Dinging AMP after Years of Unknowing: Timely Marketing Perhaps?

April 22, 2022

In one of my Google monographs, I included a diagram showing Google as a digital walled garden. The idea is that a Google user would access the Google version of the Internet via Google. I documented this by referencing some Google patents which few read or bothered to match to Google’s vision for the really big new thing: The mobile Internet.

The Google rolled out AMP with some magic PR dust explaining that speed was good. I laughed. Yep, speed is good, but the shaping of content and funneling those data into, through, and out of the Google was way better. If you look at the world through wonky Google PR sparkles, good for you.

I read “Why Brave and DuckDuckGo are cracking down on Google’s AMP.” The key point in the write up is that these steps have been taken seven years after the AMP roll out and more than 15 years after I wrote The Google Legacy, Google Version 2.0, and Google: The Digital Gutenberg. Speedy for sure.

The write up states with the attendant “wow, this is such a bold move” prose:

Brave published a blog post saying it’s releasing a new feature called De-AMP that’ll redirect you to the publisher’s original page, instead of an AMP-based link. The feature is available in Nightly and Beta versions of the browser, and will be enabled by default in the upcoming 1.38 Desktop and Android versions. The firm said it’s working on porting these functions to its iOS browser at the moment. A day later, privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo posted on Twitter that its apps and extensions will redirect users to publishers’ non-AMP pages when they click on links in search results.

Translation: Avoid the Google version of the Internet. I could offer some examples of how Google reshapes on the fly certain types of content, but I am confident that you, gentle reader, are familiar with this mechanism, right?

Google does many interesting things? There is the quaint notion of quality and Google’s view of quality. There is the significance of time metadata and Google’s version of time in general and time metadata in particular. And more? You bet. But everyone knows these mechanisms, right? Absolutely because most people meet tell me they are search experts.

Net net: This strikes me as marketing.

Stephen E Arnold, April 22, 2022

Enterprise Search Vendors: Sure, Some Are Missing But Does Anyone Know or Care?

April 20, 2022

I came across a site called Software Suggest and its article “Coveo Enterprise Search Alternatives.” Wow. What’s a good word for bad info?

The system generated 29 vendors in addition to Coveo. The options were not in alphabetical order or any pattern I could discern. What outfits are on the list? Here are the enterprise search vendors for February 2022, the most recent incarnation of this list. My comments are included in parentheses for each system. By the way, an alternative is picking from two choices. This is more correctly labeled “options.” Just another indication of hippy dippy information about information retrieval.

AddSearch (Web site search which is not enterprise search)

Algolia (a publicly trade search company hiring to reinvent enterprise search just as Fast Search & Transfer did more than a decade ago)

Bonsai.io (another Eleasticsearch repackager)

Coveo (no info, just a plea for comments)

C Searcher(from HNsoft in Portugal. desktop search last updated in 2018 according to the firm’s Web site)

CTX Search (the expired certificate does bode well)

Datafari (maybe open source? chat service has no action since May 2021)

Expertrec Search Engine (an eCommerce solution, not an enterprise search system)

Funnelback (the name is now Squiz. The technology Australian)

Galaktic (a Web site search solution from Taglr, an eCommerce search service)

IBM Watson (yikes)

Inbenta (A Catalan outfit which shapes its message to suit the purchasing climate)

Indica Enterprise Search (based in the Netherlands but the name points to a cannabis plant)

Intrasearch (open source search repackaged with some spicy AI and other buzzwords)

Lateral (the German company with an office in Tasmania offers an interface similar to that of Babel Street and Geospark Analytics for an organization’s content)

Lookeen (desktop search for “all your data”. All?)

OnBase ECM (this is a tricky one. ISYS Search sold to Lexmark. Lexmark sold to Highland. Highland appears to be the proud possessor of ISYS Search and has grafted it to an enterprise content management system)

OpenText (the proud owner of many search systems, including Tuxedo and everyone’s fave BRS Search)

Relevancy Platform (three years ago, Searchspring Relevancy Platform was acquired by Scaleworks which looks like a financial outfit)

Sajari (smart site search for eCommerce)

SearchBox Search (Elasticsearch from the cloud)

Searchify (a replacement for Index Tank. who?)

