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A Monocle from Alphabet?

December 1, 2015

Short honk: I read “The Next Google Glass Might Be a Monocle.” The write up says:

… The new device only attaches to one side of the user’s head and displays images and videos above a single eye.

I came across this monocle and wondered it the Google high style approach will emulate this attractive monocular approach to modern life:


If this is the design motif, no one would ever poke fun at this approach ever again. Never. Ever.

Stephen E Arnold, December 1, 2015

Alphabet Google: The Challenge Is People

December 1, 2015

I read, after going through a “must register to read this” process a write up called “Inside the Problem with Alphabet.”

The passage I highlighted was:

many entrepreneurs would bristle at having a single source of capital and limitations on headcount or other things.

The Alphabet Google thing faces a number of challenges. These range from censorship (Palestinian videos versus other political movements’ videos), the legal hassles with the somewhat disorganized folks in the European Union, and the difficulty the company has with new innovations like Loon balloons.

The article also coins a new word, which I admire. The name coined for the Alphabet Google thing is Alphagoogle. I will still use my coinage Googzilla on occasion because dinosaurs fell victim to either a black swan event or some other exogenous action which left the lovable creatures vulnerable.

The evolution of Google is problematic. Change in a large organization is difficult. Googlers seem confident that their approach to Web search is correct. The company exudes confidence. Those self driving cars are not at fault when an accident occurs. People are the problem.

The article focuses on autonomy within Google. The problem is correctly identified. The task, according to the article, is that Google management has is “to make Alphabet better than Google.”

For me, Google is Google. The name does not alter the trajectory the company has followed since 2006-2007. One idea, greatly influenced by Overture/GoTo, has allowed Alphabet Google to be Alphabet Google.

The next big thing? Much effort, modest results in terms of revenue and sustainable revenue. Hope springs eternal.

Stephen E Arnold, December 1, 2015

Linguamatics Clears Copyright

December 1, 2015

What is a researcher’s dream?  A researcher’s dream is to be able to easily locate and access viable, full-text resources without having to deal with any copyright issues.  One might think that all information is accessible via the Internet and a Google search, but if this is how you think professional research happens then you are sadly mistaken.  Most professional articles and journals are locked behind corporate academic walls with barbed wire made from copyright laws.

PR Newswire says in “Linguamatics Expands Cloud Text Mining Platform To Include Full-Text Articles” as way for life science researchers to legally bypass copyright.  Linguamatics is a natural language processing text-mining platform and it will now incorporate the Copyright Clearance Center’s new text mining solution RightFind XML.  This will allow researchers to have access to over 4,000 peer-reviewed journals from over twenty-five of scientific, technical, and medical publishers.

“The solution enables researchers to make discoveries and connections that can only be found in full-text articles. All of the content is stored securely by CCC and is pre-authorized by publishers for commercial text mining. Users access the content using Linguamatics’ unique federated text mining architecture which allows researchers to find the key information to support business-critical decisions. The integrated solution is available now, and enables users to save time, reduce costs and help mitigate an organization’s copyright infringement risk.”

I can only hope that other academic databases and publishers will adopt a similar and (hopefully) more affordable way to access full-text, viable resources.  One of the biggest drawbacks to Internet research is having to rely on questionable source information, because it is free and readily available.  Easier access to more accurate information form viable resources will not only improve information, but also start a trend to increase its access.

Whitney Grace, December 1, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Alphabet Google Goes to College

November 30, 2015

I read “Google’s Insidious Shadow Lobbying: How the Internet Giant Is Bankrolling Friendly Academics—and Skirting Federal Investigations.” The write up seems to take a somewhat negative view of alleged Google activities. The clue? The word “insidious.” Put that in your sentiment analysis system, gentle reader.

I learned:

Google’s actions between 2011 and 2013 show how they dodge legal bullets: by molding elite opinion, using the support of experts and academics as a firewall against criticism. The donations to George Mason and professors at other universities reveal that Google purchases that privilege. It’s just one way Google uses its war chest to influence policymakers: they spent $5.47 million on official lobbying in the first quarter of 2015 alone, and spends more money on lobbying than any public company. But the academic funding machine may be even more insidious, a stealth form of lobbying wrapped in the guise of “independent” research. Google has not responded to multiple requests for comment at the time of publication.

Interesting. How does this differ from the funding by commercial enterprises of other activities. You know. There are programs at Ivy League schools with supporters. There are buildings at some universities with the names of folks who represent some interesting outfits.

Give the Alphabet Google thing a break. Salaries at most universities for the hard working researchers do not cover the payments on a Toyota Prius.

From my point of view, I believe almost everything academics write and the contents of commercial online databases charging money for articles for which the hard working researchers have paid to get “published.” I am confident that research results are indeed reproducible. Academics do good work.

