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The Duck Quacks 12 Million Queries

January 14, 2016

DuckDuckGo keeps waddling through its search queries and quacking that it will not track its users information.  DuckDuckGo has remained a small search engine, but its privacy services are chipping away at Google and search engines’ user base.  TechViral shares that “DuckDuckGo The Anti-Google Search Engine Just Reached A New Milestone” and it is reaching twelve million search queries in one day!

In 2015, DuckDuckGo received 3.25 billion search queries, showing a 74 percent increase compared to the 2014 data.  While DuckDuckGo is a private oasis in a sea of tracking cookies, it still uses targeted ads.  However, unlike Google DuckDuckGo only uses ads based on the immediate keywords used in a search query and doesn’t store user information.  It wipes the search engine clean with each use.

DuckDuckGo’s increase of visitors has attracted partnerships with Mozilla and Apple.  The private search engine is a for profit business, but it does have different goals than Google.

“Otherwise, it should be noted that although he refuses to have the same practices as Google, DuckDuckGo already making profits, yes that’s true. And the company’s CEO, Gabriel Weinberg, stop to think it is necessary to collect information about users to monetize a search engine: ‘You type car and you see an advertisement for a car, Google follows you on all these sites because it operates huge advertising networks and other properties. So they need these data for search engines to follow you.’ ”

DuckDuckGo offers a great service for privacy, while it is gaining more users it doesn’t offer the plethora of services Google does.  DuckDuckGo, why not try private email, free office programs, and online data storage?  Would you still be the same if you offered these services?

Whitney Grace, January 14, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Did Apple Buy Topsy for an Edge over Google

January 7, 2016

A couple years ago, Apple bought Topsy Labs, a social analytics firm and Twitter partner out of San Francisco. Now, in “Apple Inc. Acquired Topsy to Beat Google Search Capabilities,” BidnessEtc reports on revelations from Topsy’s former director of business development, Aaron Hayes-Roth. Writer Martin Blanc reveals:

“The startup’s tools were considered to be fast and reliable by the customers who used them. The in-depth analysis was smart enough to go back to 2006 and provide users with analytics and data for future forecasts. Mr. Roth and his team always had a curiosity attached to how Apple would use Twitter in its ecosystem. Apple does not make use of Twitter that much; the account was made in 2011 and there aren’t many tweets that come out of the social network. However, Mr. Roth explains that it was not Twitter data that Apple had its eye on; it was the technology that powered it. The architecture of Topsy makes it easier for systems to search large amounts of data extremely fast with impressive indexing capabilities. Subsequently, Apple’s ecosystem has developed quite a lot since Siri was first introduced with the iPhone 4s. The digital assistant and the Spotlight search are testament to how far Apple’s search capabilities have come.”

The article goes on to illustrate some of those advances, then points out the ongoing rivalry between Apple and Google. Are these improvements the result of Topsy’s tech? And will they give Apple the edge they need over their adversary? Stay tuned.

 

Cynthia Murrell, January 7, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Bing Wants Google Bridge to Fall down, My Dear Lady

December 10, 2015

Microsoft has not given up on Bing yet.  While the Microsoft’s brand name search engine has not gained much traction to take on Google in the United States, the United Kingdom might prove else wise.  The Independent reports that “Rik Van Der Kooi: Microsoft Ups Its Challenge To Google With Big Plans For Bing” in the United Kingdom.  Rik van der Kooi is Microsoft’s global head of search advertising and he wants to give Bing users a more ambient experience.  Microsoft is integrating Bing into more features and applications, such as Microsoft Office, Cortana, Gumtree, Windows 10, and Skype.

Kooi is very eager to introduce Bing into Skype, because it will only benefit users.  He says that:

“In the future we are thinking about not artificially pushing it in but maybe putting it in where it’s of use to the user.  I could imagine a scenario where if you were either talking with somebody via Skype or chatting via Skype, that providing a search experience inside of Skype is a very valuable experience. And if it’s valuable to the user then we would consider it.”

Google still controls 88 percent of the UK’s search market, but Kooi did not stoop to using insults when he was asked about Google.  Instead, he said that Bing and Google have different business approaches.  Google is more focused on advertising as a model, which is different than what Bing does.  Microsoft has a clear plan for Bing, including the knowledge that it has a lot of advertiser demand and forming partnerships with more UK platforms for quality traffic.  Kooi is faithful that Bing will continue to gain traction in the UK and the US, it’s already in the double digits.

