Google Search Is Broken

May 10, 2024

ChatGPT and other generative AI engines have screwed up search engines, including the all-powerful Google. The Blaze article, “Why Google Search Is Broken” explains why Internet search is broke, and the causes. The Internet is full of information and the best way to get noticed in search results is using SEO. A black hat technique (it will probably be considered old school in the near future) to manipulate search results is to litter a post with keywords aka “keyword stuffing.”

ChatGPT users realized that it’s a fantastic tool for SEO, because they tell the AI algorithm to draft a post with a specific keyword and it generates a decent one. Google’s search algorithm then reads that post and pushes it to the top of search results. ChatGPT was designed to read and learn language the same way as Google: skin the Internet, scoop up information from Web sites, and then use it to teach the algorithm. This threatens Google’s search profit margins and Alphabet Inc. doesn’t like that:

“By and large, people don’t want to read AI-generated content, no matter how accurate it is. But the trouble for Google is that it can’t reliably detect and filter AI-generated content. I’ve used several AI detection apps, and they are 50% accurate at best. Google’s brain trust can probably do a much better job, but even then, it’s computationally expensive, and even the mighty Google can’t analyze every single page on the web, so the company must find workarounds.

This past fall, Google rolled out its Helpful Content Update, in which Google started to strongly emphasize sites based on user-generated content in search results, such as forums. The site that received the most notable boost in search rankings was Reddit. Meanwhile, many independent bloggers saw their traffic crash, whether or not they used AI.”

Google wants to save money by offloading AI detection/monitoring to forum moderators that usually aren’t paid. Unfortunately SEO experts figured out Google’s new trick and are now spamming user-content driven Websites. Google recently signed a deal with Reddit to acquire its user data to train its AI project, Gemini.

Google hates AI generated SEO and people who game its search algorithms. Google doesn’t have the resources to detect all the SEO experts, but went they are found Google extracts vengeance with deindexing and making better tools. Google released a new update to its spam policies to remove low-quality, unoriginal content made to abuse its search algorithm. The overall goal is to remove AI-generated sites from search results.

If you read between the lines, Google doesn’t want to lose more revenue and is calling out bad actors.

Whitney Grace, May 10, 2024

Google Trial: An Interesting Comment Amid the Yada Yada

May 8, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

I read “Google’s Antitrust Trial Spotlights Search Ads on the Final Day of Closing Arguments.” After decades of just collecting Google tchotchkes, US regulators appear to be making some progress. It is very difficult to determine if a company is a monopoly. It was much easier to count barrels of oil, billets of steel, and railroad cars than digital nothingness, wasn’t it?


A giant whose name is Googzilla has most of the toys. He is reminding those who want the toys about his true nature. I believe Googzilla. Do you? Thanks, Microsoft Copilot. Good enough.

One of the many reports of the Google monopoly legal activity finally provided to me a quite useful, clear statement. Here’s the passage which caught my eye:

a coalition of state attorneys said Google’s search advertising business has trapped advertisers into its ecosystem while higher ad prices haven’t led to higher returns.

I want to consider this assertion. Please, read the original write up on Digiday to get the “real” news report. I am not a journalist; I am a dinobaby, and I have some thoughts to capture.

First, the Google has been doing Googley things for about a quarter of a century. A bit longer if one counts the Backrub service in an estimable Stanford computer building. From my point of view, Google has been doing “clever.” That means to just apologize, not ask permission. That means seek inspiration from others; for example, the IBM Clever system, the Yahoo-Overture advertising system, and the use of free to gain access to certain content like books, and pretty much doing what it wants. After figuring out that Google had to make money, it “innovated” with advertising, paid a fine, and acquired people and technology to match ads to queries. Yep, Oingo (Applied Semantics) helped out. The current antitrust matter will be winding down in 2024 and probably drag through 2025. Appeals for a company with lots of money can go slowly. Meanwhile Google’s activity can go faster.

Second, the data about Google monopoly are not difficult to identify. There is the state of the search market. Well, Eric Schmidt said years ago, Qwant kept him awake at night. I am not sure that was a credible statement. If Mr. Schmidt were awake at night, it might be the result of thinking about serious matters like money. His money. When Google became widely available, there were other Web search engines. I posted a list on my Web site which had a couple of hundred entries. Now the hot new search engines just recycle Bing and open source indexes, tossing in a handful of “special” sources like my mother jazzing up potato salad. There is Google search. And because of the reach of Google search, Google can sell ads.

