A Minor Point about Google Wave

April 9, 2020

I read “Google Wave’s Failure is a Great Lesson for Modern Real-Time Collaboration Tools.” I sure don’t want to get in a digital squabble. Revisionism is a respected skill at this time. The article points out:

The idea to focus on communication came from Jens who noticed a significant shift in the way people interacted online. The consensus between the brothers was that they should build a platform that would reflect those changes in its functionality.

I would suggest checking out Dr. Alon Halevy (who was Alon Levy for a while). He wrote:

I was the CEO of Megagon Labs from November 2015 until December 2018. Prior to Megagon, I headed the Structured Data Group of Google Research in Mountain View, California for a decade (here are a few thoughts about that decade). I joined Google in 2005 with the acquisition of my company, Transformic. Prior to that, I was a professor of Computer Science at the University of Washington, where I founded the UW CSE Database Group in 1998. You can follow me on Twitter for more (un)frequent updates. In the past, I used to blog and maybe I’ll return to it some day.

He added:

My group is responsible for Google Fusion Tables, a service for managing data in the cloud that focuses on ease of use, collaboration and data integration. Fusion Tables enables users to upload spreadsheets, CSV and KML files and share them with collaborators or with the public. You can easily integrate data from multiple sources (and organizations) and use a collection of visualizations to look at your data. In particular, Fusion Tables is deeply integrated with Google Maps, making it easy to visualize large geographic data sets. To facilitate collaboration, users can conduct fine-grained discussions on the data. You can see some examples of how Fusion Tables is being used. You can interact with Fusion Tables through our UI or our API.

The source for these quotes is https://homes.cs.washington.edu/~alon/.

With thousands of Googles, why did I focus on Dr. Halevy. The name change was a signal to which I attended. With a bit of work, one can locate slide decks which explain some of the functionality Dr. Halevy brought to Google.

Did Dr. Halevy inform the younger Googlers?

My research for Google Version 2: The Calculating Predator (Infonortics (now out of business says, “Yes.” Dr. Halevy had a significant impact on Google and influenced the company’s efforts in surveillance, data transformation, and collaborative services.

But as one of my friends says to me when we talk, “Nobody cares.” I would add that many of those waiting about Google are unaware of Transformics. That’s too bad. There was a reason why the Google acquired the firm. What is Dr. Halevy contributing to Facebook. Those early Transformic slide decks and Dr. Halevy’s technical papers may yield some insights. But that’s work. Better to go with revisionism.

Stephen E Arnold, April 9, 2020

 

NR2 Search

March 23, 2020

DarkCyber noted that NR2 made a public version of its innovation search engine available. This information and investment startup was founded about a year ago. NR2 won the K Startup Grand Challenge in 2019, beating 176 other startups from 95 countries.

The company says:

Powered by big data and artificial intelligence, we deliver insights that predict trends in innovation before they sweep the globe. We sit at the heart of China and Europe’s innovation hubs, enabling us to seamlessly link global investment to local innovation, accelerating growth and returns for both.

The company’s headquarters are in Paris. The founders are Maxim Parr, a graduate of HEC Paris (a business school with an eight percent acceptance rate),and Jordan Monnet, a PhD who is proficient in Mandarin.

The founders told the HEC publication:

We can learn so much about how innovation thrives by understanding data on start-ups. Our algorithms have found many characteristics present in disruptive companies and we use them to help our users identify the next generation of revolutionary companies. We started with Chinese start ups, but we are building out our search engine to capture innovation everywhere.

A query for analytics returned a list of companies shown below:

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The companies listed were Chinese.

Clicking on the company Hesaitech returned a useful summary of the firm:

image

The icon allows the user to copy the link to the NR2.io entry.

Observations:

  1. Extremely useful resource in its present form. DarkCyber anticipates enhancements
  2. There are a number of monetization options available to this company
  3. Content valuable to investment firms and organizations looking for companies to explore deals or partnerships
  4. Data appear to be of high value because obtaining current information about venture funded firms in China and elsewhere can be time consuming.