SearchUnify (looks like a smart customer support system, a pitch used by Coveo and others in the sector)

Site Search 360 (not an enterprise search solution in my opinion)

SLI Systems (eCommerce search, not enterprise search, but I could be off base here)

Team Search (TransVault searches Azure Tenancy set ups)

Wescale (mobile eCommerce search)

Wizzy (the name is almost as interesting as the original Purple Yogi system and another eCommerce search system)

Wuha (not as good a name as Purple Yogi. A French NLP search outfit)

X1 Search (from Idea Labs, X1 is into eDiscovery and search)

This is quite an incomplete and inconsistent list from Software Suggest. It is obvious that there is considerable confusion about the meaning of “enterprise search.” I thought I provided a useful definition in my book “The Landscape of Enterprise Search,” published by Panda Press a decade ago. The book, like me, is not too popular or well known. As a result, the blundering around in eCommerce search, Web site search, application specific search, and enterprise search is painful. Who cares? No one at Software Suggest I posit.

My hunch is that this is content marketing for Coveo. Just a guess, however.

Stephen E Arnold, April xx, 2022

Microsoft: Twice Cooked PR with Ban Mao?

April 18, 2022

Going green is important. Microsoft is important. Therefore, Microsoft is going green. How that logic for you, gentle reader. The editors at Fast Company followed this line of reasoning and enjoyed a sizzling plate of twice cooked PR with ban mao in “Microsoft’s Hottest New Product Is a Wok.” Yep, a wok for the woke maybe?

The write up states:

The wok is part of Microsoft’s brand new all-electric kitchen at its headquarters outside Seattle, where nearly 50,000 employees are based. The company is adding 3 million square feet of offices and facilities, and the entire project is being designed to be powered by a vast geothermal system and produce zero carbon emissions. A big part of getting there was eliminating fossil fuels from its energy portfolio. And one of the biggest users of fossil fuels were the company’s kitchens.

I wonder if Microsoft and Fast Company looked at the Microsoft Azure server farms and calculated what percentage of the energy these installations consumed and then answered this question: How much of the energy consumed is of the going green, whale saving variety?


No surprise. I would like a century egg too. I wonder if Fast Company has ordered some Microsoft ads to accompany the article.

Stephen E Arnold, April 18, 2022

DuckDuckGo and Filtering

April 18, 2022

I read “DuckDuckGo Removes Pirate Websites from Search Results: No More YouTube-dl?” The main thrust of the story is:

The private search engine, DuckDuckGo, has decided to remove pirate websites from its official search results.

DuckDuckGo is a metasearch engine. These are systems which may do some focused original spidering, but may send a user’s query to partner indexes. Then the results are presented to the user (which may be a human or a software robot). Some metasearch systems like Vivisimo invested some intellectual cycles in de-duplicating the results. (A helpful rule of thumb is to assume a 50 to 70 percent overlap in results from one Web search system to another.) IBM bought Vivisimo, and I have to admit that I have no idea what happened to the de-duplicating technology because … IBM.

There are more advanced metasearch systems. One example is Silobreaker, a system influenced by some Swedish wizards. The difference between a DuckDuckGo and an industrial strength system, in my opinion, is significant. Web search is an opaque service. Many behind-the-scenes actions take place, and some of the most important are not public disclosed in a way that makes sense to a person looking for pizza.

My question, Is DuckDuckGo actively filtering?” And “Why did this take so long?” And, “Is DuckDuckGo virtue signaling after its privacy misstep, or is the company snagged in a content marketing bramble?

I don’t know. My thoughts are:

  1. The editorial policies of metasearch systems should be disclosed; that is, we do this and we do that.
  2. Metasearch systems should disclose that many results are recycled and the provenance, age, and accuracy of the results are unknown to the metasearch provider?
  3. Metasearch systems should make clear exactly what the benefits of using the metasearch system are and why the provider of some search results are not as beneficial to the user; for example, which result is an ad (explicit or implicit), sponsored, etc.

Will metasearch systems embrace some of these thoughts? Nah. Those who use “free” Web search systems are in a cloud of unknowing.

Stephen E Arnold, April 18, 2022

A Question about Robot Scientist Methods

April 13, 2022

I read “Robot Scientist Eve Finds That Less Than One Third of Scientific Results Are Reproducible.” The write up makes a big deal that Eve (he, her, it, them) examined in a semi automated way 12,000 research papers. From that set 74 were “found” to be super special. Now of the 74, 22 were “found” to be reproducible. I think I am supposed to say, “Wow, that’s amazing.”