Third, the ads are not just for search. Any click on a Google service is a click. Due to cute tricks like Chrome and ubiquitous services like maps, Google can slap ads many place. Other outfits cannot unless they are Google “partners.” Those partners are Google’s sales force. SEO customers become buyers of Google ads because that’s the most effective way to get traffic. Does a small business owner expect a Web site to be “found” without Google Local and maybe some advertising juice. Nope. No one but OSINT experts can get Google search to deliver useful results. Google Dorks exists for a reason. Google search quality drives ad sales. And YouTube ads? Lots of ads. Want an alternative? Good luck with Facebook, TikTok,, or some other service.

Where’s the trial now? Google has asserted that it does not understand its own technology. The judge says he is circling down the drain of the marketing funnel. But the US government depends on the Google. That may be a factor or just the shadow of Googzilla.

Stephen E Arnold, May 8, 2024

Google Stomps into the Threat Intelligence Sector: AI and More

May 7, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

Before commenting on Google’s threat services news. I want to remind you of the link to the list of Google initiatives which did not survive. You can find the list at Killed by Google. I want to mention this resource because Google’s product innovation and management methods are interesting to say the least. Operating in Code Red or Yellow Alert or whatever the Google crisis buzzword is, generating sustainable revenue beyond online advertising has proven to be a bit of a challenge. Google is more comfortable using such methods as [a] buying and trying to scale it, [b] imitating another firm’s innovation, and [c] dumping big money into secret projects in the hopes that what comes out will not result in the firm’s getting its “glass” kicked to the curb.


Google makes a big entrance at the RSA Conference. Thanks, MSFT Copilot. Have you considerate purchasing Google’s threat intelligence service?

With that as background, Google has introduced an “unmatched” cyber security service. The information was described at the RSA security conference and in a quite Googley blog post “Introducing Google Threat Intelligence: Actionable threat intelligence at Google Scale.” Please, note the operative word “scale.” If the service does not make money, Google will “not put wood behind” the effort. People won’t work on the project, and it will be left to dangle in the wind or just shot like Cricket, a now famous example of animal husbandry. (Google’s Cricket was the Google Appliance. Remember that? Take over the enterprise search market. Nope. Bang, hasta la vista.)

Google’s new service aims squarely at the comparatively well-established and now maturing cyber security market. I have to check to see who owns what. Venture firms and others with money have been buying promising cyber security firms. Google owned a piece of Recorded Future. Now Recorded Future is owned by a third party outfit called Insight. Darktrace has been or will be purchased by Thoma Bravo. Consolidation is underway. Thus, it makes sense to Google to enter the threat intelligence market, using its Mandiant unit as a springboard, one of those home diving boards, not the cliff in Acapulco diving platform.

The write up says:

we are announcing Google Threat Intelligence, a new offering that combines the unmatched depth of our Mandiant frontline expertise, the global reach of the VirusTotal community, and the breadth of visibility only Google can deliver, based on billions of signals across devices and emails. Google Threat Intelligence includes Gemini in Threat Intelligence, our AI-powered agent that provides conversational search across our vast repository of threat intelligence, enabling customers to gain insights and protect themselves from threats faster than ever before.

Google to its credit did not trot out the “quantum supremacy” lingo, but the marketers did assert that the service offers “unmatched visibility in threats.” I like the “unmatched.” Not supreme, just unmatched. The graphic below illustrates the elements of the unmatchedness:


Credit to the Google 2024

But where is artificial intelligence in the diagram? Don’t worry. The blog explains that Gemini (Google’s AI “system”) delivers

AI-driven operationalization

But the foundation of the new service is Gemini, which does not appear in the diagram. That does not matter, the Code Red crowd explains:

Gemini 1.5 Pro offers the world’s longest context window, with support for up to 1 million tokens. It can dramatically simplify the technical and labor-intensive process of reverse engineering malware — one of the most advanced malware-analysis techniques available to cybersecurity professionals. In fact, it was able to process the entire decompiled code of the malware file for WannaCry in a single pass, taking 34 seconds to deliver its analysis and identify the kill switch. We also offer a Gemini-driven entity extraction tool to automate data fusion and enrichment. It can automatically crawl the web for relevant open source intelligence (OSINT), and classify online industry threat reporting. It then converts this information to knowledge collections, with corresponding hunting and response packs pulled from motivations, targets, tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), actors, toolkits, and Indicators of Compromise (IoCs). Google Threat Intelligence can distill more than a decade of threat reports to produce comprehensive, custom summaries in seconds.