We ran our standard queries for surveillance technology, facial recognition, and investigative software and did not immediately locate useful information. We think that this is a result of the search terms we tested.

DarkCyber will add this resource to our list of useful resources. Worth a look.

Stephen E Arnold, March 23, 2020

Innovators and Innovation: Is Google in the Me Too Business?

February 21, 2020

Ah, Google Plus. One could get a bonus for doing Plus things. Yes, Google Plus, the wanna be Facebook. And using the Orkut experience only made Google Plus better. How could a plus become a minus? It happened. Keep in mind that Google Plus could at any moment vivify if a Googler with time on his/her hands enters the “circle.” Why? How? What?

Hey, that’s just Googley.

Cult of Mac is circulating what may be a delicious digital cupcake. Now the confection could be a real treat like those at Philz Coffee, or it could be one of the pipe dreams about job security in the Google Cloud unit. Who knows?

The write up’s title is “Google Is Readying Its Own Apple News Competitor.” Now Apple News is different from Facebook, the alleged target of the Google Plus service. There’s insufficient information to figure out if the Apple News service is making publishers and users happy. DarkCyber has heard that some of those ink stained wretches are not ready to shout “Hurrah” from the watering holes near the great publishing facilities in Manhattan and trailer courts in Kansas-like locations.

The write up states:

Google has been in talks with multiple publishers about paying a licensing fee for content used in its upcoming news product. So far it sounds like the company is mostly talking to publishers outside the US, but the company says it views the initiative as an important tool for an informed democracy.

Ah, democracy. Google allegedly phrased its idea this way:

“We want to help people find quality journalism – it’s important to informed democracy and helps support a sustainable news industry,” said Richard Gingras, VP of news at Google. We care deeply about this and are talking with partners and looking at more ways to expand our ongoing work with publishers, building on programs like our Google News Initiative.”

Let’s reflect a moment on these questions:

  • What me too product from Google has been the equivalent of Amazon’s AWS or Apple’s ear bud things?
  • What happens when the Googlers working on the alleged product decide to shift to a product that will earn the workers bonuses and niftier work?
  • What’s the plan for differentiating the service from for fee competitors, original sources and their pay walls and begging for dollars messages, or ad supported services like Newsnow.co.uk?

There are other questions, but this is a rumor. When it becomes a reality like Google Plus, then we will have “real” news or AF as some young folks say.

Stephen E Arnold, February 21, 2020

Google Scores Big in a Decade of Failures

December 23, 2019

The trendy Verge identified “The 84 Biggest Flops, Fails, and Dead Dreams of the Decade in Tech.” The importance of the story warranted capital letters. Shouting “Failure” is cool, is it not?

I scanned the list and noted these entries for Google.

  1. Google Nexus Q—A media streamer from the online ad outfit
  2. Google Reader—An RSS reader that worked
  3. Google Fiber—Yeah, but I got a T shirt for the defunct Louisville service
  4. Google Barge—Data centers outside of country’s legal limits
  5. Google+—The future of Google that wasn’t. Orkut is missed among some interesting supporters in Brazil even now
  6. Google Tango—A virtual reality middle school science club project
  7. Google Daydream—A virtual reality high school science club project
  8. Android tablets—Sluggish? For sure
  9. Essential phone—Not really Google, but the Xoogler behind it and the Google exit? Priceless
  10. Google Project Ara—A grade school science club project
  11. Google smart watch—Yeah, super
  12. Google messaging strategy—Pre-school science club projects
  13. Google Glass—One Googler Glass professional needed therapy after using the device

This means that one company appears to contribute more failures, flops, and foolhardy actions than any other firm in the ken of the Verge’s failure team.

Good work, Verge failure team. Great work, Google. The next decade will be even better and more relevant than the last 10 years we assume.