 
Whitney Grace, December 10, 2015
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Google Drastically Slows Acquisition Spending

December 3, 2015

As Google becomes Alphabet, the company seems to be taking a new approach to its investments. Business Insider declares, “Google Slammed the Brakes on its Acquisition Machine, with the Lowest Deal-Making Since 2009.” The article references Google’s 10Q quarterly earnings report, and compares that quarter’s acquisition total of $250 million to the company’s speeding sprees of years past; see the post for details. Writer Alexai Oreskovic observes:

“The M&A slowdown comes as Google has transformed itself into the Alphabet holding company, which separates various Google projects, such as fiber-based internet access, and Nest into separate companies. It also comes as new CFO Ruth Porat has taken steps to make Google more disciplined about its spending, and to return some cash to shareholders through buybacks. Stock buybacks and slowing M&A — perhaps this is the new Google. Or perhaps Google is just taking a breather on its acquisitions to digest all the companies it has swallowed up over the years. Asked about the slowing M&A, a Google representative responded by email: ‘Acquisitions by their nature are inherently lumpy and don’t follow neat 9 month patterns.’”

Well, that’s true, I suppose, as far as it goes. We hope this turn to fiscal discipline does not portend trouble for Google/ Alphabet. What is the plan? We are curious to see where the company goes from here.

Cynthia Murrell, December 3, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Reed Elsevier Lexis Nexis Embraces Legal Analytics: No, Not an Oxymoron

November 27, 2015

Lawyers and legal search and content processing systems do words. The analytics part of life, based on my limited experience of watching attorneys do mathy stuff, is not these folks’ core competency. Words. Oh, and billing. I can’t overlook billing.

I read “Now It’s Official: Lexis Nexis Acquires Lex Machina.” This is good news for the stakeholders of Lex Machina. Reed Elsevier certainly expects Lex Machina’s business processes to deliver an avalanche of high margin revenue. One can only raise prices so far before the old chestnut from Economics 101 kicks in: Price elasticity. Once something is too expensive, the customers kick the habit, find an alternative, or innovate in remarkable ways.

According to the write up:

LexisNexis today announced the acquisition of Silicon Valley-based Lex Machina, creators of the award-winning Legal Analytics platform that helps law firms and companies excel in the business and practice of law.

So what does legal analytics do? Here’s the official explanation, which is in, gentle reader, words:

  • A look into the near future. The integration of Lex Machina Legal Analytics with the deep collection of LexisNexis content and technology will unleash the creation of new, innovative solutions to help predict the results of legal strategies for all areas of the law.
  • Industry narrative. The acquisition is a prominent and fresh example of how a major player in legal technology and publishing is investing in analytics capabilities.

I don’t exactly know what Lex Machina delivers. The company’s Web page states:

We mine litigation data, revealing insights never before available about judges, lawyers, parties, and patents, culled from millions of pages of IP litigation information. We call these insights Legal Analytics, because analytics involves the discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data. Our customers use to win in the highly competitive business and practice of law. Corporate counsel use Lex Machina to select and manage outside counsel, increase IP value and income, protect company assets, and compare performance with competitors. Law firm attorneys and their staff use Lex Machina to pitch and land new clients, win IP lawsuits, close transactions, and prosecute new patents.

I think I understand. Lex Machina applies the systems and methods used for decades by companies like BAE Systems (Detica/ NetReveal) and similar firms to provide tools which identify important items. (BAE was one of Autonomy’s early customers back in the late 1990s.) Algorithms, not humans reading documents in banker boxes, find the good stuff. Costs go down because software is less expensive than real legal eagles. Partners can review outputs and even visualizations. Revolutionary.

Read more

Acquisition Horrors: HP Takes Top Spot

November 3, 2015

I read “Horror Show: Worst Mergers and Acquisitions in Tech History.” I like these categorical affirmatives. You know. All men are mortal, etc.

The write up identifies some MBA plays that jumped the tracks. The list of flops include:

  • Caldera and SCO (a Unix mash up)
  • Palm and HP (a number of other players too)
  • Oracle and Sun Micro (yep, commodity hardware will go nowhere)
  • America Online and Time Warner (still amazing after all those years)
  • HP and Compaq (yikes, HP again)
  • Northern Telecom and Bay Networks (clever Canadians)
  • Microsoft and Danger (how is that mobile phone business working out, Microsoft?)
  • Borland and Ashton Tate (a gem)
  • Novell and Unix (Utah antics)
  • MySpace and News Corp. (real journalism in action)
  • Google and Motorola (ah, the good old days of informed reasoning)
  • Zynga and OMGPOP (bankers love this type of deal)
  • HP and Autonomy (yikes, again).
  • Facebook and Instagram (planning is us)
  • Apple and Lala (the beat goes on)
  • Cisco and Linksys (dear, old Cisco)
  • Nokia and Microsoft (how is that mobile phone business working out, Microsoft?)

These 17 mini cases are interesting to me because one company makes the list three times. HP and Palm, HP and Compaq, and HP and Autonomy.

Some of these other case examples are spectacular; for example, the Google Motorola tie up.

But for a single company to make the list three times says quite a bit about the management teams at HP over the years of these deals.

Stellar achievement, HP. And a tip of the hat to the analyst who seems to have recycled an MBA study group project for the article.