I like the “indicators of compromise.”

Several observations:

  1. Will this service be another Google Appliance-type play for the enterprise market? It is too soon to tell, but with the pressure mounting from regulators, staff management issues, competitors, and savvy marketers in Redmond “indicators” of success will be known in the next six to 12 months
  2. Is this a business or just another item on a punch list? The answer to the question may be provided by what the established players in the threat intelligence market do and what actions Amazon and Microsoft take. Is a new round of big money acquisitions going to begin?
  3. Will enterprise customers “just buy Google”? Chief security officers have demonstrated that buying multiple security systems is a “safe” approach to a job which is difficult: Protecting their employers from deeply flawed software and years of ignoring online security.

Net net: In a maturing market, three factors may signal how the big, new Google service will develop. These are [a] price, [b] perceived efficacy, and [c] avoidance of a major issue like the SolarWinds’ matter. I am rooting for Googzilla, but I still wonder why Google shifted from Recorded Future to acquisitions and me-too methods. Oh, well. I am a dinobaby and cannot be expected to understand.

Stephen E Arnold, May 7, 2024

Search Metrics: One Cannot Do Anything Unless One Finds the Info

May 2, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

The search engine optimization crowd bamboozled people with tales of getting to be number one on Google. The SEO experts themselves were tricked. The only way to appear on the first page of search results is to buy an ad. This is the pay-to-play approach to being found online. Now a person cannot do anything, including getting in the building to start one’s first job without searching. The company sent the future wizard an email with the access code. If the new hire cannot locate the access code, she cannot work without going through hoops. Most work or fun is similar. Without an ability to locate specific information online, a person is going to be locked out or just lost in space.


The new employee cannot search her email to locate the access code. No job for her. Thanks, MSFT Copilot, a so-so image without the crazy Grandma says, “You can’t get that image, fatso.”

I read a chunk of content marketing called “Predicted 25% Drop In Search Volume Remains Unclear.” The main idea (I think) is that with generative smart software, a person no longer has to check with Googzilla to get information. In some magical world, a person with a mobile phone will listen as the smart software tells a user what information is needed. Will Apple embrace Microsoft AI or Google AI? Will it matter to the user? Will the number of online queries decrease for Google if Apple decides it loves Redmond types more than Googley types? Nope.

The total number of online queries will continue to go up until the giant search purveyors collapse due to overburdened code, regulatory hassles, or their own ineptitude. But what about the estimates of mid tier consulting firms like Gartner? Hello, do you know that Gartner is essentially a collection of individuals who do the bidding of some work-from-home, self-anointed experts?

Face facts. There is one alleged monopoly controlling search. That is Google. It will take time for an upstart to siphon significant traffic from the constellation of Google services. Even Google’s own incredibly weird approach to managing the company will not be able to prevent people from using the service. Every email search is a search. Every direction in Waze is a search. Every click on a suggested YouTube TikTok knock off is a search. Every click on anything Google is a search. To tidy up the operation, assorted mechanisms for analyzing user behavior provide a fingerprint of users. Advertisers, even if they know they are being given a bit of a casino frippery, have to decide among Amazon, Meta, or, or … Sorry. I can’t think of another non-Google option.

If you want traffic, you can try to pull off a Black Swan event as OpenAI did. But for most organizations, if you want traffic, you pay Google. What about SEO? If the SEO outfit is a Google partner, you are on the Information Highway to Google’s version of Madison Avenue.

But what about the fancy charts and graphs which show Google’s vulnerability? Google’s biggest enemy is Google’s approach to managing its staff, its finances, and its technology. Bing or any other search competitor is going to find itself struggling to survive. Don’t believe me? Just ask the founder of Search2, Neeva, or any other search vendor crushed under Googzilla’s big paw. Unclear? Are you kidding me? Search volume is going to go up until something catastrophic happens. For now, buy Google advertising for traffic. Spend some money with Meta. Use Amazon if you sell fungible things. Google owns most of the traffic. Adjust and quit yapping about some fantasy cooked up by so-called experts.

Stephen E Arnold, May 2, 2024

One Half of the Sundar & Prabhakar Act Gets Egged: Garrf.