Stephen E Arnold, December 23, 2019

Google Discovers Radio

November 22, 2019

We noted The Hindu BusinessLine story “As News Consumption Patterns Change, Google Launches Audio Streaming of News.” Now radio is broadcast. The Google approach uses the Internet. But audio is audio. And audio evokes images of radio technology. The family may not huddle around the glowing vacuum tubes, but the experience is similar. Yes, we know that radio brought some families together in a shared auditory experience.

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No gray T shirts and khakis for this family unit of radio listeners.

The Google approach surfs on the trend for isolation. Hey, islands of existence are good, right?

The write up points out:

As people take to podcasts and digital audio content, Google has launched audio news broadcasts. All a user needs to do is to ask Google Assistant to ‘Play the news’, and it begins streaming news. Google has tied up with global media houses such as BBC to provide content to users.

DarkCyber wonders if any other high tech companies have stumbled upon this innovation. Yes, yes, Amazon Alexa can do radio. I think I saw the neighbor’s kid asking his iPhone to play something, maybe Cambridge University’s Naked Scientist. Disappointed kid? I don’t know.

The write up quotes a Googler as stating:

“The audio web is like the text web of the 1990s. At Google, we saw an opportunity to help move digital audio forward by focusing on audio news.

Does anyone hear Eureka arising over the sounds of employee protests?

Stephen E Arnold, November 22, 2019

Geospatial Innovation: SenSat

October 8, 2019

Last week, there was conference chatter about geo-spatial technology. The conference focused on LE and intel technology and knowing where an entity is remains an important capability for certain software systems.

There was also talk in one of my sessions about “innovation drift.” This is my way of characterizing the movement of “good ideas” from the US to other countries. “Drift” is inevitable: Economic, political, and social pressure ensures that digital ideas move.

I noted this morning (Sunday, October 6, 2019) the article “Tencent Leads $10 Million Investment in SenSat to Create Real-Time Simulated Realities.” The write up reported:

SenSat, a geospatial technology startup that digitizes real-world places for infrastructure projects, has raised $10 million in a series A round of funding led by Chinese tech titan Tencent, with participation from Russian investment firm Sistema Venture Capital.

SenSat processes satellite and other imagery. Then the company’s software constructs representations of what’s on the ground. The write up pointed out:

[SenSat] said it translates the real world into a version that can be understood by machines and is thus suitable for training artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

DarkCyber noted this statement in the write up:

SenSat constitutes part of another growing trend across the technology spectrum: the meshing of large swathes of disparate data to generate real and meaningful insights.

The technology developed by SenSat, founded in London in 2015, is interesting.

For DarkCyber, the most important information in the write up was the assertion that the company has obtained financial support from companies in China and Russia.

The idea, DarkCyber believes, is that the technological drift is not going to be left to chance. Reconstructions like the ones generated by SenSat, Cape Analytics, and others are likely to make the targeting options of nanodrones more interesting.

Drift is one thing; directed and managed technology drift is another.

Stephen E Arnold, October 8, 2019

Google Is a Curious Outfit: Who, How, Why, Where, Buy, and Build?

July 16, 2019

Ah, the familiar Silicon Valley question: Buy or build?

Reuters, a “real news” outfit, published “Google Accused of Ripping Off Digital Ad Technology in U.S. Lawsuit.” DarkCyber has no idea if the alleged lawsuit is valid or if Google “ripped off” a company called Impact Engine.

According to the “real news” story:

Impact Engine Inc filed the complaint in federal court in San Diego, California, alleging various Google online advertising platforms, including Google Ads and Google AdSense, infringed on six patents.

DarkCyber believes that Impact Engine is convinced that Googlers took technology developed by the smaller firm. Google’s present senior management is probably unaware of the actions of young at heart Googlers.

Based on DarkCyber’s experience interacting with large, successful corporations, Google-type outfits ask a lot of questions. But these are predictable and probably should not be answered without prior thought. Scripting answers is a reasonable way to prepare for a lunch with a predator.

