The Addled Goose’s KMWorld Lecture

October 6, 2008

After stumbling off the airplane from Schipol, I found myself facing an empty, dark lecture hall in the San Jose Convention Center. The building frigthtens me. The weird parking set up, the mysterious passages that connect the lecture halls to two hotels, and the absence of people who know where things are combine to make my goose feathers fall out.

Nevertheless, I was able to face the empty lecture hall. I was about 30 minutes early. I plugged my USB drive into the conference organizer’s laptop, got my flapping duck logo on the screen, and sat back to see if I would have more than six listeners or fewer than six. As it turned out, a brave group of 60 people filed in for my Google talk.

I write a column about Google for KMWorld, and the publisher takes pity on me. No one reads my column, although one high school teacher wrote me and said he found inspiration in my write up about Google Maps. Apparently I was a sufficiently magnetic oddity that five dozen folks trundled in to hear me provide a glimpse of what I was pondering for my November and December columns for KMWorld. (I don’t want to keep you in suspense. My November column will be about places to find informatoin about Google on The December column will tackle Google’s most important announcements in 2008. I think you can figure out that I will talk about what Google will do in 2009 for my January 2009 essay.)

So what did I tell the folks who wrestled with the unfathomable floor plan for the San Jose Convention Center. Here’s a summary of the main points of my talk, Google G Cubed.

First, I ran over the now familiar theme from my 2005 monograph The Google Legacy. A happy 20 year old from an outfit called Oliver Wyman, a consulting firm with about which I was and remain deeply ignorant, told me last week that she “really read” my book. Way to go, Laura! The basic premise is that most people see Google as an ad and Web search company. My take is that Google is an application platform and the 21st centruy version of the original Ma Bell in her pre-break up days. The distinction is important because those who see Google as selling ads and indexing the Web miscalculate the risk of Google’s poking its snoot into other business sectors. Get this perception wrong, and the GOOG and its business models will test the market. Clicks, not top down mandates, dictate what the GOOG’s next moves will be. I use this diagram to explain the perception issue. What do you see?


Second, I mentioned Google’s interest in telephony in general and mobile services in particular. I mentioned that one of Google’s earlier telephony related inventions was for Quality of Service. QoS is the girdle for SLAs or service level agreements. These are guarantees that a particular service–now called a cloud service–will be available to a calculated level or some similar provision of the contract for services, appliatons, or software. But the key point I made was that mobile was important because the inventor of Google’s voice search system was not some 18 year old from Vladivostok. The inventor was Sergey Brin, soon to be a spaceman courtesy of Vladimir Putin’s space program. You can verify this by reading the patent document, US 7027987. As I pointed out in my second Google monograph, Googel Version 2.0, apparently of little interest to the hot MBAs at Oliver Wyman, certain big names on a Google patent signal a keen interest in a particular technical field. Sergey Brin’s name qualifies as a big name at Google. I suggested that even the Bell heads at AT&T and Verizon now recognize that Google is a player in their little monopolistic polo fields now. This time last year, these companies weren’t sure Google was “serious” based on my personal experiences with both firms’ executives. Thefigure below shows the flow of query processing in Mr. Brin’s invention:


(Oh, Cyrus, dear Googler, this illustration comes from the Google patent document, not Photoshop. Cyrus has a “ready, fire, aim” approach to figuring out where my Google illustrations come from.)

Third, I talked a bit about the Four complementary technologies and services that are discussed in hundreds of Web log postings, consultant studies, and trade journals. These are: Android, Google Gears, Google Docs, and Google Chrome. Instead of doing a tutorial on how each of these can be used by a programmer, I turned to some screen shots to make the ideas clearer. Most of the audience was snoozing at this point in my lecture. I wouldn’t listen to me either.


I pointed out that these “views” contain virtual machines, perform regular desktop application functions regardless of the user’s device or operating system, and provided Google with a mechanism for personalizing the information, the services, and what Microsoft calls “the experience”. I said, “Microsoft makes many experiences but they are not based on a homogeneous platform. Google delivers increasingly personalized experiences from a homogeneous platform.” No one in the audience knew what I was talking about.

To reinforce this point, I showed some “alleged” screen shots from Google and TMobile Android based device:


I was greeted with a couple of “that’s an iPhone” comments. Those sleeping continued to nap.

I then highlighted several tunes known to the Android-Gears-Docs-Chrome quartet. I mentioned and illustrated:

  • A Google based automatic teller machine. I reminded the audience Google has money plumbing. The company uses it to collect its billions in ad revenue and to pay me pennies for AdSense clicks.
  • A Google enabled BMW. After fiddling with the computer controlling my neighbor’s BMW, Google’s dashboard is a lot better than BMW’s own engineering clunker.
  • A Google refrigerator. The idea is that Googlers who love recipes can log on to their refrigerator, find out what’s inside, and then get recipes for what to make. If the suggestions are not appealing, the system can provide a shopping list and generate more recipe options. This drew a big laugh from those awake. A segment of Google’s recipe interface appears below.
  • I reprised my “I’m feeling doubly lucky” information. I included this innovation in a talk in early 2007. No one cared then that Google couold do remote medical monitoring from an Android based device and no cared in San Jose in 2008. At least I am consistent in my crowd appeal.


To conclude the talk, I showed one of my math-related diagrams. I said, “Google can grow quickly with little ramp time. The competitors may be stuck in the never never land of i (the square root of minus one). No laughs, of course.


I pay a $1.00 to anyone who will ask me a question after one of my lectures. One fellow raised his hand and asked, “Are you through?” I paid him a dollar and went back to my room.

Stephen Arnold, October 6, 2008


2 Responses to “The Addled Goose’s KMWorld Lecture”

  1. Duck Duck Go! | The Noisy Channel on October 16th, 2008 12:24 am

    […] Recently I’ve starting using Twitter Search to find people talking about topics that interest me. One of my serendipitous find was Gabriel Weinberg, who is reported to have single-handedly built a search engine called Duck Duck Go. I’ll suspend judgement on the name–after all, Beyond Search blogger Steve Arnold proudly calls himself an addled goose. […]

  2. Duck Duck Go in the News : Beyond Search on May 27th, 2010 2:04 am

    […] files revealed that the company’s name popped up in a comment to Beyond Search article called “The Addled Goose’s KMWorld Lecture” which appeared in late 2008. The “official” date for the company’s inception is 2009. Duck […]

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