April 30, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

After I wrote Google Version 2: The Calculating Predator, BearStearns bought the rights to portions of my research and published one of its analyst reports. In that report, a point was made about Google’s research into semantic search. Remember, this was in 2005, long before the AI balloon inflated to the size of Taylor Swift’s piggy bank. My client (whom I am not allowed to name) and I were in the Manhattan BearStearns’ office. We received a call from Prabhakar Raghavan, who was the senior technology something at Yahoo at that time. I knew of Dr. Raghavan because he had been part of the Verity search outfit. On that call, Dr. Raghavan was annoyed that BearStearns suggested Yahoo was behind the eight ball in Web search. We listened, and I pointed out that Yahoo was not matching Google’s patent filing numbers. Although not an indicator of innovation, it is one indicator. The Yahoo race car had sputtered and had lost the search race. I recall one statement Dr. Raghavan uttered, “I can do a better search engine for $300,000 dollars.” Well, I am still waiting. Dr. Raghavan may have an opportunity to find his future elsewhere if he continues to get the type of improvised biographical explosive device shoved under his office door at Google. I want to point out that I thought Dr. Raghavan’s estimate of the cost of search was a hoot. How could he beat that for a joke worthy of Jack Benny?


A big dumb bunny gets egged. Thanks, MSFT Copilot. Good enough.

I am referring to “The Man Who Killed Google Search,” written by Edward Zitron. For those to whom Mr. Zitron is not a household name like Febreze air freshener, he is “the CEO of national Media Relations and Public Relations company EZPR, of which I am both the E (Ed) and the Z (Zitron). I host the Better Offline Podcast, coming to iHeartRadio and everywhere else you find your podcasts February 2024.” For more about Mr. Zitron, navigate to this link. (Yep, it takes quite a while to load, but be patient.)

The main point of the write up is that the McKinsey-experienced Sundar Pichai (the other half of the comedy act) hired the article-writing, Verity-seasoned Dr. Raghavan to help steer the finely-crafted corporate aircraft carrier, USS Google into the Sea of Money. Even though, the duo are not very good at comedy, they are doing a bang up job of making the creaking online advertising machine output big money. If you don’t know how big, just check out the earning for the most recent financial quarter at this link. If you don’t want to wade through Silicon Valley jargon, Google is “a two trillion dollar company.” How do you like that, Mr. and Mrs. Traditional Advertising?

The write up is filled with proper names of Googlers past and present. The point is that the comedy duo dumped some individuals who embraced the ethos of the old, engineering-oriented, relevant search results Google. The vacancies were filled with those who could shove more advertising into what once were clean, reasonably well-lighted places. At the same time, carpetland (my term for the executive corridor down which Messrs. Brin and Page once steered their Segways) elevated above the wonky world of the engineers, the programmers, the Ivory Tower thinker types, and outright wonkiness of the advanced research units. (Yes, there were many at one time.)

Using the thought processes of McKinsey (the opioid idea folks) and the elocutionary skills of Dr. Raghavan, Google search degraded while the money continued to flow. The story presented by Mr. Zitron is interesting. I will leave it to you to internalize it and thank your luck stars you are not given the biographical improvised explosive device as a seat cushion. Yowzah.

Several observations:

  1. I am not sure the Sundar & Prabhakar duo wrote the script for the Death of Google Search. Believe me, there were other folks in Google carpetland aiding the process. How about a baby maker in the legal department as an example of ground principles? What about an attempted suicide by a senior senior senior manager’s squeeze? What about a big time thinker’s untimely demise as a result of narcotics administered by a rental female?
  2. The problems at Google are a result of decades of high school science club members acting out their visions of themselves as masters of the universe and a desire to rig the game so money flowed. Cleverness, cute tricks, and owning the casino and the hotel and the parking lot were part of Google’s version of Hotel California. The business set up was money in, fancy dancing in public, and nerdland inside. Management? Hey, math is hard. Managing is zippo.
  3. The competitive arena was not set up for a disruptor like the Google. I do not want to catalog what the company did to capture what appears to be a very good market position in online advertising. After a quarter century, the idea that Google might be an alleged monopoly is getting some attention. But alleged is one thing; change is another.
  4. The innovator’s dilemma has arrived in the lair of Googzilla. After inventing tensors, OpenAI made something snazzy with them and cut a deal with Microsoft. The result was the AI hyper moment with Google viewed as a loser. Forget the money. Google is not able to respond, some said. Perception is important. The PR gaffe in Paris where Dr. Prabhakar showed off Bard outputting incorrect information; the protests and arrests of staff; and the laundry list of allegations about the company’s business practices in the EU are compounding the one really big problem — Google’s ability to control its costs. Imagine. A corporate grunt sport could be the hidden disease. Is Googzilla clear headed or addled? Time will tell I believe.

