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Is Google Net Neutral?

March 31, 2015

When the FCC passed laws that protect net neutrality, the Internet rejoiced that its crazy antics would be safeguarded and content would not be as regulated when it comes to search retrieval and indexing. Big technology companies that make the bulk of the revenue from Internet related services and products are beginning to voice their opinions on the matter, including Google. Drew Crawford wrote on his blog Sealed Abstract a very heated post about Google’s stance in the entire net neutrality argument: “Google, Our Patron Saint Of The Closed Web.” The blog points out the Google is net neutral with the Droid open market and its employees’ blogs, but apparently Google is also out to destroy the free Web too.

Google plans to take control of all .dev domain addresses and possible others in an effort to have these extensions solely related to Google products and services. In short, if you want to use any domains with this ending, like a blog, you will be forced to use a Google service. It is reminiscent of when Google forced people to sign-up for Google Plus if users wanted to continue using YouTube.

“My point is that if you think Google is some kind of Patron Saint of the Open Web, shit son. Tim Cook on his best day could not conceive of a dastardly plan like this. This is a methodical, coordinated, long-running and well-planned attack on the open web that comes from the highest levels of Google leadership.”

The news is not surprising when you assemble the pieces, but it is disheartening that there do not seem to be any big companies on the little guy’s side. And I thought Google was committed to not being evil.

Whitney Grace, March 31, 2015

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Watson Goes Blekko

March 28, 2015

I read “Goodbye Blekko: Search Engine Joins IBM’s Watson Team.” According to the write up, “Blekko’s home page says its team and technology are now part of IBM’s Watson technology.” I would not know this. I do not use the service. I wrestled with the implementation of Blekko on a news service and then wondered if Yandex was serious about the company. Bottom line: Blekko is not one of my go to search systems, and I don’t cover it in my Alternatives to Google lectures for law enforcement and intelligence professionals.

The write up asserts:

Blekko came out of stealth in 2008 with Skrenta promising to create a search engine with “algorithmic editorial differentiation” compared to Google. Its public search engine finally opened in 2010, launching with what the site called “slashtags” — a personalization and filtering tool that gave users control over the sites they saw in Blekko’s search results.

Another search system becomes part of the puzzling Watson service. How many information access systems does IBM require to make Watson the billion dollar revenue generator or at least robust enough to pay the rent for the Union Square offices?

IBM “owns” the Clementine system which arrived with the SPSS purchase. IBM owns Vivisimo, which morphed into a Big Data system in the acquisition news release, iPhrase, and the wonky search functions in DB2. Somewhere along the line, IBM snagged the Illustra system. From its own labs, IBM has Web Fountain. There is the decades old STAIRS system which may still be available as Service Master. And, of course, there is the Lucene system which provides the dray animals for Watson. Whew. That is a wealth of information access technology, and I am not sure it is comprehensive.

My point is that Blekko and its razzle dazzle assertions now have to provide something that delivers a payoff for IBM. On the other hand, maybe IBM Watson executives are buying technology in the hopes that one of the people “aquihired” or the newly bought zeros and ones will generate massive cash flows.

Watson has morphed from a question answering game show winner into all manner of fantastic information processing capabilities. For me, Watson is an example of what happens when a lack of focus blends with money, executive compensation schemes, and a struggling $100 billion outfit.

Lots of smoke. Not much revenue fire. Stakeholders hope it will change. I am looking forward to a semantically enriched recipe for barbeque sauce that includes tamarind and other spices not available in Harrod’s Creek, Kentucky. Yummy. A tasty addition to the quarterly review menu: Blekko with revenue and a piquant profit sauce.

Perhaps IBM next will acquire Pertimm and the Qwant search system which terrrifes Eric Schmidt? Surprises ahead. I prefer profitable, sustainable revenues however.

Stephen E Arnold, March 28, 2015

Elasticsearch Becomes Elastic, Acquires Found

March 25, 2015

The article on Forbes.com titled Elasticsearch Changes Its Name, Enjoys An Amazing Open Source Ride and Hopes to Avoid Mistakes explains the latest acquisition and the reasons behind the name change to simply Elastic. That choice is surmised to be due to Elastic’s wish to avoid confusion over the open source product Elasticsearch and the company itself. It also signals the company’s movement beyond solely providing search technology. The article also discusses the acquisition of Found, a Norwegian company,

“Found provides hosted and fully ­managed Elasticsearch clusters with technology that automates processes such as installation, configuration, maintenance, backup, and high­availability. Doing all of this heavy-lifting enables developers to integrate a search engine into their database, website or app quickly In addition, Found has created a turnkey process to scale Elasticsearch clusters up or down at any time and without any downtime. Found’s Elasticsearch as a Service offering is being used by companies like Docker, Gild… and the New York Public Library.”

