Google Plus: The Future Evokes a Strong Reaction

April 30, 2014

Forget the change in leadership. Google’s social network, either Google Plus or the almost unsearchable Google+, is triggering some Internet chatter. I enjoyed “’Sign in with Google’ Button Could Send Google+ to Oblivion.” The word “oblivion” is an interesting one, but I noted this passage:

The abrupt departure of Google+ creator Vic Gundotra from the beleaguered social network led to immediate speculation that its days as a competitor to Facebook and Twitter are numbered.

I marked this segment as well:

But it also suggests that the company no longer wants Google+ to represent it around the web. Google’s brand is much stronger than that of its social network, and some developers may be more comfortable adding a generic Google login to their sites and apps.

I am not a social media cheerleader. A telephone works pretty well for me. I am also able to send an email. The notion that I want followers, a job, or extensive digital contacts is interesting. I am not sure that embraced the assertion that Google Plus/Google+ was the new Google.

Google does one thing today that makes lots of money. The company sells ads to those who do not have another way to generate sales leads. As traffic to Web sites erodes, leads are needed. Google, rightly or wrongly, thrives on the perception that online advertising is the solution to a company’s marketing problems. Here in Harrod’s Creek, few remember that Google’s online ad business is a variant of the original pay to play or pay to get traffic models developed by GoTo. With the decline of traditional desktop Internet surfing, the future of information access for many people is a mobile device. For Google, the problem is that screen real estate is less generous. For folks like me, tapping on a tiny keyboard or talking in a noisy restaurant to a smart speech to text system is frustrating. Google’s current management shift is one consequence of a fundamental change that is taking place in online access.

It is easier to ask someone a question or seek another option. For me and it seems lots of other people, that option did not include Google Plus or Google+. I just received another thick paper business directory. Is it my imagination or are traditional print sales media making a come back. A big thick phone book stuffed with ads and fat envelopes with coupons for El Nopal Restaurant tell me that online ads are not for everyone.

It is possible that Google will dust off Alon Halevy’s approach to figuring out social data. It is possible that Google will try again to roll out a social media service that will pump up Google’s revenue so that the company’s growth knocks the socks off analysts. It is possible Google will roll out another “me too” business.

Stories that reveal management churn and raise questions about major Google services have one benefit. The Wall Street analysts have an opportunity to interpret this executive change as a definite “plus”. I look forward to those positive insights because some of the write up are downright inventive.

For now, Google is looking more and more like a company with a potential flop on its hands. I hope not. I enjoy reading about Google Plus or Google+. It is tough to search for information about the service though. That pesky reserved character “+” is a challenge for some search systems.

Stephen E Arnold, April 30, 2014

Here Comes Technology Distrust

April 30, 2014

Sixty-seven percent of Americans believe that tech companies are violating their user agreements by cooperating with the US government’s spy tactics. ESET polled 2,000 people and got this startling response reports TechNewsWorld in the article, “Americans Distrust Tech Companies.” Many people in the poll reported that they changed their browsing habits, such as cutting down on online banking and shopping less online, after they became more aware of government spying on them. Fifty-seven percent believed that the spying helped prevent terrorism, but wanted laws enacted for surveillance regulation.

Not surprising is that money is exchanged hands and exposing more private information:

“Mobile app developers have been severely criticized for being too cozy with marketers. That’s resulted in lots of software that takes liberties with a user’s personal information after being installed on a phone. Google is tightening up some of the more seamy practices by developers with some new guidelines.”

The tightened regulations ensure that a user’s privacy is better protected, but that does not lessen the threat of attacks. The article continues to say that advanced attacks to get past an organization’s defenses are increasing. Hackers are becoming smarter to deal with more sophisticated security. Government distrust will grow too the more steps the take to monitor and prevent attacks. What legislation is being written to regulate government surveillance?

Whitney Grace, April 30, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Globe Newspaper Has to Rethink IT Infrastructure

April 30, 2014

The article “Boston Globe Rebuilds Its IT Infrastructure After New Owner Takes Over” published in eWeek creates speculation about how flawed the newspaper’s tech was. The New York Times sold The Boston Globe in October 2013 and more than management changed. The New York Times centralized all of The Globe’s IT systems, but when it broke away so did the infrastructure. Wade Sendall, VP of IT at The Globe, must work with a limited budget and a staff of sixty to rebuild workflows.

Wendell and his team decided use the Mendix App Platform and it resolved many pressing problems. Not only were immediate issues resolved, but also Mendix provided solutions for others within the six to nine month deadline.

“ ‘In the past, applications were built by developers and they’d eventually leave, leaving a hodge-podge” of code and applications, said Sendall. ‘So what we’ve tried to do is put this platform in place to increase flexibility. It means easier changes, support and documentation for the future,” since it is all stored in the platform.’ “

Not a bad resolution to what could have been a catastrophe. It does beg the question, is The New York Times’ infrastructures in desperate need of revamping as well?

Whitney Grace, April 30, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Microsoft SharePoint Rereleases SP1

April 30, 2014

After a long awaited initial release of Microsoft SharePoint’s Service Pack 1, it was quietly pulled off of the market after a short period of time. Now it appears the fix is complete and the download has been rereleased. Read more in the Redmond article, “Microsoft Rereleases SP1 for SharePoint 2013.”