Want more data? Just run queries on the GOOG. Precision, recall, and objectivity in abundance.

Stephen E Arnold, November 30, 2015

Yandex Takes on Google with Anticompetitive Business Practices

November 30, 2015

Google is the dominate search engine in North America, South America, and Europe.  When it comes to Asia, however, Google faces stiff competition with Yahoo in Japan and Yandex in Russia.  Yandex has been able to hold a firm market share and remains stuff competition for Google.  Reuters says that “Russia’s Yandex Says Complained To EU Over Google’s Android” pointing to how Yandex might be able to one up its competition.

According to the article, Russia has petitioned the European Commission to investigate Google’s practices related to the Android mobile OS.  Yandex has been trying for a long time to dislodge Google’s attempts to gain a stronger market share in Europe and Asia.

“The new complaint could strengthen the case against Google, possibly giving enough ammunition to EU antitrust regulators to eventually charge the company with anti-competitive business practices, on top of accusations related to its Google Shopping service. The formal request was filed in April 2015 and largely mirrors the Russian company’s claims against the U.S. company in a Russian anti-monopoly case that Yandex won.”

The Russian competition watchdog discovered that Google is trying to gain an unfair advantage in the European and Asian search markets.  Yandex is one of the few companies who voices its dislike of Google along with Disconnect, Aptoide, and the FairSearch lobbying group.  Yandex wants the European Commission to restore balance to the market, so that fair competition can return.  Yandex is especially in favor of having mobile device users be able to select their search engine of choice, rather than having one preprogrammed into the OS.

It is interesting to view how competitive business practices take place over seas.  Usually in the United States whoever has the deepest pockets achieves market dominance, but the European Union is proving to uphold a fairer race for search dominance.  Even more interesting is that Google is complaining Yandex is trying to maintain its domiance with these complaints.

Whitney Grace, November 30, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Alphabet Google: The Quest to Diversify Its Revenue

November 26, 2015

Google has been around 15 years, more if you count Backrub. In that time, Google has managed to generate about 95 percent of its revenue from online advertising. I am not to fond of projections, but if one plots the percentage of revenue Google receives from ads and from other sources, the “other sources” are consistently modest. In short, Google has been and remains a one trick revenue pony. I recall that Steve Ballmer, now an owner of an NBA team and veteran of the wonderful Microsoft management training program. Usually I am skeptical of MBAs who jump from high tech to professional sports, but in this case, Mr. Ballmer seems to be correct.

Nevertheless, I read in “Google Aims to Be ‘Cloud Company’ by 2020, Predicts More Revenue from Cloud Platform Than Ads”:

Urs Hölze, Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure, predicts that within the next five years, Google’s Cloud Platform revenues could surpass its advertising revenue. “The goal is for us to talk about Google as a cloud company by 2020,” Holze said.

Let’s see. It is Monday. What companies this week have informed me directly or indirectly that each will generate lots of revenue from the cloud? Answer: Amazon, IBM, and a handful of other outfits. Oh, right Microsoft.

When it comes to revenue diversification, the proof is in the numbers. When I examine a company’s financials, I take a look at what the company has done over the previous years. For example, when a search vendor like Endeca gets stuck in the $150 million range for several years, I think it is unlikely that Endeca will jump to be a $1.0 billion dollar outfit. Google has a history of being unable to diversify its revenue. Maybe one can interpret a subscription to YouTube as a new revenue stream. I am willing to go along with that, but quite a few outfits want to do the cloud thing.

Google wants to do science projects, solve death, launch Loon balloons, and make Glass into a fashionable product. Talk is easy. Revenue from non ad sources may be a little more difficult.

Stephen E Arnold, November 26, 2015

Goole and Google: If You Are Not in Google, You Do Not Exist

November 24, 2015

Short honk: The Alphabet Google is without fault in my opinion. Some folks may not agree. I read “Resident Living in Yorkshire Town of Goole Launch Their Own Internet Search Engine.”

According to the write up:

Despite 19,000 people living there – and it being mentioned as far back as 1362 – residents say the internet giant has made the town seem like ‘just a search engine’ by suggesting people are searching ‘Google’ when typing in the town’s name.

I noted this Goole-ish comment:

‘And, at the end of the day, we were here first. Goole has been around since 1826 – Google was only founded in 1998. The Internet giant has made the town seem like ‘just a search engine’. ‘You can imagine, therefore, how frustrating it is to put in a search containing the word Goole, only to be confronted by the question “Did you mean: Google?”‘

Some folks are not happy with a free search and information access system which delivers relevant results. The fix? My thought is to change the name of the town. If you are not in Google, you don’t exist, right? The notion that the Alphabet Google thing does not deliver relevant results is silly.