Elasticsearch has raised almost $105 million since its start after being created by Shay Banon in 2010. The article posits that they have been doing the right things so far, such as the acquisition of Kibana, the visualization vendor. Although some startups relying on Elasticsearch may throw shade at the Found acquisition, there are no foreseeable threats to Elastic’s future.

Chelsea Kerwin, March 25, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Accenture Makes a Big Purchase to Chase Government Clients

March 20, 2015

Accenture Federal Services (AFS) is one of the leading companies that provide technology and digital solutions for the US federal government. The parent company Accenture LLP has sought to increase its amount of federal contracts as well a products and services, so the company decided to purchase Agilex Technologies, Inc says Big News Network in “Accenture Unit To Agilex Technologies.”

” ‘Acquiring Agilex will help AFS further solidify our position as an innovative leader in the federal market. Combining our digital capabilities and agile methods will accelerate our ability to help clients harness the power of emerging digital technologies and rapid, predictable systems deployment for the federal government’s most complex challenges,’ said David Moskovitz, Accenture Federal Services chief executive.”

AFS plans to use Agilex’s technology to improve its own analytics, cloud, and mobile technology for federal organizations. Agilex, like its new owner, has worked with every cabinet-level department and federal agencies in defense, intelligence, public safety, civilian and military health organizations.

AFS will have more to offer its federal clients, but it does beg the question if it will lead to a monopoly on government contracts or increase the competition?

Whitney Grace, March 20, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Akio Software Acquires Spotter

March 18, 2015

Short honk: Last year Akio software acquired Spotter, a business intelligence company. You can read the announcement at this link. Information about the pre-acquisition technology of Spotter appears in this Search Wizards Speak interview.

Stephen E Arnold, March 17, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Accenture Adds a New Accent with Agilex Technologies

March 11, 2015

Technology companies are always purchasing new startups as well as established businesses to bolster their product line and add improved technologies to their holdings. It is once more time to see who has bought who and the Big News Network tells us that “Accenture Unit To Acquire Agilex Technologies.”

The acquisition is focused on bringing better solutions to government clients as Agilex Technologies already provides digital solutions to the federal government. Accenture hopes to use Agilex’s technology to improve their analytics, cloud, and mobility and increase rapid delivery.

” ‘Acquiring Agilex will help AFS further solidify our position as an innovative leader in the federal market. Combining our digital capabilities and agile methods will accelerate our ability to help clients harness the power of emerging digital technologies and rapid, predictable systems deployment for the federal government’s most complex challenges,’ said David Moskovitz, Accenture Federal Services chief executive.”

Agilex specializes in technology solutions for federal agencies and has a client list in the at defense, intelligence, public safety, civilian and military health organizations. Agilex was formed to help the government harness technology and fulfill its mission of serving the American people.

Accenture and Agilex will be able to combine their resources and help government organizations make a complete cross over into a digital work environment that provides better services and outcomes.

This is a good move for Accenture as the government is in desperate need of upgrading its technology sphere. Unlike other organizations, the government is a bit slow on the uptake due to money and the usual red tape that hinders development.

Whitney Grace, March 11, 2015
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

AlchemyAPI: Beefing Up Watson

March 5, 2015

Why does Watson need beefing up? I have been inundated with information about Watson the game show winner, Watson the recipe maker, Watson the cancer fighter, and Watson the developer’s Eagle Scout.

IBM acquired a company involved in smart software and predictive analytics. That’s great for the owners of AlchemyAPI. I just am curious why the analytics tools IBM has developed itself, the SPSS toolset, the analytic components like WebFountain on the shelf in an IBM office somewhere are not enough.

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At any rate, the news is presented in “IBM Buys AlchemyAPI to Boost Watson Computing Unit.” The write up reports in the best spirit of recycling IBM PR:

The purchase is designed to boost IBM’s push into more human-like computing services, based around its Watson technology, which can sift huge amounts of data, learn from the results and respond to spoken questions.

I quite like the phrase “IBM is trying to build a big business around Watson.”

No kidding. What does desperation smell like? The odor of cold muffins and warm laptops in a Manhattan office?

When it comes to delivering an integrated suite of service based on predictive analytics and other next generation goodies, I am not sure just buying stuff is the optimal approach. In my opinion, IBM seems to be struggling with the whole Watson offering. Executives unable to land deals with the velocity of Recorded Future, RedOwl, and some other hot outfits may believe that an acquisition is just what Dr. Watson needs.

