Google: Not Yet the Conquistador of Spanish News

December 11, 2014

I have zero idea if this is a tire change on Google’s run to the trophy at el Gran Premio de España or a spin out. (By the way, I don’t care.)

Here’s the write up from my favorite pro physical punishment news outlet: “Google’s rough time in Europe continues with closure of Google News Spain.”

If accurate, some publishers in Spain are throwing roses because the GOOG has turned off its Spanish Google News service. Olé. If I understand the situation, the Google would have to pay a “tax” to use story links. Olé.

I noted this passage:

The move is likely to mean a huge drop in traffic for many of the Spanish media outlets that regularly appear on Google’s news site in the country, a situation that could ultimately lead to a climb-down by the Spanish government.

“Likely” strikes me a limp word. Anyone recall how quickly a certain German news and information company did an about face when its traffic cratered? Well, I do. Axel Springer, which owns it own Google goblin in the somewhat fascinating logic of Google’s senior managers, now understands what traffic means. Stated simply, if one’s Web page or Web whatever is not in the Google index, that Web whatever does not exist for most of the Internet world. Is this a monopoly position? What about that one click away from another search system? Is that baloney? Is Mr. Vanderbilt proud of Google from his perch in capitalist heaven? Will Spain get the message?

Yep, eventually. Anyway the news outlets can work hard to get big time traffic from Exalead Search or Yahoo. (Remember the yodel?)

I wonder if Google questions why pesky countries cannot understand the Google way. Nah.

Stephen E Arnold, December 11, 2014

The EU Parliament and How Google Works

November 28, 2014

The search engine optimization crowd is definitely excited about calls to break up the Google. You will want to read (when sitting down, of course) “Oh No They Didn’t: European Parliament Calls For Break Up Of Google.” I am not sure if this write up is about the vision of search in Europe or the view of the search engine optimization brigands.

The idea in Europe has to do with memories of big companies and the difficulty ruling bodies have of controlling them. Think IG Farben and certain US outfits in the second world war. I assume the learnings from the Quaero investment and the market success of Dassault Exalead’s Internet search system and the more recent Quixotic Qwant.com, the adrenaline pumping Sinequa, and other European search efforts has made one fact clear: Google is the go to search system by a wide margin. How about 95 percent of the search traffic in Denmark, for example?

For the SEO crowd, the notion of splitting up Google is obviously a new idea. The write up states:

It’s clear there’s a lot of frustration — even exasperation — behind this vote and Europe’s seeming inability to date to “do anything about Google.” Europe has been unable to produce home-grown competitors that can challenge the online hegemony of internet companies such as Google and Facebook. The company’s PC market share is much higher in Europe than in the US and Android is the dominant smartphone operating system there by far.

Like an American pro football competition, there is a winner and Europe does not like the outcome. The SEO crowd owes its livelihood to Google’s indifference to objective search results. Don’t tip the apple cart, please.

In the view of the SEO crowd:

It’s very unlikely that the European Commission will actually try to “unbundle” Google’s search engine from the rest of the company. However it’s possible that in Europe Google will be compelled to unbundle its privacy policy and won’t be able to combine data-sets for personalization and ad-targeting purposes. We will also probably see some effort to curb Google’s control over Android as well.

I find it fascinating that the lessons of online are one that have not yet been learned by either regulators or the search engine optimization wizards. The only thing missing is a for fee analysis of the search scene by one of the mid tier consulting outfits. Dave Schubmehl, are you at your iPhone’s touch screen keyboard.

Oh, no. Oh, yes. How Google works is the issue.

Stephen E Arnold, November 28, 2014

Will Hand-Carved Type and Printing Return to Strasbourg?

November 12, 2014

I am not hip to the ins and outs of France and its financial situation. I assume the country with more than 200 varieties of cheese and almost as many somewhat obscure search and content processing companies is rolling right along.

I was puzzled by this item: “France Signs a Five-Year National Deal with Elsevier.”

The main points seems to that Elsevier, part owner of the outstandingly expensive online service LexisNexis, has signed a deal to provide Elsevier content for what strikes me as a reasonable price: €171 697 159.