Net net: The man who killed Google is just an clueless accomplice, not the wizard with the death ray cooking the goose and its eggs. Ultimately, in my opinion, we have to blame the people who use Google products and services, rely on Google advertising, and trust search results. Okay, Dr. Raghavan, suspended sentence. Now you can go build your $300,000 Web search engine. I will be available to evaluate it as I did Search2, Neeva, and the other attempts to build a better Google. Can you do it? Sure, you will be a Xoogler. Xooglers can do anything. Just look at Mr. Brin’s airship. And that egg will wash off unlike that crazy idea to charge Verity customers for each entry in an index passed for each user’s query. And that’s the joke that’s funnier than the Paris bollocksing of smart software. Taxi meter pricing for an in-house, enterprise search system. That is truly hilarious.

Stephen E Arnold, April 30, 2024

The Google Explains the Future of the Google Cloud: Very Googley, Of Course

April 30, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

At its recent Next 24 conference, Google Cloud and associates shared their visions for the immediate future of AI. Through the event’s obscurely named Session Library, one can watch hundreds of sessions and access resources connected to many more. The idea — if you  have not caught on to the Googley nomenclature — is to make available videos of the talks at the conference. To narrow, one can filter by session category, conference track, learning level, solution, industry, topic of interest, and whether video is available. Keep in mind that the words you (a normal human, I presume) may use to communicate your interest may not be the lingo Googzilla speaks. AI and Machine Learning feature prominently. Other key areas include data and databases, security, development and architecture, productivity, and revenue growth (naturally). There is even a considerable nod to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Okay, nod, nod.

Here are a few session titles from just the “AI and ML” track to illustrate the scope of this event and the available information:

  • A cybersecurity expert’s guide to securing AI products with Google SAIF
  • AI for banking: Streamline core banking services and personalize customer experiences
  • AI for manufacturing: Enhance productivity and build innovative new business models
  • AI for telecommunications: Transform customer interactions and network operations
  • AI in capital markets: The biggest bets in the industry
  • Accelerate software delivery with Gemini and Code Transformations
  • Revolutionizing healthcare with AI
  • Streamlining access to youth mental health services

It looks like there is something for everybody. We think the titles make reasonably clear the scope and bigness of Google’s aspirations. Nor would we expect less from a $2 trillion outfit based on advertising, would we? Run a query for Code Red or in Google lingo CodeRED, and you will be surprised that the state of emergency, Microsoft is a PR king mentality persists. (Is this the McKinsey way?) Well, not for those employed at McKinsey. Former McKinsey professionals have more latitude in their management methods; for example, emulating high school science club planning techniques. There are no sessions we could spot about Google’s competition. If one is big enough, there is no competition. One of Googzilla’s relatives made a mess of Tokyo real estate largely without lasting consequences.

Cynthia Murrell, April 30, 2024

Is Grandma Google Making Erratic Decisions?

April 24, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

Clowny Fish TV is unknown to me. The site published a write up which I found interesting and stuffed full of details I had not seen previously. The April 18, 2024,  essay is “YouTubers Claim YouTube is Very Broken Right Now.” Let’s look at a handful of examples and see if these spark any thoughts in my dinobaby mind. As Vladimir Shmondenko says, “Let’s go.”


Grandma Googzilla has her view of herself. Nosce teipsum, right? Thanks, MSFT Copilot. How’s your security today?

Here’s a statement to consider:

Over the past 72 hours, YouTubers have been complaining on X about everything from delayed comments to a noticeable decline in revenue and even videos being removed by Google for nebulous reasons after being online for years.

Okay, sluggish functions from the video ad machine. I have noticed either slow-loading or dead video ads; that is, the ads take a long time (maybe a second or two to 10 seconds to show up) or nothing happens and a “Skip” button just appears. No ad to skip. I wonder, “Do the advertisers pay for a non-displayed ad followed by a skip?” I assume there is some fresh Google word salad available in the content cafeteria, but I have not spotted it. Those arrests have, however, caught my attention.

Another item from the essay:

In fact, many longtime YouTube content creators have announced their retirements from the platform over the past year, and I have to wonder if these algorithm changes aren’t a driving force behind that. There’s no guarantee that there will be room for the “you” in YouTube six months from now, let alone six years from now.

I am not sure I know many of the big-time content creators. I do know that the famous Mr. Beast has formed a relationship with the Amazon Twitch outfit. Is that megastar hedging his bets? I think he is. Those videos cost big bucks and could be on broadcast TV if there were a functioning broadcast television service in the US.

