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OpenText Buys CEM Platform from HP Inc.

July 27, 2016

When Hewlett Packard split up its business in 2015, consumer-printer firm HP Inc. was created; that entity got custody of HP’s CEM platform. Now we learn, from an article at TechCrunch, that “OpenText Acquires HP Customer Experience Content Management for $170 Million.” OpenText expects the deal to generate between $85 million and $95 million in its first year alone. Writer Ron Miller describes:

“The package of products sold to OpenText today come from the HP Engage line and includes HP TeamSite, a web content management tool left over from the purchase of Interwoven (which was actually bought by Autonomy before Autonomy was sold to HP), HP MediaBin, a digital asset management solution, HP Qfiniti, a workforce optimization solution for enterprise contact center management, as well as HP Explore, HP Aurasma, and HP Optimost.”

Some suspect HP was eager to unload this division from the time of the company’s split. Even if that is true, OpenText seems poised to make a lot from their investment; Miller cites the blog post of content-management consultant Tony Byrne:

“The most important thing to understand, though, is that as a vendor OpenText is a financial construct in search of a technology rationale. The company follows a ‘roll-up’ strategy: purchasing older tools for their maintenance revenue streams, streams which — while not always large — are almost always very profitable.”

It is true. In contrast to, say, Google’s method of trying nearly every idea conceived within their company and seeing what sticks, OpenText  tends to be deliberate and calculated in their decisions. We are curious to see where this investment goes.

Based in Waterloo, Ontario, OpenText offers tools for enterprise information management, business process management, and customer experience management. Launched in 1991, the company now serves over 100,000 customers around the world. They are also hiring in several locations as of this writing.

 

Cynthia Murrell, July 27, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Alphabet Google May Dominate AI for Developers

July 26, 2016

Advertising dominance is not enough. Tackling problems like solving death is not enough. Failing at augmented reality is not enough. Google wants to dominate artificial intelligence.

I know. I read “Google Sprints Ahead in AI Building Blocks, Leaving Rivals Wary.” Now quite a few folks have released to open source various types of smart software. But the Alphabet Google thing knows that smart software can cut electricity bills and generate less and less useful search results for me.

The write up takes a different approach. I learned:

But for some competitors, there’s a big downside to adopting Google’s standard. Using TensorFlow will help Google recruit more AI experts by training them on the same tool it uses internally, spotting their code, and hiring the best contributors. It could also let the search-engine provider exert outsize influence over the burgeoning AI ecosystem. If the internet giant dominates in this field, it could gain an advantage in the fast-growing cloud-computing business, turning the popularity of its software into real revenue. “It’s the next big area, and people are worried Google’s going to own the show,” said Ed Lazowska, a computer science professor at the University of Washington who has served on the technical advisory board of Microsoft Corp.’s research lab. “There is a network effect, and it’s a really excellent system.”

What’s the solution? Well, there is Facebook AI, IBM Watson, and a number of other outfits eager to make your software smart.

What’s not to like? Perhaps a silver bullet is speeding on its way to you?

Stephen E Arnold, July 26, 2016

Google and Its Algorithmic Methods Catch Attention in India

July 26, 2016

I read “Google in Legal Trouble in India for Including PM Modi in Top Criminals Search Results.” I have no way of knowing if the write up is accurate or the product of the great Internet news machine. I found the factoids amusing.

I highlighted this passage as fodder for the spirit of Jack Benny or Fred Allen:

The complainant, an advocate named Sushl Kumar Mishra, has argued that a Google search for the “top ten criminals of the world” showed Modi’s photograph in the search results. Mishra has said that while he wrote to Google to remove Modi’s name from the list, he got no response.

Customer service? In response to an email? Okay, this person is an optimist. As an aside, politicians are good actors. Right?

Google’s response was interesting as well:

The company had explained that the results were due to the British daily using an image of Modi with erroneous metadata and that the news articles did not actually link Modi to criminal activity.

Love that smart software.

