Google Dissected: What’s Inside?

November 6, 2012

I was marveling at the display of an ad for Kayak, a travel service, when I instructed my Overflight system to gin up a report on Hozo. Hozo is an outfit in Japan which once offered a taxonomy and content processing system. I was checking to see if the outfit which was hooked up with Osaka University was still operating. I was pondering the appearance of a travel ad adjacent an Overflight report about information retrieval. Was Google having an off day? Did the ad matching algorithm get relaxed again to display irrelevant ads in the hopes I was not planning a trip to Japan. But the fetching Google ad is pretty darned enticing.

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As I was contemplating the joys of wandering down the sidewalk in Osaka, my email alert beeped, and I saw a link to a “Monday Note” with this title: “The Press, Google, Its Algorithm, Their Scale.”

For me the most interesting statement in the write up was:

In passing, Google showed its ability to kill any price comparator of its choosing.As for Insurance, the most expensive keyword, Google recently launched its own insurance comparison service in the United Kingdom… just after launching a similar system for credit cards and bank services.

If this means that Google can act in its own self interest, I am surprised on two levels.

First, most “real” journalists walk carefully around the Google mine fields. A misstep can create some excitement. I have a great example of a “real” journalist who now sojourns in content Siberia after getting frisky. I personally think that Google is King of the Algorithm. And, I tell myself, “Algorithms are objective.” Who can fiddle with smart software and rig the game. Not possible in my opinion.

Second, the collection of data in the write up strikes me as a bit too search engine optimization centric. The mixture of Googley stuff, SEOisms, and the problems with traditional media are red herrings. The real issue is revenue. Google has it but has to work harder than before to get it. Traditional media companies are working harder than ever and generating less revenue per MBA erg expended. A shift is taking place.

What is inside Google? I don’t think that’s much of a mystery. There are 50,000 plus people who want to be Googley, do Googley things, and make Googley stuff the logical choice. Those who don’t understand may need to get with the program. Right now, it does not appear that grousing by folks in other countries will change the direction of the destroyer named USS Google.

My official position is, “Google forever.” Ah, the French, the Brazilians. Too bad I posit.

Stephen E Arnold, November 6, 2012

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