How about this statement:

On top of the algorithm shift, and on top of the monetization hit, Google is now reportedly removing old videos that violate their current year Terms of Service.

Shades of the 23andMe approach to Terms of Service. What struck me is that one of my high school history teachers  — I think his name was Earl Skaggs — railed against Joseph Stalin’s changing Russian history and forcing textbooks to be revised to present Mr. Stalin’s interpretation of reality. Has Google management added changing history to their bag of tricks. I know that arresting employees is a useful management tool, but I have been relying on news reports. Maybe those arrests were “fake news.” Nothing surprises me where online information is in the mix.

I noted this remarkable statement in the Clown Fish TV essay:

Google was the glue that held all these websites together and let people get found. We’re seeing what a world looks like without Google. Because for many content creators and journalists, it’ll be practically worthless going forward.

I have selected a handful of items. The original article includes screenshots, quotes from people whom I assume are “experts” or whatever passes as an authority today, and a of Google algorithm questioning. But any of the Googlers with access to the algorithm can add a tweak or create a “wrapper” to perform a specific task. I am not sure too many Googlers know how to fiddle the plumbing anymore. Some of the “clever” code is now more than 25 years old. (People make fun of mainframes. Should more Kimmel humor be directed at 25 year old Google software?)

Observations are indeed warranted:

  1. I read Google criticism on podcasts; I read criticism of Google online. Some people are falling out of love with the Google.
  2. Google muffed the bunny with its transformer technology. By releasing software as open source, the outfit may have unwittingly demonstrated how out of touch its leadership team is and opened the door to some competitors able to move more quickly than Grandma Google. Microsoft. Davos. AI. Ah, yes.
  3. The Sundar & Prabhakar School of Strategic Thinking has allowed Google search to become an easy target. Metasearch outfits recycling poor old Bing results are praised for being better than Google. That’s quite an achievement and a verification that some high-school science club management methods don’t work as anticipated. I won’t mention arresting employees again. Oh, heck. I will. Google called the police on its own staff. Slick. Professional.

Net net: Clown Fish TV definitely has presented a useful image of Grandma Google and her video behaviors.

Stephen E Arnold, April 24, 2024

Google AI: Who Is on First? I Do Not Know. No, No, He Is on Third

April 23, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

A big reorg has rattled the Googlers. Not only are these wizards candidates for termination, the work groups are squished like the acrylic pour paintings thrilling YouTube crafters.


Image from Vizoli Art via YouTube at

The image might be a representation of Google’s organization, but I am just a dinobaby without expertise in art or thing Googley. Let me give you an example.

I read “Google Consolidates Its DeepMind and Research Teams Amid AI Push” (from the trust outfit itself, Thomson Reuters). The story presents the date as April 18, 2024. I learned:

The search engine giant had merged its research units Google Brain and DeepMind a year back to sharpen its focus on AI development and get ahead of rivals like Microsoft,  a partner of ChatGPT and Sora maker OpenAI.

And who moves? The trust outfit says:

Google will relocate its Responsible AI teams – which focuses on safe AI development – from Research to DeepMind so that they are closer to where AI models are built and scaled, the company said in a blog post.

Ars Technica, which publishes articles without self-identifying with trust. “Google Merges the Android, Chrome, and Hardware Divisions.” That write up channels the acrylic pour approach to management, which Ars Technica describes this way:

Google Hardware SVP Rick Osterloh will lead the new “Platforms and Devices” division. Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s previous head of software platforms like Android and ChromeOS, will be headed to “some new projects” at Google.

Why? AI, of course.

But who runs this organizational mix up?

One answer appears in an odd little “real” news story from an outfit called Benzinga. “Google’s DeepMind to Lead Unified AI Charge as Company Seeks to Outpace Microsoft.” The write up asserts:

The reorganization will see all AI-related teams, including the development of the Gemini chatbot, consolidated under the DeepMind division led by Demis Hassabis. This consolidation encompasses research, model development, computing resources, and regulatory compliance teams…

I assume that the one big happy family of Googlers will sort out the intersections of AI, research, hardware, app software, smart software, lines of authority, P&L responsibility, and decision making. Based on my watching Google’s antics over the last 25 years, chaos seems to be part of the ethos of the company. One cannot forget that for the AI razzle dazzle, Code Red, and reorganizational acrylic pouring, advertising accounts for about 60 percent of the firm’s financial footstool.