I am not ready to be amazed because one question arose:

Can Eve’s (her, her, it, them) results be replicated. What about papers about Shakespeare, what about high energy physics, and what about SAIL Snorkel papers?

Answers, anyone.

I have zero doubt that peer reviewed, often wild and crazy research results were from one of these categories:

  1. Statistics 101 filtered through the sampling, analytic, and shaping methods embraced by the researcher or researchers.
  2. A blend of some real life data with synthetic data generated by a method prized at a prestigious research university.
  3. A collection of disparate data smoothed until suitable for a senior researcher to output a useful research finding.

Why are data from researchers off the track? I believe the quest for grants, tenure, pay back to advisors, or just a desire to be famous at a conference attended by people who are into the arcane research field for which the studies are generated.

I want to point out that one third being sort of reproducible is a much better score than the data output from blue chip and mid tier consulting firms about mobile phone usage, cyber crime systems, and the number of computers sold in the last three month period. Much of that information is from the University of the Imagination. My hunch is that quite a few super duper scholars have a degree in marketing or maybe an MBA.

Stephen E Arnold, April 13, 2022

IBM: Still Buzzwording after All These Years

April 8, 2022

I read “IBM Unveils Industry’s First Quantum-Safe System, IBM z16.” I have no doubt the machine is capable and certainly better than the IBM dog to which I had access in 1962. I loved standing in line to sign up for a card punch machine. I loved standing in line to drop off my pathetic card deck. I loved getting the green bar paper and the deck back days later. What’s not to like? Today’s system is super duper. The write explains that the “new” mainframe can prevent a quantum issue from a computer yet to be deployed as a functional encryption/decryption equipped quantum computer. That’s a pretty good wild and crazy idea: Protect against a future thing not yet in existence. Wow!

However the write up uses more buzzwords than I have seen in the patents filed by an outfit called Kyndi (if you don’t know, this is another enterprise search company with jargonized patent documents). Here’s a short list of some of the gems used to describe a mainframe. Keep in mind this is a mainframe, not a zippy Apple M chip powered gizmo. A mainframe. The words:

Quantum safe system. (Frankly I am not sure what a quantum computer will actually do once the cost, applications, cooling, etc. are figured out.)

Inference requests. (Years ago there was a Web search system called Inference. Today I am not exactly sure what an inference request is. Maybe a query requiring fancy predictive math? The IBM approach is to deliver latency optimized inferencing. I think this means latency reduced inference but maybe not. The number presented without any supporting data is 300 billion inference requests per day. Is this eight hours or 24 hours?)

Integrated on chip AI accelerator. (And what’s AI mean? Probably machine learning but the on chip AI is snappy. How big is this “artificial intelligence” conceptual umbrella? I assume IBM used the word “all” in a previous draft of this buzzwordy phrase.)

Near future threats. (After SolarWinds the threats are here and now and will persist because the attack surface is like the paved parking lots in Paramus, New Jersey. What’s near future? Like tomorrow?)

Cyber resiliency posture. (My hunch is that this means that executives at Microsoft struggling with Azure and Exchange security will sit up straight after 1,000 bad actors working for a nation state use off the shelf exploits to attack those Softies’ systems and software.)

CEX8S. (Is the acronym pronounced like the word for biological actions related to progeny creation or like the breakfast cereal one ate for breakfast? Has the acronym been influenced by Tesla’s cutesy auto labels: Model S, Model 3, and Model X, the one with long lasting performance?)

Quantum-safe cryptographic technology. (At least Kyndi spelled “quantum” this way: Quantom. IBM couldn’t be bothered to nose into Kyndi’s spelling innovation. IBM’s invocation approach may relate to the firm’s experiments with quantum computing which have allegedly ripped the crown of quantum supremacy from the scaled head of Googzilla.)

Wow. This is a mainframe, and it works pretty much like its predecessors. Why not emphasize compatibility, methods of exporting data to lesser systems, and exactly what legacy software will run on the beastie?

Not zippy enough? Certainly not for the IBM marketers. Quantum AI inferencing CEX8S are much zippier. Let’s ask the part of Watson that hasn’t been sold? Here’s the answer I think Watson will output:

IBM deliberately misclassified mainframe sales to enrich execs, lawsuit claims

That seems like a Watson like answer to me.