The article begins:

“Microsoft has quietly rereleased Service Pack 1 for SharePoint Server 2013. The news comes from Microsoft MVP Todd Klindt, in a blog post today. However, Microsoft’s download page for SP1 indicates that the service pack was published on April 17, or about five days ago. There appears to be no official notice from Microsoft about its new release of SP1.”

Stephen E. Arnold of ArnoldIT.com follows the latest SharePoint news. He has made a career of all things search, but enterprise is becoming a larger and more important sector of the search market. SharePoint users will be glad to see the SP1 rerelease, but stay tuned to Arnold’s SharePoint feed for the latest news.

Emily Rae Aldridge, April 30, 2014

Tibco, Business Intelligence, and Open Source—Not Search

April 29, 2014

I read “Consolidation Looms in Business Intelligence, as Tibco Buys Jaspersoft for $185M.” The write up is interesting, but not exactly congruent with my views. May I explain?

The article points out:

Enterprise software vendor TIBCO has acquired Jaspersoft, an open source business intelligence company, for approximately $185 million. It’s not an earth-shaking deal, but it could be a sign of things to come in an analytics software market full of companies and products that have a hard time standing out from the crowd.

MBAs will drooling at the thought of business intelligence deal making if the article’s premise is correct.

But there are several other angles in this Tibco Jaspersoft tie up.

image

First, check out the list of open source “leaders.” Jaspersoft appears in the list, but with its number six on the “Top of Mind Emerging Companies in Data Discovery Chart,” the response to this deal might be “Who?” The other factoid I gleaned from the Gigaom Research chart was who the heck are SiSense, Logi Analytics, and Roambi. I can only wonder at what firms account for the “other” category. Tibco bought an open source analytics company that is one of those “we’re open source but commercial too” outfits. The purchase price, compared to the deal for Autonomy, is a rounding error in the Autonomy transaction. I find this interesting because Autonomy IDOL does business intelligence, visualization, and a number of other enterprise software functions as well. My take. Why is an open source business intelligence deal going for what seems to be a bargain price?

Second, Tibco did not buy a search company. Jaspersoft is a business intelligence outfit. But what does “business intelligence” mean? A review of Jaspersoft’s products and services points to analytics; that is to say, math. The cloud angle is interesting, but I am not sure how Tibco will convert open source into a hefty chunk of the astronomical $50 billion market the Gigaom research is available for the taking. Is analytics business intelligence? At least, I can sort of define “analytics.” I am not so confident about “business intelligence.”

Third, the implications for search and retrieval are not particularly positive. Search vendors with odd ball product line ups are saying, “We are a business intelligence company.” Maybe so. Without a definition of “business intelligence”, search vendors can say almost anything and be “accurate.” For me, search is clearly a marginalized sector. IBM bought Vivisimo and, as one of my editors, discovered promptly discarded Vivisimo’s roots in clustering and metasearch for the foggy description of “information management.” I wonder if some search vendors are in the undefined Gigaom “other” category.

In my view, search and possibly some “business intelligence” vendors may be dismayed by Tibco’s deal. Can investors recoup their funding for their business intelligence bets? There is a big difference between the estimated $20 million IBM paid for the struggling Vivisimo and the $185 million Tibco paid for Jaspersoft when compared to the $1 billion Oracle paid for the aging Endeca technology. I don’t see consolidation. I see “everything must go” opportunities.

Stephen E Arnold, April 29, 2014

SEO Is Pure Silliness

April 29, 2014

People are trying to get to the top of search results lists, especially Google’s. They use SEO, tags, and other ways to reach the top. They are even SEO gurus who give tips on best practices. One of them is Matt Cutts of The Short Cutts Web site. It is described as:

“Since early 2009 Google’s Matt Cutts has recorded a superhuman number of videos to help struggling site owners understand their site in search. While the videos are great, sometimes the guy just needs to get to the point. With that in mind we’ve done the hard work and watched every Matt Cutts video to pull out simple, concise versions of his answers: The Short Cutts!”

Cutts has posted a lot of videos that answer people’s questions about search, how to use SEO, and other Web site tips. He is very concise and to the point and has his video arranged by topic. Cutts also has several ebooks that describe ways to increase a Web site’s performance and how to do digital marketing.

Cutts has good advice, but he leaves out a whopper of truth. Buy Adwords. It skips the SEO silliness. His information only helps SEO, until Google changes again and again. One quick shortcut is to buy Adwords.

Whitney Grace, April 29, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Watch for Flying Pigs as Microsoft Embraces Open Source

April 29, 2014

Microsoft is getting its open source on. Ars Technica reports, “Microsoft Open Sources a Big Chunk of .NET.” It seems the tech giant is softening its stance on open source resources; perhaps they now see they have little choice if the company wants to remain relevant. Writer Peter Bright reports:

“At its Build developer conference today [April 3, 2014], Microsoft announced that it was open sourcing a wide array of its .NET libraries and related technologies and creating a group, the .NET Foundation, to oversee the development and stewardship of the open source components.

