on, let’s share! You don’t have to be so greedy!’
I'm serious. Schroeder may be supremely dumb, but she's the kind of dumb that wins sympathy.
It's truly a David vs Goliath story, when it comes to brains (hint: Google playing the Goliath part, in this case). Of course, we all know how that turned out.
via Battelle, of course.
Checking out the housing data numbers at the census bureau, I notice the odd coloring of their "logo":
What to make of the alternating black and cyan letters? Fibonacci sequence based? Some anagram or secret abbreviation? Or is it the lingering presence of the Masons?
The letters in cyan are [SEURA] - an anagram of "UREAS"??
Any good theories welcome...
Understanding statistics is more important than voting these days. However, most people, and particularly press people don't understand basic statistical principles.
Example: today's housing numbers. Yesterday housing was "cooling". Today it looks warm again:
As we have warned, the abundance of global data due out this week could cause a great deal of volatility in the currency markets. Today, strong US data has helped the dollar recuperate much of yesterday's losses.
Sales of new homes surged 13% to a record high of 1.424 million.
That seems positive, right? Well look at this:
The monthly sequential sales number is a 13% "increase" subject to a margin of error of plus or minus 17.7%. The year-over-year "increase" of 9% is subject to a margin of error of plus or minus 18.2%.
Statistically, those housing numbers tell you very little since the margin of error is much HIGHER than the measured change.
Who knows what 95% confidence means? Who knows what confirmation bias is?
There are numbers everywhere today, and people take them and run. No one has time to evaluate the statistical relevance of data anymore...
Good news for anyone trying to improve workflow with Office documents. Another long time coming move, and it reeks of serious desperation, I think.
I'm guessing MSFT will probably try to limit use of the formats with some evil licensing terms, but as they used to say back in the mid-90's: "Information wants to be free"
via Search Views
Google announces that they will allow separate bids for the Search (i.e. AdWords) and the Content (i.e. AdSense) networks. Early Christmas present for AdWords people, and probably lower returns for AdSense publishers.
Why do I think it means lower returns for AdSense publishers? Simply because the AdWords side performs better, but most advertisers haven't gone through the pain of establishing separate campaigns for the lower value content side. This move should make that process easier, and the bidding on the content side should reflect its lower conversion rate.
Andrew Goodman called out the need for this back in 2003, I think. Nice to see Google reacting to feedback from it's user base with such alacrity.
When I go into AdWords to see this feature in action, it's not exactly easy to find, so I suspect the effect on AdSense publishers will be very gradual. Here are the instructions.
Jack Shafer of Slate attempts to get techno-hip and writes an odd parody/parable about Google and the newspaper business. Very odd. Non-sensical in every way, actually. Not really funny or insightful, it mostly makes you think he should stick to his normal political beat.
I can't even tell if he's parodying the Google nay-sayers or bolstering their Cassandra-like outcries... Maybe it's brillant after all, if you can't be certain who the joke is supposed to be on?
Nope, the real Google cynics inhabit the blogosphere and aren't as confused about technology, Microsoft and the future of newspapers...
Om Malik says:
People go to Google for search, Yahoo for MyYahoo, and Microsoft… well they don’t know any better.
Day one of Google Base.
Try a search in Google base, such as [ipod] or [nokia]. It's pretty much all spam. They can safely delete everything that's been posted today... all of the free iPod offers, all of the eBay links, all of the Amazon affliate links. It's amazing how fast people work these days.
Even the recipes are spam.
Look at this page. Check out what happens after product 15 or so, there are about 35 duplicates of some Nokia wireless plan, same product, one for every location that the store has. Depressingly bad - no elimination or clustering of duplicates.
Of course I'm just mad because it lost my upload of my own spam...
And it doesn't give you that much confidence when, after you press "Upload and process this file", the message appears "Check back in an hour to see if your file was processed correctly"! Like they know that's there's a good chance that it won't be...
While I'm ranting, doesn't Google have enough experience to know that labelling a button "Upload and process this file" is just a waste of space. Isn't "Upload" perfectly concise? At least you know they're not spending the money on frivolous usability gurus or usability panel testing.
This LA Times article covering the clash of the Hollywood types and the Silicon Valley Yahoos is pretty funny.