Stephen E Arnold, July 26, 2016

Google DeepMind AI Project Makes Progress

July 25, 2016

For anyone following the development of artificial intelligence, I recommend checking out the article, “How Google Plans to Solve Artificial Intelligence” at MIT Technology Review. The article delves into Google’s DeepMind project, an object of renewed curiosity after its AlphaGo software bested the human world champion of the ancient game Go in March.

This Go victory is significant, because it marks progress beyond the strategy of calculating different moves’ possible outcomes; the game is too complex for that established approach (though such calculations did allow IBM’s DeepBlue to triumph over the world chess champion in 1997). The ability to master Go has some speaking of “intuition” over calculation. Just how do you give software an approximation of human intuition? Writer Tom Simonite tells us:

“Hassabis believes the reinforcement learning approach is the key to getting machine-learning software to do much more complex things than the tricks it performs for us today, such as transcribing our words, or understanding the content of photos. ‘We don’t think just observing is enough for intelligence, you also have to act,’ he says. ‘Ultimately that’s the only way you can really understand the world.’”

“DeepMind’s 3-D environment Labyrinth, built on an open-source clone of the first-person-shooter Quake, is designed to provide the next steps in proving that idea. The company has already used it to challenge agents with a game in which they must explore randomly generated mazes for 60 seconds, winning points for collecting apples or finding an exit…. Future challenges might require more complex planning—for example, learning that keys can be used to open doors. The company will also test software in other ways, and is considering taking on the video game Starcraft and even poker. But posing harder and harder challenges inside Labyrinth will be a major thread of research for some time, says Hassabis. “It should be good for the next couple of years,” he says.”

The article has a video of DeepMind’s virtual labyrinth you can check out, if you’re curious. (It looks very much like an old Windows screen saver some readers may recall.) Simonite tells us that AI firms across the industry are watching this project carefully. He also points to some ways DeepMind is already helping with real-world problems, like developing training software with the U.K.’s National Health Service to help medical personnel recognize commonly missed signs of kidney problems.

See the article for much more about Google’s hopes and plans for DeepMind. Simonite concludes by acknowledging the larger philosophical and ethical concerns around artificial intelligence. We’re told DeepMind has its own “internal ethics board of philosophers, lawyers, and businesspeople.” I think it is no exaggeration to say these folks, whom Google indicates it will name someday soon, could have great influence over the nature of our future technology. Let us hope Google chooses wisely.

 

 

Cynthia Murrell, July 25, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden Web/Dark Web meet up on July 26, 2016. Information is at this link: http://bit.ly/29tVKpx.

Alphabet Google Is Busy Reinventing

July 22, 2016

From Forbes in India (“Sundar Pichai to Reinvent Google with a Heavy Dose of Artificial Intelligence” which may require a proxy maneuver due to the digitally with it Forbes) or Switzerland (“Google’s New Research Lab in Zurich Is Inventing the Future of Search”) — the Alphabet Google thing is trying to reinvent search.

There you go: Stark evidence that Google information retrieval system is deeply flawed. The electric car does not reinvent the car. But search has to reinvent search.

This is a big and probably futile job. My view is that search is an evolutionary beastie. Incremental innovations from research labs, one man band coders, and start ups with one good idea and couple of crazed investors do the job.

Google itself was a roll up of ideas from IBM Almaden (hell, Jon Kleinberg), AltaVista (hello, Jeff Dean, Simon Tong, and Sanjay Ghemawat), and the fumble bumbles of folks at precursors (hello, AskJeeves and Lycos).

The India angle states:

Think of it as Search 3.0—a new, interactive way to communicate with Google itself. With it you’ll be able to order a ticket, book a flight, play music, schedule a task, reply to a message; the Google assistant might even write it for you. It might prompt you to order flowers ahead of Mother’s Day or to pack for your upcoming trip, and it might be able to pick up an earlier conversation from where you left off. In other words, it will be there, ready to help, in your phone, your speakers, your television, your car, your watch and eventually everywhere. “You are trying to go about your day, and in an ambient way, things are there to help you,” Pichai says. Making sure this assistant lives up to its full potential will take years, and building it will be harder than it was for Page and co-founder Sergey Brin to create search itself. Adds Pichai: “In every dimension, it is more ambitious.”

Yep, ambitious.