Will Google’s management team be able to answer the question, “Who is on first?” Will the result of the company’s acrylic pour approach to organizational structures yield a YouTube video like this one? The creator Left Brained Artist explains why acrylic paints cracked, come apart, and generally look pretty darned terrible.


Will Google’s pouring units together result in a cracked result? Left Brained Artist’s suggestions may not apply to an online ad company trying to cope with difficult-to-predict competitors like the Zucker’s Meta or the Microsoft clump of AI stealth fighters: OpenAI, Mistral, et al.

Reviewing the information in these three write ups about Google, I will offer several of my unwanted and often irritating observations. Ready?

  1. Comparing the Microsoft AI re-organization to the Google AI re-organization it seems to be that Microsoft has a more logical set up. Judging from the information to which I have access, Microsoft is closing deals for its AI technology with government entities and selected software companies. Microsoft is doing practical engineering drawings; Google is dumping acrylic paint, hoping it will be pretty and make sense.
  2. Google seems to be struggling from a management point of view. We have sit ins, we have police hauling off Googlers, and we have layoffs. We have re-organizations. We have numerous signals that the blue chip consulting approach to an online advertising outfit is a bit unpredictable. Hey, just sell ads and use AI to help you do it without creating 1960s’ style college sophomore sit ins.
  3. Get organized. Make an attempt to answer the question, “Who is on first?

As Abbott and Costello explained:

Costello: Well, all I’m trying to find out is what’s the guy’s name on first base?

Abbott: Oh, no, no. What is on second base?

Costello: I’m not asking you who’s on second.

Abbott: Who’s on first.

Exactly. Just sell online ads.

Stephen E Arnold, April 23, 2024

Google Gem: Arresting People Management

April 18, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

I have worked for some well-managed outfits: Halliburton, Booz Allen, Ziff Communications, and others in the 55 year career. The idea that employees at Halliburton Nuclear (my assignment) would occupy the offices of a senior officer like Eugene Saltarelli was inconceivable. (Mr. Saltarelli sported a facial scar. When asked about the disfigurement, he would stare at the interlocutor and ask, “What scar?” Do you want to “take over” his office?) Another of my superiors at a firm in New York had a special method of shaping employee behavior. This professional did nothing to suppress rumors that two of his wives drowned  during “storms” after falling off his sail boat. Did I entertain taking over his many-windowed office in Manhattan? Answer: Are you sure you internalized the anecdote?

! google gems

Another Google management gem glitters in the public spot light.

But at the Google life seems to be different, maybe a little more frisky absent psychological behavior controls. I read “Nine Google Workers Get Arrested After Sit-In Protest over $1.2B Cloud Deal with Israel.” The main idea seems to be that someone at Google sold cloud services to the Israeli government. Employees apparently viewed the contract as bad, wrong, stupid, or some combination of attributes. The fix involved a 1960s-style sit in. After a period of time elapsed, someone at Google called the police. The employee-protesters were arrested.

I recall hearing years ago that Google faced a similar push back about a contract with the US government. To be honest, Google has generated so many human resource moments, I have a tough time recalling each. A few are Mt. Everests of excellence; for example, the termination of Dr. Timnit Gebru. This Googler had the nerve to question the bias of Google’s smart software. She departed. I assume she enjoyed the images of biased signers of documents related to America’s independence and multi-ethnic soldiers in the World War II German army. Bias? Google thinks not I guess.

The protest occurs as the Google tries to cope with increased market pressure and the tough-to-control costs of smart software. The quick fix is to nuke or RIF employees. “Google Lays Off Workers As Part of Pretty Large-Scale Restructuring” reports by citing Business Insider:

Ruth Porat, Google’s chief financial officer, sent an email to employees announcing that the company would create “growth hubs” in India, Mexico and Ireland. The unspecified number of layoffs will affect teams in the company’s finance department, including its treasury, business services and revenue cash operations units

That looks like off-shoring to me. The idea was a cookie cutter solution spun up by blue chip consulting companies 20, maybe 30 years ago. On paper, the math is more enticing than a new Land Rover and about as reliable. A state-side worker costs X fully loaded with G&A, benefits, etc. An off-shore worker costs X minus Y. If the delta means cost savings, go for it. What’s not to like?

According to a source cited in the New York Post:

“As we’ve said, we’re responsibly investing in our company’s biggest priorities and the significant opportunities ahead… To best position us for these opportunities, throughout the second half of 2023 and into 2024, a number of our teams made changes to become more efficient and work better, remove layers and align their resources to their biggest product priorities.

Yep, align. That senior management team has a way with words.