Now what about the basic questions. Here are a few I have experienced:

  • Who are you?
  • Who developed the innovation?
  • Why was it developed?
  • Why is it better than existing innovations?
  • When did you develop the innovation?
  • Did you patent the innovation and receive a patent?
  • Where can this innovation be implemented?
  • How much of a revenue boost does the innovation represent?
  • How much did you spend in cash to create the innovation?
  • How long did it take to create the innovation?
  • How many people worked on the innovation in [a] its preliminary phase, [b] its testing phase, and [c] its commercialization phase?
  • What is the programming language used?
  • Does the innovation run from the cloud or on premises?
  • What are the next series of enhancements you plan to add to your innovation?
  • How long will those take?
  • How much money do you need to implement the enhancements in half your time estimate?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What are the gotchas in your innovation?
  • Who is your nightmare competitor?
  • What do you worry about relative to this innovation when you go to bed at night?
  • If you had a magic wand, what changes would you make in the innovation as it exists at this time?
  • Would you rough out a block diagram of the major components of the innovation?
  • Would you walk us through your basic slide deck?

There are other questions, of course.

Now a company talking with a Google-type firm is likely to be darned excited to be in proximity to a deep pocket power center. Consequently the visitors are probably going to say too much, be too specific, and reveal more than the visiting team thought was possible.

Yep, well, there’s the fact that power and potential money loosens lips.

What happens when the small outfit leaves with booth leftovers in hand, a reasonable vegan lunch, and worshipful praise from the big company’s “team players”?

Let me boil down the gist of the debriefs in which I have participated:

  1. Is this innovation any good?
  2. Can we duplicate it quickly and easily? (Build?)
  3. If not, how much do you think the innovation is worth?
  4. Can we just license the innovation? (Semi-buy?)
  5. Should we forget this outfit and go to the competitors named in the meeting?
  6. Don’t we already have this functionality?
  7. Does anybody remember meeting with this company or anyone who works there before?
  8. Should we buy this outfit?

There are other considerations, of course.

In short, when big Google type outfits meet with small innovative outfits, the expectations of the small company are likely to be different from those at the big company.

Therefore, the legal dust up. Worth monitoring this particular action. But the matter of patents, prior art, and the patents which the big company may have tucked in their cloud storage device are likely to have some bearing on the matter.

One thing is certain: The lawyers involved will get paid a lot of money. And the money people? Sure. Money people.

Stephen E Arnold, July 16, 2019

Forcing China to Fill the Google Gap

May 20, 2019

I read the Reuters’ exclusive “Google Suspends Some Business with Huawei after Trump Blacklist – source.” The news story presents some information which on the surface is interesting. Google allegedly has “suspended business with Huawei.” There is a caveat; namely, “except those publicly available via open source licensing.” Huawei mobile phone users can chug along for now. Reuters quotes an unnamed source in the rich tradition of “real news.” The source allegedly said:

“Huawei will only be able to use the public version of Android and will not be able to get access to proprietary apps and services from Google.

The number of blog posts and “real” news stories about this Google move is intriguing. Most of these follow the standard impact on business, what about the users, and whither Android lines.

My thought is that innovation often is a result of adversity. If I narrow my focus to topics related to intelligence analysis and a bit of the lawlful intercept activity, this development could have some unintended consequences. Put aside fears of more industrial espionage, hassling of Google and other US firms as a retaliatory measure, and the grousing of US companies faced with losing Huawei and its suppliers as customers.

Chinese engineers may turn their attention from reasonably effective facial recognition and surveillance systems to the job of moving beyond Google’s technology, creating parallels for some US technologies, and innovating in ways to lock out prying eyes from certain types of data transmissions.

The thrill of making life difficult for Huawei and demonstrating that Google is on board with US trade policies may be short lived. Maybe China moves some of its more interesting technology into the “Google gap”? Perhaps China steps up the for functionalities no longer easily available? What if China finds a way to shut certain mechanisms for monitoring information shoved around by Huawei and other Chinese vendors’ equipment?

The unintended consequence is that the US and possibly some of its allies will be forced to become more technologically innovative.

The big question for me is: “What if this is the turning point for Chinese technology?” China could force the US to become makers of buggy whips and seat covers for the new communication vehicles which may come down the information superhighway.