From the Swiss side:

he new team has a distinct goal: to invent the future of Search, a voice-activated, human-like entity that can answer any query intelligently. “We are building the ultimate assistant. In two years, you can expect Google to become a personal life assistant across multiple surfaces, including your phone, Google Home, even cars,” Mogenet [Google wizard] said. Some of Google’s best-known products are already shaped by machine learning, the ability of computers to spot patterns in large datasets and learn by example. For instance, Google Photos uses it to understand the content of an image. This means you could search for “cardigan corgi” or “passport” or “birthday celebrations 2014” and the app will bring up the relevant photos.

There you go. Reinvent.

The challenge is to find a way to avoid the stagnation which seems to befall certain types of high technology outfits. Do you use your DEC Rainbow today?

I love the Google. It is just super. The problem is that as it has concentrated traffic, it has left itself unable to respond to opportunities such as those identified by Facebook and Amazon. By the way, both of these outfits face some challenges as well.

The investment in search will benefit some folks. But how likely is it that Google will come up with an “innovation” that matters. I think that when octopus companies do something — whether it is good or bad — it is easy to define whatever happens as success.

The problem is that information returned from Google is often off point. When I run queries for documents I have in my hand, I cannot find them without jumping through hoops. I documented this with a Dark Web paper from Denmark in this blog. Homonyms give the Google fits. Even though my search history is available to Mother Google, the system is tone deaf for my queries. When I look for certain information, the data are often disappeared. I noticed that indexing of pastesites, PDF files, and PowerPoint presentations has become laughable.

Innovation is more than a public relations campaign. How do I know? Google’s marketing is starting to remind me of IBM Watson. You know Watson, the revolutionary information access system from Big Blue. Yep, innovation.

Stephen E Arnold, July 22, 2016

Oracle v Google Copyright Trial in Progress

July 22, 2016

The battle between Google and Oracle over Android’s use of Java has gone to federal court, and the trial is expected to conclude in June. CBS San Francisco Bay Area reports, “Former Google CEO Testifies in Oracle-Google Copyright Trial.” The brief write-up reveals the very simple defense of Eric Schmidt, who was Google’s CEO while Android was being developed (and is now CEO of Google’s young parent company, Alphabet): “We believed our approach was appropriate and permitted,” he stated.

Java was developed back in the ‘90s by Sun Microsystems, which was bought by Oracle in 2010. Google freely admits using Java in the development of Android, but they assert it counts as fair use—the legal doctrine that allows limited use of copyrighted material if it is sufficiently transformed or repurposed. Oracle disagrees, though Schmidt maintains Sun Microsystems saw it his way back in the day. The article tells us:

“Schmidt told the jury that when Google was developing Android nine years ago, he didn’t believe the company needed a license from Sun for the APIs. “We believed our approach was appropriate and permitted,” he said.

“Under questioning from Google attorney Robert Van Nest, Schmidt said that in 2007, Sun’s chief executive officer Jonathan Schwartz knew Google was building Android with Java, never expressed disapproval and never said Google needed a license from Sun.

“In cross-examination by Oracle attorney Peter Bicks, Schmidt acknowledged that he had said in 2007 that Google was under pressure to compete with the Apple Inc.’s newly released iPhone.”

Yes it was, the kind of pressure that can erode objectivity. Did Google go beyond fair use in this case? The federal court will soon decide.

 

 

Cynthia Murrell, July 22, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden Web/Dark
Web meet up on July 26, 2016.
Information is at this link: http://bit.ly/29tVKpx.

 

Google and EC: The Exclusives May Be a Problem Like Death

July 20, 2016

I read “European Trustbusters Torpedo Google.” The write up focused my attention on Google exclusives. The point is that Google allegedly used exclusive constraints to keep its alleged monopoly chugging along. I highlighted several statements in the write up; for example:

in these agreements with Direct Partners, Google has breached EU antitrust rules by imposing the following conditions:

  • Exclusivity: requiring third parties not to source search ads from Google’s competitors.
  • Premium placement of a minimum number of Google search ads: requiring third parties to take a minimum number of search ads from Google and reserve the most prominent space on their search results pages to Google search ads. In addition, competing search ads cannot be placed above or next to Google search ads.
  • Right to authorize competing ads: requiring third parties to obtain Google’s approval before making any change to the display of competing search ads.