Will those who are in fear of their jobs join in the increasingly routine Google employee protests? Will disgruntled staff sandbag products and code? Will those who are terminated write tell-alls about their experiences at an outfit operating under Code Red for more than a year?

Several observations:

  1. Microsoft’s quite effective push of its AI products and services continues. In certain key markets like New York City and the US government, Google is on the defensive. Hint: Microsoft has the advantage, and the Google is struggling to catch up.
  2. Google’s management of its personnel seems to create the wrong type of news. Example: Staff arrests. Is that part of Peter Drucker’s management advice.
  3. The Google leadership team appears to lack the ability to do their job in a way that operates in a quiet, effective, positive, and measured way.

Net net: The online ad money machine keeps running. But if the investigations into Google’s business practices get traction, Google will have additional challenges to face. The Sundar & Prabhakar Comedy team should make a TikTok-type,  how-to video about human resource management. I would prefer a short video about the origin story for the online advertising method which allowed Google to become a fascinating outfit.

Stephen E Arnold, April 18, 2024

Will Google Fix Up On-the-Blink Israeli Intelligence Capability?

April 18, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

Voyager Labs “value” may be slipping. The poster child for unwanted specialized software publicity (NSO Group) finds itself the focal point of some legal eagles. The specialized software systems that monitor, detect, and alert — quite frankly — seemed to be distracted before and during the October 2023 attack. What’s happening to Israel’s advanced intelligence capabilities with its secret units, mustered out wizards creating intelligence solutions, and doing the Madison Avenue thing at conferences? What’s happening is that the hyperbole seems to be a bit more advanced than some of the systems themselves.


Government leaders and military intelligence professionals listen raptly as the young wizard explains how the online advertising company can shore up a country’s intelligence capabilities. Thanks, MidJourney. You are good enough, and the modified free MSFT Copilot is not.

What’s the fix? Let me share one wild idea with you: Let Google do it. Time (once the stablemate of the AI-road kill Sports Illustrated) published this write up with this title:

Exclusive: Google Contract Shows Deal With Israel Defense Ministry

The write up says:

Google provides cloud computing services to the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and the tech giant has negotiated deepening its partnership during Israel’s war in Gaza, a company document viewed by TIME shows. The Israeli Ministry of Defense, according to the document, has its own “landing zone” into Google Cloud—a secure entry point to Google-provided computing infrastructure, which would allow the ministry to store and process data, and access AI services. [The wonky capitalization is part of the style manual I assume. Nice, shouting with capital letters.]

The article then includes this paragraph:

Google recently described its work for the Israeli government as largely for civilian purposes. “We have been very clear that the Nimbus contract is for workloads running on our commercial platform by Israeli government ministries such as finance, healthcare, transportation, and education,” a Google spokesperson told TIME for a story published on April 8. “Our work is not directed at highly sensitive or classified military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services.”

Does this mean that Google shaped or weaponized information about the work with Israel? Probably not: The intent strikes me as similar to the “Senator, thank you for the question” lingo offered at some US government hearings. That’s just the truth poorly understood by those who are not Googley.

I am not sure if the Time story has its “real” news lens in focus, but let’s look at this interesting statement:

The news comes after recent reports in the Israeli media have alleged the country’s military, controlled by the Ministry of Defense, is using an AI-powered system to select targets for air-strikes on Gaza. Such an AI system would likely require cloud computing infrastructure to function. The Google contract seen by TIME does not specify for what military applications, if any, the Ministry of Defense uses Google Cloud, and there is no evidence Google Cloud technology is being used for targeting purposes. But Google employees who spoke with TIME said the company has little ability to monitor what customers, especially sovereign nations like Israel, are doing on its cloud infrastructure.

The online story included an allegedly “real” photograph of a bunch of people who were allegedly unhappy with the Google deal with Israel. Google does have a cohort of wizards who seem to enjoy protesting Google’s work with a nation state. Are Google’s managers okay with this type of activity? Seems like it.

Net net: I think the core issue is that some of the Israeli intelligence capability is sputtering. Will Google fix it up? Sure, if one believes the intelware brochures and PowerPoints on display at specialized intelligence conferences, why not perceive Google as just what the country needs after the attack and amidst increasing tensions with other nation states not too far from Tel Aviv? Belief is good. Madison Avenue thinking is good. Cloud services are good. Failure is not just bad; it could mean zero warning for another action against Israel. Do brochures about intelware stop bullets and missiles?

Stephen E Arnold, April 18, 2024

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