The article seems to imply that this is not a good deal:

French research is in disarray. Some universities are on the verge of bankruptcy. Others anticipates four meager years. Strangely enough, money is not the problem. The French State actually gives away several billions each year in the form of tax incentives so that private companies fund research (the “Crédit impôt recherche”). This policy has proven dramatically ineffectual : it is actually nothing more than a tool for tax optimization, that does little if nothing to encourage research.

I have confidence that the French know exactly how to maintain their premier position in education, finance, and linguistic excellence. Elsevier, by the way, has one very happy sales person.

Stephen E Arnold, November 12, 2014

Palantir: Now an Enterprise App Developer

September 30, 2014

I read “Hush Hush Data Firm Palantir Snags ICE Case Tracking Deal.” Palantir may be moving from supporting intelligence agencies to the market sector dominated by government contractors like SRA, Booz Allen Hamilton, and CACI.

The article states:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has awarded secretive data-mining firm Palantir a $42 million contract to redo the investigation agency’s failed case filing system.

The challenge will be to make a case management system work in a manner that satisfies the statement of work. Other case management efforts have crashed and burned.

Palantir appears to be working with a tough mandate: On time and on budget delivery. As you may know, the notion of on time and on budget is only valid until the first scope change rolls down the timeline.

Are flaws in case management systems unusual. Nah. The article reveals:

The Justice Department inspector general last week released a report on the FBI’s new case management system, Sentinel, assailing its searching and indexing features for slowing the investigations of special agents and the productivity levels of evidence technicians.

Why are case management systems problematic? I can identify a number of reasons, but it will be more entertaining if I wait for news about the Palantir project’s path.

Stephen E Arnold, October 17, 2014

NSA Catalog Available

September 27, 2014

Short honk: I you want a copy of National Security Agency 2014 Technology Catalog: Technology Transfer Program, you can download it for now from this link. If found pages 26 to 40 fascinating. Will IDC issue its own version of this document, using its surfing technical demonstrated by Dave Schubmehl with my content? I will keep my eye open.

Stephen E Arnold, September 27, 2014

Federal Agencies Perpetually Battle Connectivity Loss

September 24, 2014

This may be stating the obvious, but ComputerWorld declares that “IT Outages Are an Ongoing Problem for the U.S. Government.” The article cites a recent report sponsored by Symantec and performed by MeriTalk, which runs a network for government IT workers. Though the issues that originally plagued HealthCare.gov were their own spectacular kettle of fish, our federal government’s other computer networks are no paragons of efficiency. Writer Patrick Thibodeau tells us:

“Specifically, the survey found that 70% of federal agencies have experienced downtime of 30 minutes of more in a recent one-month period. Of that number, 42% of the outages were blamed on network or server problems and 29% on Internet connectivity loss….

“The report is interesting because it surveys two distinct government groups, 152 federal ‘field workers,’ or people who work outside the office, and 150 IT professionals. Because the field workers are outside the office, some of the outages may be the result of local connectivity problems at either a hotel, home or other remote site. But, overall, the main reason for loss of access to data was a government outage.”

The write-up goes on to note that most workers can go on with their tasks via some other method, like by telephone (48%), through their personal devices (33%), or with some other workaround like Google Apps (24%). Imagine how much more efficient government workers could be if they were not frequently required to get creative just to do basic parts of their jobs.

Cynthia Murrell, September 24, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Quote to Note: Google Tells Europe to Embrace Disruption

September 23, 2014

The quote to note is from an EC Web page in an article called “Boosting Digital Europe.”

Europe needs to accept and embrace disruption. The old ways of doing things need to face competition that forces them to innovate. Uber, for example, is shaking up the taxi market — for the good. It offers riders convenience and cheaper fares. Understandably, the incumbent taxi industry is unhappy.

Context: French farmers setting fires. German political tensions increasing. Scotland’s voting to leave the United Kingdom. Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain. The PIIGS. Well, you get the idea.

And, of course, Google continues to wrestle with the EC’s decidedly un-Googley privacy concerns.

Google wants more disruption. That should play well in Austria and Switzerland, two nation states really into radical change.