The write up contains other zingers; to wit:

  1. “But twin conjoined monopolies AdSense and search create barriers to competition.” Ah,conjoined.
  2. “Trustbusters in Europe, and also the United States, look enormously unfavorably at monopolies that engage in exclusive agreements, whether implicit or implied, that protect market dominance—or expand it.” Exclusives, goodness.

Alphabet Google has, according to the write up, 10 weeks to get back to the EU. Will the dog eat Google’s homework again? Google is working to solve the problem of death? Will Google find a solution to the death and taxes challenges? Trivial, right?

Stephen E Arnold, July 20, 2016

The Dog Ate My Homework: The Google Approach

July 18, 2016

i read “Google Given Extra Six Weeks to Sort Its Act Out in EU Android Antitrust Probe.” When I was in college, I was annoyed when students missed the professor’s deadline. My approach was to manage my time within the boundaries set by the person who was “teaching” me. I taught (believe it or not) for a short time while I was working on my PhD in some obscure subject area related to medieval poetry and heard some interesting excuses from deadline misses; for example:

  • The dog tore up my report.
  • My mother was robbed.
  • It was raining and I did not want my homework to get wet.

Wonderful and somewhat entertaining.

The Google variation, according to the write up:

“Google asked for additional time to review the documents in the case file.”

Ah, slow readers challenged by time management.

Several questions flashed through my mind:

  • Will Google ask for additional delays, biding its time until the EU implodes?
  • Will Google show up and then have its legal eagles engages in swoops and dives to divert the legal air flows?
  • Will Google just continue along its path knowing that everyone in the EU uses Google services so the legal dust up is Sturm und Drang with some political laser lights flashing?

Worth watching.

Stephen E Arnold, July 18, 2016

Google: Algorithms Are Objective

July 17, 2016

I know that Google’s algorithms are tireless, objective numerical recipes. However, “Google: Downranking Online Piracy Sites in Search Results Has Led to a 89% Decrease in Traffic” sparked in my mind the notion that human intervention may be influencing some search result rankings. I highlighted these statements in the write up:

“Google does not proactively remove hyperlinks to any content unless first notified by copyright holders, but the tech giant says that it is now processing copyright removal notices in less than six hours on average…” I assume this work is performed by objective algorithms.

“…it is happy to demote links to pages that explicitly contain or link to content that infringes copyright.” Again, a machine process and, therefore, objective?

Human intervention in high volume flows of information is often difficult. If Google is not using machine processes, perhaps the company is forced to group sites and then have humans make decisions.

Artificial intelligence, are you not up to the task?

Stephen E Arnold, July 21, 2016

Google Storage Lessons: Factoids with a Slice of Baloney

July 15, 2016

I read “Lessons To Learn From How Google Stores Its Data.” I noted a couple of interesting factoids (which I assume are spot on). The source is an “independent consultant and entrepreneur based out of Bangalore, India.”

The factoids:

  1. Google could be holding as much as 15 exabytes on their servers. That’s 15 million terrabytes [sic] of data which would be the equivalent of 30 million personal computers.
  2. “A typical database contains tables that perform specific tasks.”
  3. According to a paper published on the Google File System (GFS), the company duplicates each data indexed as many as three times. What this means is that if there are 20 petabytes of data indexed each day, Google will need to store as much as 60 petabytes of data.

As you digest these factoids, keep in mind the spelling issues, the obvious, and the reference to a decade old Google article.

Now the baloney. Google keeps it code in one big thing. Google scatters other data hither and yon. Google struggles to retrieve specific items from its helter skelter set up when asked to provide something to a person with a legitimate request.

In short, Google is like other large companies wrestling with new, old, and changed data. The difference is that Google has the money and almost enough staff to deal with the bumps in the information superhighway.

The Google sells online ads; it does not lead the world in each and every technology, including data management. Bummer, right?

Stephen E Arnold, July 15, 2016

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