A parking space story leads off:
a Yahoo executive recently recruited from Fox Broadcasting Co. [sent an e-mail] that "SOMEONE" had parked in his space. For some who received it, the all-capitals dispatch read like a scream: "PLEASE MOVE OR YOU WILL BE TOWED."
Then later on, more parking jealousy
Shortly after he was hired, Braun converted a conference room with a patio into his personal office. He also reserved a parking space close to the elevators for his car. His top executives followed his example, fueling derision among some in Sunnyvale, where only Semel and lawyers who handle confidential matters have offices.
Yahoo's top executives drew the line when Braun asked for a corporate jet.
Thank goodness for that!
Reminds me of the clash at SGI between Jim Clark and Ed McCracken. That doesn't bode too well for Yahoo!, in the end Clark was the exiled winner... and McCracken? Who knows where he is today?
Considering that up until now, the eBay API has not been that easy to get (it took me 3 days to sign-up for it when I built aytozon.com), that's very impressive. (BTW, if the eBay API is getting 2B calls/month, how likely is it that Google search is getting more than 2B US searches/month?)
There are over 90 calls in the eBay API, accessible with SOAP. There's also some REST calls, which I haven't had much success with. You can download the 1298 page PDF manual here. Go crazy.
This is good wired article by Simson Garfinkel listing the top 10 computer bugs of all time, including a few that have killed people.
And don't miss the Flash animations in the sidebar illustrating how buffer overflows and race conditions work. Rather cute.
After Google and Yahoo announced their Q3 results, you saw a lot of analysts quote data from comScore and Nielsen about how many searches Google gets a month.
Comscore reports around 5B total searches/month in the US across all search engines in July 2005.
If you believe those numbers, you might calculate as John Battelle did:
Average revenue per search (yes, any kind of search, not just paid): 12 cents. It was around a dime in late 04.
However, I think comScore and Nielsen are wrong in these estimates. Not wrong by a little, but wrong by a lot. And it throws into question a lot of the analysis that people do about Google and the search engines.
How much traffic does Google really get? I believe the number is close to 1.2 Billion searches per day, worldwide. I believe Yahoo gets over 200M a day worldwide. In other words, Google and Yahoo are getting around 40 Billion searches worldwide every month. I formulate those estimates based on conversations with several search engine experts.
And yes, I do think Google gets about 6-7X the number of searches that Yahoo gets, despite the market share numbers that are often published.
For Google and Yahoo, it's likely that the US represents at least 45%+ of their search traffic. Combined they are at least 18B/month in the US.
How come comScore and Nielsen both think that Google and Yahoo are about getting 3B/month in the US? I think they are making a big scaling error when they take their panel data and extrapolate. Or they are missing a lot of searches in their counts somehow.
The only other citation I can find that contradicts comScore and Nielsen's authority is this story from Danny Sullivan, way back in February 2003. If you take Dannny's Google 250M/day number from Feb 2003 and multiply by 30, you get 7.5B. If the US was 50% of that back in 2003, that's still much greater than comScore is reporting Google's search traffic is TODAY - 2.5 years later.
So either Google's numbers have gone down since 2003, or comScore and Nielsen are way off. Of course, both Yahoo and Google subscribe to these services. I wonder what they think of the accuracy of these reports?
UPSHOT: I believe comScore and Nielsen are vastly underestimating the total search traffic that Google (and Yahoo) gets.
Philipp, the genius behind Google Blogoscoped, was kind enough to let me into his club with a custom badge for my blog that says: "Contains 80% Google". I feel blessed.
Oddly enough, I first noticed the badge on his site when I looked at his pixelated homepage.
Thank you very much, Philipp.
Everyone copies the Google look and feel. Compare:
It's a world of light grey, green, blue and Arial. It's like the 70's when every house had avocado colored appliances. Or more accurately, it's like when Windows started taking over and everyone copied their style guide.
In the end, it's probably good for the user - since everything is standardized. But it'd be nice if someone came up with something fresh. Eventually, all those 70's kitchens got refreshed to have that Tuscany feel didn't they?
Google's search API sucks right now. They haven't updated it in several years. I'm guessing there is NOBODY even working on it at Google.
Meanwhile, Yahoo has 15+ search related APIs, in easy-to-use REST form, with generous query limits. I hope Microsoft emulates Yahoo.
C'mon Google, where are the related searches? Contextual? Audio, Image, Video? Not to mention Local and News!?