We’ll see if a startup can power the new smart software economy which Google also covets and Hewlett Packard is chasing with the Autonomy black box of goodies.

Stephen E Arnold, March 5, 2015

OpenText Acquires Actuate

February 24, 2015

The OpenText- Actuate deal has gone through, we learn from OpenText’s press release, “OpenText Buys Actuate Corporation.” It seems they were not much hindered by that legal snag the arrangement encountered at the end of last year. The press release reports:

“Complementing OpenText’s existing information management and B2B integration offerings, Actuate offers increased business process efficiencies, greater brand experience and personalized insight for better and faster decisions via analytics and visualization. OpenText customers will now benefit from added analytic capabilities to their existing deployments and a new breed of analytics that provide insight across entire business flows.”

“Actuate will continue to serve the embedded analytics market, the developer, and will be deeply integrated into OpenText Products and OpenText, enabling OpenText to deliver analytics for the entire EIM suite based on a common platform…. Designed to be embeddable, developers can use the platform to enrich nearly any application, whether it is deployed on premises or in the cloud.”

Founded in 1991 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, OpenText supplies its clients with enterprise content management, business process management, and customer experience management tools. Actuate is headquartered in San Mateo, California, and was launched in 1993. The company founded and co-lead the Eclipse BIRT (Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools) open source project.

Cynthia Murrell, February 24, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

DataStax Buys Graph-Database Startup Aurelius

February 20, 2015

DataStax has purchased open-source graph-database company, Aurelius, we learn in “DataStax Grabs Aurelius in Graph Database Acqui-Hire” at TechCrunch. Aurelius’ eight engineers will reportedly be working at DataStax, delving right into a scalable graph component for the company’s Cassandra-based Enterprise database. This acquisition, DataStax declares, makes theirs the only database platform with graph, analytics, search, and in-memory in one package. Writer Ron Miller tells us:

“DataStax is the commercial face of the open source Apache Cassandra database. Aurelius was the commercial face of the Titan graph database.

“Matt Pfeil, co-founder and chief customer officer at DataStax, says customers have been asking about graph database functionality for some time. Up until now customers have been forced to build their own on top of the DataStax offering.

“‘This was something that was on our radar. As we started to ramp up, it made sense from corporate [standpoint] to buy it instead of build it.’ He added that getting the graph-database engineering expertise was a bonus. ‘There’s not a ton of graph database experts [out there],’ he said.

“This expertise is especially important as two of the five major DataStax key use cases — fraud detection and recommendation engines — involve a graph database.”

Though details of the deal have not been released, see the write-up for some words on the fit between these two companies. Founded on an open-source model, Aurelius was doing just fine in its own. Co-founder Matthias Bröcheler is excited, though, about what his team can do at DataStax. Bröcheler did note that the graph database’s open-source version, Titan, will live on. Aurelius is located in Oakland, California, and was just launched in 2014.

Headquartered in San Mateo, California, DataStax was founded in 2010. Their Cassandra-based software implementations are flexible and scalable. Clients range from young startups to Fortune 100 companies, including such notables as eBay, Netflix and HealthCare Anytime.

Cynthia Murrell, February 20, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Microsoft Acquires Revolution Analytics

February 5, 2015

The article titled Revolution Analytics Joins Microsoft on the Revolution blog makes a case for an open-source company partnering up with Microsoft. Revolution Analytics is the software provider for R, the leading programming language for statistical computing and predictive analytics. Between Microsoft supporting Hadoop and working with Linux as well as making REEF open-source and .NET Core, they are no strangers to open-source. The article goes on with more examples,

“Microsoft has been an active participant in many other open source projects, too. There are over 1,600 OSS projects from Microsoft on CodePlex and GitHub. Microsoft engineers have actively contributed to the Linux kernel for years, and the company has contributed to open source community projects including Chef, Puppet, Docker, MongoDB, Redis and OpenJDK. Microsoft blogs regularly provide information and resources for open-source tools, including Chef, Puppet and Docker.”

Before the acquisition, Microsoft was already working with Revolution Analytics, for example in the creation of Xbox online gaming service’s match-making capabilities. The article promises the Revolution Analytic users that there will be no interruption or changes in services. It also assumes that with the acquisition the number of users will be increased and Revolution Analytics will be able to invest more time and energy into ongoing work such as the R Project and Revolution R products.

Chelsea Kerwin, February 05, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

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