Stephen E Arnold, November 3, 2015

HP Management on Deal Making

November 2, 2015

I love it when management wizards makes comments about management—at other companies. Navigate to “HP Enterprise’s Whitman Pans Dell’s EMC Purchase over Debt.” When you read this comment from HP’s top dog, keep in mind that HP bought DEC and Compaq and flubbed the revenue. Then HP bought Autonomy and wrote off $8 billion of the purchase price.

Here goes:

But, the reality is that we are two years ahead of the game and it will be difficult for others to catch up. First, let me give a little context. To pay back the interest on the $50 billion of debt that the new combined company will have on their balance sheet, Dell will need to pay roughly $2.5 billion a year in interest alone. That’s $2.5 billion that they will allocate away from R&D and other business critical activities, which will keep them from better serving their customers.

In case HP has forgotten, Amazon seems to be doing okay in the cloud market. What is the cost of the Autonomy acquisition? Hmm.

That’s HP.

Stephen E Arnold, November 2, 2015

RAVN Pipeline Coupled with ElasticSearch to Improve Indexing Capabilities

October 28, 2015

The article on PR Newswire titled RAVN Systems Releases its Enterprise Search Indexing Platform, RAVN Pipeline, to Ingest Enterprise Content Into ElasticSearch unpacks the decision to improve the ElasticSearch platform by supplying the indexing platform of the RAVN Pipeline. RAVN Systems is a UK company with expertise in processing unstructured data founded by consultants and developers. Their stated goal is to discover new lands in the world of information technology. The article states,

“RAVN Pipeline delivers a platform approach to all your Extraction, Transformation and Load (ETL) needs. A wide variety of source repositories including, but not limited to, File systems, e-mail systems, DMS platforms, CRM systems and hosted platforms can be connected while maintaining document level security when indexing the content into Elasticsearch. Also, compressed archives and other complex data types are supported out of the box, with the ability to retain nested hierarchical structures.”

The added indexing ability is very important, especially for users trying to index from from or into cloud-based repositories. Even a single instance of any type of data can be indexed with the Pipeline, which also enriches data during indexing with auto-tagging and classifications. The article also promises that non-specialists (by which I assume they mean people) will be able to use the new systems due to their being GUI driven and intuitive.

Chelsea Kerwin, October 28, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Genentech Joins the Google Enterprise Crew

October 22, 2015

Enterprise search offers customizable solutions for organizations to locate and organize their data.  Most of the time organizations purchase a search solution is to become more efficient, comply with procedures for quality compliance, and or to further their business development.  The latter usually revolves around sales operation planning, program research, customer service, contracts, and tech sales collateral.

Life sciences companies are but one of the few that can benefit from enterprise search solutions.  Genentech recently deployed the Google Search Application to improve the three areas listed above.  Perficient explains the benefits of enterprise search for a life science company in the video, “Why Life Sciences Leader Genentech Adopted Google Enterprise Search.”

“‘…we explore why life sciences leader Genentech executed Google Search Appliance. “No company is or should ever be static. You have to evolve,’ said CEO Ian Clark.”

Perficient helps companies like Genentech by customizing a search solution by evaluating the company and identifying the areas where it can be improved the most.  They host workshops to evaluate where people in different areas must stop to search for information before returning to the task.  From the workshops, Perficient can create a business prototype to take their existing business process and improve upon it.  Perficient follows this procedure when it deploys enterprise search in new companies.

The video only explains a short version of the process Perficient deployed at Genentech to improve their business operations with search.  A full webinar was posted on their Web site: “Google Search For Life Sciences Companies.”

 

Whitney Grace, October 22, 2015
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Meg Whitman, President of HP, Gets Flack for Partial Follow-Through on Ultimatum

October 14, 2015

The article titled HP Didn’t Actually Fire All the Employees It Threatened to Cut on Business Insider details the management teachings from Hewlett Packard. To summarize, HP recently delivered an ultimatum to several hundred employees that they had to shift off HP’s payroll and become contract workers for significantly lower pay with HP’s partner Ciber. If they refused, they would be let go. Except that the employees mutinied and complained, resulting in HP negotiating for higher salaries from Ciber as well as holding on to a few employees who refused the deal. The article states,

“On top of that, HP is also shipping most of the jobs in this business unit offshore. Whitman wants 60% of the Enterprise Services division jobs to be in low-cost areas of the world, compared to less than 40% today. Employees in this unit fully expect HP to line up more take-it-or-leave it contract jobs, they tell us, so we’ll see how HP handles the next one if it does materialize.”

This is all in the midst of HP’s massive layoffs of over 80,000 employees, 51,000 of whom have already been let go. Morale must be under the building. The non-negotiable ultimatum strategy did not seem to work, and at any rate is bad business, especially when coupled with it being overturned later in a handful of instances.

Chelsea Kerwin, October 14, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

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