Stephen E Arnold, September 23, 2014

Good-Bye Court Documents

September 22, 2014

The Internet makes it easier to access information, including documents from the government. While accessing government documents might cost a few cents, it is amazing that the information can be accessed within a few mouse clicks. BoingBoing, run by the infamous Cory Doctorow, notes that five important US courts are removing their documents from the Internet in “As Office Of US Courts Withdraws Records For Five Top Benches, Can We Make Them Open?”

The court documents are housed on the PACER system, most notable for charging users ten cents a page to access information. Doctorow advocates for free information and stopping governments from spying on its citizens. It is not surprising that he supports reopening these documents, along with the Free Law Project, Internet Archive, and Public.Resource.Org.

The plea reads:

“Our judiciary is based on the idea that we conduct justice public, not in star chambers and smoke-filled back rooms. Our system of justice is based on access to the workings of our courts, and when you hide those workings behind a pay wall, you have imposed a poll tax on access to justice. Aaron [Swartz] and many others believed very deeply in this principle and we will continue to fight for access to justice, equal protection, and due process. These are not radical ideas and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts should join us in our commitment.”

Swartz is known for working against Internet censorship bills, so joining Doctorow and the others will get the right backers to make these documents available again. You can fight city hall and win, especially if you are a technology enthusiast with legal aid.

Whitney Grace, September 22, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Russian Content: Tough to Search If Russia Is Not on the Internet

September 20, 2014

Forget running queries on Yandex.ru if Russia disconnects from the Internet. Sure, there may be workarounds, but these might invite some additional scrutiny. Why am I suggesting that some Russian content becomes unsearchable. Well, I believed the story “Russia to Be Disconnected from the Internet.” Isn’t Pravda a go to source for accurate, objective information?

The story asserts:

This is not a question of disconnecting Russia from the international network, yet, Russian operators will need to set up their equipment in a way to be able to disconnect the Russian Internet from the global network quickly in case of emergency, the newspaper wrote. As for the state of emergency, it goes about both military actions and large-scale riots in the country. In addition, the government reportedly discusses a possibility to empower the state with the function to administer domains. Currently this is a function of a public organization – the Coordination Center for the National Domain of the Internet. The purpose of the possible measure is not to isolate Russia from the outside world, but to protect the country, should the USA, for example, decide to disconnect Russia from the system of IP-addresses. It will be possible to avoid this threat, if Russia has a local regulator to distribute IP-addresses inside the country, rather than the ICANN, controlled by the United States government. This requires operators to set up “mirrors” that will be able to receive user requests and forward them to specific domain names.

Interesting. Who is being kept in the information closet? I suppose it depends on one’s point of view. Need an update for Sphinx Search? There will be a solution because some folks will plan ahead.

Stephen E Arnold, September 20, 2014

Feds Warned to Sweat the Small Stuff When Considering Big Data Solutions

September 15, 2014

Say, here’s a thought: After spending billions for big-data software, federal managers are being advised to do their research before investing in solutions. We learn about this nugget of wisdom from Executive Gov in their piece, “Report: Fed Managers Should Ask Data Questions, Determine Quality/Impact Before Investing in Tech.” Writer Abba Forrester sums up the Federal Times report:

“Rutrell Yasin writes that the above managers should follow three steps as they seek to compress the high volume of data their agencies encounter in daily tasks and to derive value from them. According to Shawn Kingsberry, chief information officer for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, federal managers should first determine the questions they need to ask of data then create a profile for the customer or target audience.

“Next, they should locate the data and their sources then correspond with those sources to determine quality of data, the report said. ‘Managers need to know if the data is in a federal system of records that gives the agency terms of use or is it public data,’ writes Yasin.

“Finally, they should consider the potential impact of the data, the insights and resulting technology investments on the agency.”

For any managers new to data management, the article notes they should choose a platform that includes data analysis tools and compiles data from multiple sources into one repository. It also advises agencies to employ a dedicated chief data officer and data scientists/ architects. Good suggestions, all. Apparently, agencies need to be told that a cursory or haphazard approach to data is almost certain to require more time, effort, and expense down the line.

Cynthia Murrell, September 15, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

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