Stephen E Arnold, November 24, 2015

Watson Put to Work in Academia as a Sounding Board and Study Buddy

November 24, 2015

The article on Kurzweil AI titled IBM’s Watson Shown to Enhance Human-Computer Co-Creativity, Support Biologically Inspired Design discusses a project set up among researchers and student teams at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The teams input information and questions about biomimetics, or biologically inspired design, and then Watson served as an “intelligent research assistant” for a Computational Creativity course in Spring 2015. The professor teaching the class, Ashok Goel, explained the benefits of this training.

“Imagine if you could ask Google a complicated question and it immediately responded with your answer — not just a list of links to manually open, says Goel. “That’s what we did with Watson. Researchers are provided a quickly digestible visual map of the concepts relevant to the query and the degree to which they are relevant. We were able to add more semantic and contextual meaning to Watson to give some notion of a conversation with the AI.”

Biomimetics is all about the comparison and inspiration of biological systems for technological system creation. The ability to “converse” with Watson could even help a student study a complicated topic and understand key concepts. Using Watson as an assistant who can bounce answers back at a professional could apply to many fields, and Goel is currently looking into online learning and healthcare. Watch out, grad students and TAs!

Chelsea Kerwin, November 24, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Google and Search Quality Guidelines

November 21, 2015

You want your Web site to be found despite the shift to mobile devices. You want your mobile site to be found as more than half of the world ignores the old school approach to Web surfing. You want, no, you need traffic now.

The pathway to traffic heaven is explained in more than 150 pages of Google goodness. The Google Search Quality Guidelines may be downloaded for now at this link.

What will you learn:

  • How to conform to Google’s definition of “quality”
  • What to do to produce higher “quality” Web pages
  • What to do to signal Google that you are into mobile.

Does the document explain the thresholds and interlinkage of the “scores” generated by the layers of code wrapped around PageRank.


If you implement these actions, will you experience traffic like never before? Nah. Buy Adwords. The Google wants to shave time off its processes. The guidelines may have more to do with Google’s needs than webmasters?

I like the “proprietary and confidential” statement too.

Stephen E Arnold, November 21, 2015

Google Plus or Is It +: Try and Trying Again

November 18, 2015

I read a pride of write ups about Google Plus or is it Google +. Searching for odd ball characters like “+” or “^” adds some spice to the researcher’s life.

A representative article is “Google Isn’t Giving Up on Its Social Networking Ghost Town Google +.” That’s an important idea. Google has been struggling with the Facebook type service since the days of Orkut.

Google, unlike Facebook, comes at social from the search and retrieval angle spiced with a healthy dependency on online advertising juice. Facebook originated with an idea appealing to lonely folks in a dorm.

According to the write up:

the web giant has just given the service a complete overhaul on iOS, Android and the web. The new design focuses on “collections” and “communities”, positioning Google+ as a network dedicated to interests, rather than a personal service. Its layout has also been simplified and better optimized for mobile.

Some of the comments on Hacker News were quite interesting. Here are three:

Dredmorbius: Google have been tremendously coy about what their success metrics for G+ are, though they’ve played highly disingenuous all-but-utterly-fake numbers games in playing up “engagement” since the very beginning. I’d argue that the issue isn’t numbers, but relevance. G+ is lousy in many ways but has a few small areas of success, notably its Notifications mechanic, a community which, for me, works fairly well, and a search which while pathetically under-featured is comprehensive and fast. inning the numbers game for social vs. Facebook in its current incarnation is a fool’s errand. Numerous people have pointed this out, including ex-Googlers pointing at the “Interest Graph” (though suggestions for following / pursuing this date to the first few months of G+). If Google does grab the Cosmo crowd, that’s fine, so long as it doesn’t also chase off the Nature/PLOS crowd in the process. Unfortunately, Google’s proven more than happy to sling absolute snot (as in the G+ “What Snot” feature … oh, no, that’s “What’s Hot”). Power users learn how to disable that instantly.

A second comment I noted:

Nilkn: This [Google’s design approach] is actually part of why my recent switch from Android to iOS was so refreshing. While material design looks great on some level, it seems to be so remarkably wasteful of space. Google+ actually feels claustrophobic to me in a way: there’s so much content, and yet you can see so little of it at a time. It creates a feeling of being constantly lost.

And a final one:

Pbreit:  Seems like it’s still drastically missing the mark on having a reason for being. Why would I use this? What would I put on there? Why there and not elsewhere?

The Alphabet Google thing wants to be social. It wants to generate ad revenue. It wants to be more than search. Noble goals.

Stephen E Arnold, November 18, 2015

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