“Perhaps the highlight of the announcement today was that the company will be releasing its Roslyn compiler stack as open source under the Apache 2.0 license. Roslyn includes a C# and Visual Basic.NET compiler, offering what Microsoft calls a ‘compiler as a service.'”

Included in the .NET Foundation are reps from Microsoft (of course), GitHub, and Xamarin. Xamarin and Microsoft have been collaborating for some time, and the former is contributing some if its own libraries to the Foundation. If Xamarin’s experience is any example, Microsoft really is making it easier to collaborate with them. Bright writes:

“We talked to Xamarin CTO Miguel de Icaza about working with Microsoft and the decision to make these components open source. For a long time, he said that while the engineers at the two companies had a good relationship, the decisions that Microsoft made—such as not allowing certain pieces of code to be used on non-Windows platforms—made things difficult for Xamarin.

“However, that changed late last year…. Last November, the companies announced that they were partnering to in order to make it easier to use Xamarin’s tools to write code that works on both Microsoft and non-Microsoft platforms.”

Ah, cooperation! The article specifies that Microsoft has removed troublesome license restrictions, solicited design feedback from Xamarin, published docs under a Creative Commons license, and furnished Xamarin with its internal .NET test suite. Is this a sign of things to come? Stay tuned to see whether Microsoft continues to play well with others.

Cynthia Murrell, April 29, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Security Breaches of SharePoint Users Frequent

April 29, 2014

Security is an obvious concern among any enterprise content management system; but with an implementation as big as SharePoint, it is hard to believe all users would be following the rules. CMS Wire relays the latest research and proves suspicions correct in their article, “SharePoint Users Routinely Breach Security Policies.”

The story begins:

“Research by Cryptzone shows at least 36 percent of SharePoint users are breaching security policies — and another 9 percent admit they have no idea how to prevent sensitive information from being uploaded. The study, conducted among attendees at Microsoft’s SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas in March, is a warning to organizations that it is essential to develop adequate information security policies.”

Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search and a frequent reporter on all things SharePoint. His Web service, ArnoldIT.com, often gives attention to the issues surrounding SharePoint security. In this case, abidance by SharePoint rules and regulations can often be improved if users are comfortable with the platform and feel that it suits their needs. Arnold finds that an implementation plan and a good deal of customization go a long way.

Emily Rae Aldridge, April 29, 2014

India: The Future of Search

April 28, 2014

I read “New RTI Search Engine Makes the Task Tougher.” A number of government sites have made changes that seem to make finding information more difficult. In some cases, locating information may be almost impossible. When I lived in Washington, DC, as a grade school student, I remember my father stopping at a government agency and walking in to obtain some information. I am not sure how my father’s approach would be received today.

In the Pune Mirror article, I noted this passage about India’s Right to Information finding system:

a new search engine has been put in place that makes it mandatory for visitors to know the specific date, topic, category and sub-category in order to track a particular circular. Also, information like mode of payment for RTI fees, circulars, advertisements and office memorandums, that were up front as per their date of issuance from the year 2005, have gone missing.

In my experience, most users are not able to provide sufficiently narrow terms or provide key details about a needed item of information. As a result, it is now trivially easy for a governmental entity to drop a old-school photographer’s cloak over some information. I noted this comment in the article:

“With the new system in place, you need to know the exact date, topic, category and sub category in order to find the circular. Considering the level of literacy in this country, who will know all details?” he demanded. “We are all stake-holders and they should have asked before making these changes. All political parties have opposed the RTI Act.

The article points to an opinion that the new Indian search system is designed to “harass” users. I don’t agree. More commercial and governmental entities are fearful of user access to some information.

Is the use of the word “transparency” a signal that finding information is not in the cards. For me, I am not too concerned. I have developed a turtle like approach to these “retrieval enhancements.” I no longer look for information online as often as I did when I was but a callow lad.

I am pulling my head in my shell now. There. That’s better. Predictive search delivers pizza and sports scores. What more does a modern person require?

Stephen E Arnold, April 28, 2014

Search Without Words at Yelp

April 28, 2014

This is an interesting option that perhaps only the Millennials and younger are equipped to take full advantage of. Fast Company reports, “Now You Can Use Emoji to Search Yelp.” For those unfamiliar with the term, emoji are like the more familiar emoticons, but provide a much larger vocabulary. The icons originate in Japan, and are built right into many Japanese devices. Reporter Chris Gayomali writes:

“Emoji are great stand-ins when words aren’t cutting it. Which is perfect for a service like Yelp, since sifting through meal options can often lead to paralyzing indecision, leaving you dinner-less and hangry.

“Now, in an update to its mobile app, Yelp allows users to search local businesses using those puzzling, beaming little character faces. That means pizza, beers, ramen, and yes, apparently even the happy-faced turd are fair game for search results.”

The write-up shares a couple of screenshots from emoji-powered searches. One using a cute, smiling pig’s head emoji produces a list of nearby restaurants that feature pork, while one using a bowl of ramen pulls up a list of Japanese dining venues. I suppose this is a sign of the times, though just what it portends is beyond this Gen X goose.

Cynthia Murrell, April 28, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

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