Stephen E Arnold, April 8, 2022

Do The Google AI Claims Grow Like a Pinocchio Body Part?

April 6, 2022

Pathways Language Model (PaLM): Scaling to 540 Billion Parameters for Breakthrough Performance” is a variant of the Google quantum supremacy announcement. Bigger, better, faster, more powerful, able to leap problems with a single tap on the Enter key. The graphic in the Google AI Blog post does grow. Didn’t Carlo Collodi cook up a dummy. The chief feature — other than teaching some how not to lie — was that the marketing was handled by Walt Disney. Like IBM’s humorous announcement that a mainframe could defeat a quantum computer’s ability to crack encryption, a claim pointed at something not invented yet is interesting. Are those marketing people at Google and IBM mentally enervated by swigs of Five Hour Energy?

Like a certain fictional character’s nose and the anigif in the blog post, the claims continue to grow.


I looked at this graphic closely. I noted a few omissions; for example:

  1. A mechanism to report the incidence of outliers or exceptions between the baseline system and the state of the system after iterating over a period of a month
  2. Any reference to bias identification and amelioration. This is Dr. Timnit Gebru territory, and this landscape is one that Google appears to ignore, at least in public. In private negotiations and legal chambers, maybe the Google addresses the baked in biases? Maybe not?
  3. Any reference to the handling of images, content, videos that are related to sexual harassment; for instance, allegations about personnel issues at Google and DeepMind themselves?
  4. Data about the accuracy of the outputs? Are we in 95 percentile territory or close enough for horse shoes and ad matching?

The write up uses a number of buzzwords, some Google jargon, and quite a few links to other Google documents and experts at Microsoft and NVidia. I am convinced. I believe everything I read on the Internet and Google’s blogs.

Three observations:

First, what’s at stake in my opinion is dominance if possible of off the shelf smart methods. Consolidation is the name of the game, and Google wants to beat out Amazon, Microsoft, assorted China backed outfits, and any other challengers who want to go a different direction. Not every company wants to SAIL down a certain flow of methods.

Second, Google is — bless its single revenue stream — embracing Madison Avenue techniques to convince people that it is the Big Dog in smart methods: New, improved, money back guarantee, and free trial sell toothpaste. Why not Google AI?

Third, Google — despite the alleged monopoly position — is struggling with the what’s next? Legal hassles, management practices, competition from nuisance companies like Amazon, competition for technical talent, hard to control costs — These are real issues at the Alphabet Google YouTube construct.

At end of a Silicon Valley day, some in Mountain View see Google as a one trick pony. It seems far fetched, but it looks as if Steve Ballmer may have been spot on with that one-trick pony metaphor. And there is Pinocchio’s nose.

Stephen E Arnold, April 6, 2022

PR or Reality? Only the Cyber Firms Know the Answer

April 6, 2022

Cyber crimes are on the rise. Businesses and individuals are the targets of malware bad actors. IT Online details how cyber security firms handle attacks: “What Happens Inside A Cybercrime War-Room?” As a major business player in Africa, South Africa fends off many types of cyber attacks: coin miner modules, viruses downloaded with bad software, self-spreading crypto mining malware, and ransomware.

The good news about catching cyber criminals is that white hat experts know how their counterparts work and can use technology like automation and machine learning against them. Carlo Bolzonello is the country manager for South Africa’s Trellis’s branch. He said that cyber crime organizations are run like regular businesses, except their job is to locate and target IT vulnerable environments. Once the bad business has the victim in its crosshairs, the bad actors exploit it for money or other assets for exploration or resale.

Bolzonello continued to explain that while it is important to understand how the enemy works, it is key that organizations have a security operations center armed with various tools that can pull information about possible threats into one dashboard:

“That single dashboard can show where a threat has emerged, and where it has spread to, so that action can be taken, immediately. It can reveal whether ransomware has gained access via a “recruitment” email sent to executives, whether a “living off the land” binary has taken hold via a download of an illicit copy of a movie, or whether a coin miner module has inserted itself via pirated software. Having this information to hand helps the SOC design and implement a quick and effective response, to stop the attack spreading further, and to prevent it costing money for people and businesses.”

