Quote to Note: Putting LA Sports News in the NY Times

April 16, 2015

Here’s a keeper for my quotes to note folder. The source is the New York Times, April 16, 2015, page 8 in the business section (where else?). The article has the Google index friendly title: “Challenge to Google. Innovation May Undercut Case. As in Microsoft v. Europe, Innovation May Undercut Case.” Beefy. [If the headline disappears along with the story, speak to someone other than me. You may be able to purchase a dead tree version of the newspaper if you live in an area where distribution makes it available.]

Here’s the quote attributed to the astute Warren Buffer of search engine optimization expert, Daniel (Danny) Sullivan:

You don’t expect the New York Times to carry a rival sports section. But you do expect it to have a sports section. When people go to a search engine, they’re looking to search across everything.”

An interesting generalization. I am not sure most people “go to Google.” Most people use what ever system is baked into their “user experience.” But that’s less important than the suggestion that the “you” is what I do. Nope. I also noted the “everything.” I find that suggestion of comprehensiveness amusing. Not as chuckle worthy as IBM Watson’s smart software writing recipes, but it is right up there in the search Top 100 silly generalizations.

The quote also brushes against a larger question, a question ignored by the New York Times; to wit:

Why is ripping off the LA Times’ sports section egregious and taking other outfits’ digital facts sort of okay?

I think the answer resides in the little appreciated patents issued to Ramanathan Guha and Alon Halevy, both smart people and both Googlers when each did quite prescient work. If you are not familiar with the notion of building a comprehensive global knowledge base populated by nifty Georgia Tech T shirt wearing software agents, you are missing some useful color on Google’s assumptions, systems, and methods.

But, hey, who really cares about the global knowledge base thing, the notion of dataspaces, and Guha’s vision of applied semantic technologies in his quick slick architecture of smart software?

The Guha Halevy work is important in my opinion. More than generalizations will be needed for experts and legal eagles to figure out that the Google processes have been humming away for many, many years. Still few outside of Google understand what’s up?

Roll out the generalizations. Google will have a barrel of fun. Ignore penetrating questions. Google will rake in the dough.

Stephen E Arnold, April 16, 2015


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