That’s a big and unintended consequence to consider in my opinion.

Stephen E Arnold, May 20, 2019

BBC Explains the End of the Open Internet After It Ended

May 18, 2019

A 3,500 word story from the BBC explains the end of the open Internet. The main idea is that the US approach of sending anything to anyone is not what China, Russia, and other countries will accept. “The Global Internet Is Disintegrating. What Comes Next?” is not news. The essay is a pinch of intelligence agency analysis (a small pinch I might add), some business school semantics, and the routine quotes from experts.

The “what comes next” is mostly ignored. The reason is that the actions taken by a number of countries over the last decade represent the construction of a series of walled gardens. Blocking access is old hat in Iran. China and Russia have stepped up their efforts with political hand waving. Russia has laws which make the US companies either roll over or shut down. How about LinkedIn in Russia?

China is doing the system administrator squeeze. The twist is that Chinese high technology companies are lending a helping hand. Last time I was in China it took only a few minutes for my mobile phone to become a less than helpful gizmo. Five years earlier it took a couple of days to achieve the near useless state.

The BBC explains:

A separate internet for some, Facebook-mediated sovereignty for others: whether the information borders are drawn up by individual countries, coalitions, or global internet platforms, one thing is clear – the open internet that its early creators dreamed of is already gone.

With the business school jargon “digital deciders” wafting through the article, the question “what comes next” is not answered. The reason is that the reality is unpalatable to many in what China and Russia think of as the West.

The actions of countries attempting to prevent unfettered flows of information are designed to protect the government and commercial sector from the difficulties that arise when using US technology without an old fashioned speed limiter. Smaller countries are not keen on having Facebook and Twitter users coordinate protests and disrupt what these countries’ governments see as “normal” processes.

The so called digital deciders have already decided. The future is in place, and what needs to be described and understood include:

  • The actions of China and Russia are designed to control US influence. The future is a shift from control to more aggressive actions.
  • The alignment of nation states will be a decision by those countries to sign on for either the China approach or the Russia approach. In short, new blocs are now taking shape.
  • The behaviors of US high technology companies are designed to increase the power of these firms. Therefore, the companies will find themselves sued and hassled because some thinkers in China and Russia believe it is their duty to step in and reign in the actions of unregulated US firms.

The future of the Internet is, in my opinion, a battle ground. Bad things can happen in such a place even if it is digital.

Stephen E Arnold, May 18, 2019

digital deciders

A Google Moonshot: Shoes

February 2, 2019

I read “Alphabet’s Verily Has Been Working on Health-tracking Shoes to Measure Movement, Weight and Falls.” The news that Apple cut off Google from the app store is trivial next to this announcement. The problems with France and other EU government authorities are inconsequential.

Google is innovating in — wait for it — shoes.

I learned:

Alphabet’s life sciences arm, Verily, has been looking for partners to co-develop shoes with sensors embedded to monitor the wearer’s movement and weight, as well as to measure falls, CNBC has learned.

Potential partners include the designers who created Rosa Klebb’s knife shoes for “From Russia with Love,” innovators who have implemented tootsie wear described by Richard Freiherr von KrafftEbing, and the manufacturer of shoes tailored to those skilled in the art of the shuffle dance.

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The write up explained:

If Verily progresses with the project, the shoes could have a wide range of health-related uses. For instance, sudden weight gain can be a sign that the body is retaining fluid, which is a symptom of congestive heart failure. Another area of interest is fall detection, two of the people said, which could be useful for seniors in particular.

Product enhancements range from providing dagger shoes to those engaged in military operations, unusual shoes able to make digital recordings of interesting people have interactions, and YouTube shuffle dancers who put their health in peril performing moon walk moves.

With miniaturization, Google could encapsulate a variant of the Loon balloon, deploying the mechanism when signal boosting is required.

Now word on how the new initiative relates to solving death, another of Google-targeted problems.

Stephen E Arnold, February 2, 2019

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