Having a centralized dashboards allows organizations respond quicker and keep their enemies in check. Black hat cyber organizations actually might have a reverse of a security operations center that allow them to locate vulnerabilities. PR or reality? A bit of both perhaps?

Whitney Grace, April 6, 2022

Anti-Drone Measures: A Bit Like Enterprise Cyber Security?

April 5, 2022

The big news is that whatever anti-drone technology is being used by “the West”, it is not working at 100 percent efficiency. The Wall Street Journal, published on April Fool’s Day, the story “Drones Evade West’s Air Defense.” I could not spot the exact write up in my online resources, but this particular item is in the dead tree edition. If you go to an office which has humanoids who subscribe to the hard copy, you can check out the story on Page A-9. Story locations vary by edition because… advertising.

There is an online version with the jazzy title “NATO Investigates How Russian and Ukrainian Drones Bypassed Europe’s Air Defense System.” You might be able to view the article at this link, but you probably will either have to pay or see a cheerful 404 error. These folks are in the money business. News — mostly like the Ford 150 — is cargo, and it has a cult I believe.

The point of both write ups is that both Russian and Ukrainian drones have not be interdicted by anti-drone systems. How did those in neighboring companies know that Russian and Ukrainian drones were entering their air space and zipping through their anti-droned borders?

Drones crashed. People walked up and noted, “Okay, explosives on that one.” Another person spots a drone in a field and says, “Looks like this one has cameras, not bombs.”

Countries whose borders have been subject to drone incursions include Romania, Croatia, and Poland. There may be others, but some of the countries have areas which are a difficult to reach, even for an Eva Zu Beck type of person.

NATO is looking into the anti drone measures. That makes sense, since most vendors of military grade anti drone systems have PowerPoint decks which make it clear, “Our system works.” Should I name vendors? Nah, remember Ubiquiti and Mr. Krebs. (That sounds like a children’s program on a PBS station to me.) Slide decks become the reality until a drone with explosives plops down near a pre-school.

My immediate reaction to these Wall Street Journal stories was, “Maybe the anti-drone defense vendors operate with the same reliability as the vendors of enterprise cyber security systems?” The PowerPoint decks promise the same efficacy. There are even private YouTube videos which show drone defense vendors systems EMPing, blasting, or just knocking those evil constructs out of the sky. (Check out Anduril’s offering in this collision centric method, please.)

For several years I followed drone technology for an investment outfit. I learned that the information about the drone described devices best suited for science fiction. I read patents which were not in the fiction section of my local library. I watched YouTube videos with nifty DaVinci Fusion video effects.

The reality?

NATO is now investigating.

My point is that it is easy to sell certain government types advanced technology with PowerPoints and slick videos. This generalization applies to hardware and to software cyber systems.

I don’t need to invoke the SolarWinds’ misstep. I don’t need to recycle the information in the Wall Street Journal stories or the somewhat unusual content in Perun’s drone video.

Is procurement to blame? Partially. I think that Parkinson’s Law (1958) gets closer to the truth, particularly when combined with the observations in the Peter Principle (1971). Universals are at work with the assistance of fast talkers, PowerPoints, and video “proof”.

Stephen E Arnold, April 4, 2022

Google: The Quantum Supremacy Turtling

April 1, 2022

Okay, Aprils’ Fool Day.

Google Wants to Win the Quantum Computing Race by Being the Tortoise, Not the Hare” explains that the quantum supremacy “winner” which captured “time crystals” has a new angle:

it’s clear that Google — or, to be more accurate, its parent company Alphabet — has its sights set on being the world’s premiere quantum computing organization.

Machines? Nah, think cloud, gentle reader. Google has it together, but the non Googley may struggle to get the picture. The write up says:

Parent company Alphabet recently starbursted its SandboxAQ division into its own company, now a Google sibling. It’s unclear exactly what SandboxAQ intends to do now that it’s spun out, but it’s positioned as a quantum-and-AI-as-a-service company. We expect it’ll begin servicing business clients in partnership with Google in the very near-term.

But? The write up says:

We can safely assume we haven’t seen the last of Google’s quantum computing research breakthroughs, and that tells us we could very well be living in the moments right before the slow-and-steady tortoise starts to make up ground on the speedy hare.

Maybe turtle? An ectotherm like Googzilla? Eye glass frames with a relevant Google product review? So many questions.

Stephen E Arnold, April 1, 2022

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