August 28, 2015
The world seems to be focused on the stock market excitement. I want to highlight a paragraph in the dead tree edition of the Wall Street Journal. You might be able to access “Mobile Readers Abound—The Ads, Not So Much” online. Not my problem. Pick up the real newspaper. Flip to the Business & Tech” section and look for this paragraph on page B1 of the August 24, 2015 edition:
It [lagging mobile device ad revenues] is a similar story at News Corp’s Dow Jones & Col, publisher of the Wall Street Journal. More than half of unique visits to the Wall Street Journal Digital Network—which includes the Journal, MarketWatch, Barron’s, and WSJ Magazine—now come from nondesktop devices, but mobile accounts for less than 20 percent of the network’s digital ad revenue, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Interesting comment. So as the world goes mobile, Google goes Alphabet. Publishers perspire.
Without ads, where will online information journey? I would recommend that real journalists who cannot identify co workers as anything other than “a person familiar with the matter” consider podcasting. There may be jobs at Alphabet too.
Stephen E Arnold, August 28, 2015
August 24, 2015
Years ago I heard a Googler talk about recipes. I did not think too much about recipes. At the time, I was good to go with a Mountain Dew and a bag of M&M peanuts. Zoom, zoom, zoom.
Not long ago I learned that IBM Watson, the money spinning wonder machine from the lads and lasses in Almaden, Armonk, and Manhattan, wrote a cook book. Get your copy of “Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson: Recipes for Innovation from IBM & the Institute of Culinary Education” right now. Yummy.
Not to be out parboiled, the New York Times has, according to “The New York Times Makes 17,000 Tasty Recipes Available Online: Japanese, Italian, Thai & Much More,” has been busy in the kitchen too.
Here’s a passage I noted:
Have a look around, and you’ll see that the site also offers a number of useful functions for those who make a free account there, such as the ability to save the recipes you want to make later and a recommendation engine to give you suggestions as to what to make next. But still, even though sites like these guarantee that none of us will ever go hungry for lack of a recipe, we can only do as well by any of them as our actual, physical cooking skills allow.
Which cutting edge company will step forward with a kitchen robot able to let the annoying human go back to the couch and contemplate a potato? I suppose I could check out my supply of miso and soy. Nah, too much real work. I am going to nuke a burrito in the microwave and watch cartoons.
Stephen E Arnold, August 24, 2015
July 16, 2015
I read “Google’s Mobilegeddon Moves Hitting Marketers, Sites.” The write up reports an action by Google that I had not considered. The ballyhooed mobilegeddon hit my radar months ago.
Here’s the big news, according to ZDNet:
there’s a 25 percent gap between what they pay for clicks vs. what they get. “Parity or click through rates are growing faster than cost per clicks,” said Gaffney [presumably an Adobe principal wizard]. “We’re not even close right now. To see the gap widening is troubling.”
My view: Get used to it, gentle reader. The GOOG has a number of strings, but some of the chunkiest and most curvaceous in terms of revenue have been on “The Biggest Loser.”
As a result, the revenue mavens at the Google are beefing up other revenue streams.
Adobe is cheerleading for Facebook, but seems to be quite placid when the Zuck wants Flash to be disappeared.
Google, Zuck, Adobe: What’s this mean pour vous. Spend more, get less. Enjoy the excitement of the new feature “World That Click Streams Abandoned.”
Stephen E Arnold, July 16, 2015
July 15, 2015
I received an inquiry about remote access tools. With the mass media frenzy over the hack of a Italian services firm, interest in controlling another computer from a distance—that is, by remote control—seems to be on the uptick. If you want to dabble with remote access, navigate to “9 Free Remote Access Tools.” You can download a few and give them a whirl. The real question is, “How do you get the tool on another computer if that computer is not your mom’s or a helpless neighbor’s machine?” That is the big question, not the RAT technology. Enjoy.
Stephen E Arnold, July 18, 2015
July 4, 2015
Short honk: I have been a fan of the Silobreaker system, which is available for commercial and governmental content processing. I read Network Products Guide “New Products and Service: Winners 10th Annual 2015 IT Awards” recommended solutions league table this morning. Silobreaker, founded by a couple of wizards with military and commercial experience. According to the league table, the Silobreaker content processing and information access system is the top dog for applications centering in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. This means that the system’s multi-lingual capabilities were the best, according to the Network Products Guide’s editors. The company also nailed a silver medal for US focused solutions. You can get more information about Silobreaker at www.silobreaker.com. Sign up. Join the thousands of users who want to work with a winner.
Stephen E Arnold, July 4, 2015
June 22, 2015
I read “Publishers Slam Apple over Presumptuous News App Conditions.” Publishers presumptuous? I know of one publisher who used my research and marketed it on Amazon without my permission. Was that presumptuous of IDC and its wizard Dave Schubmehl?
According to the write up:
Publishers are up in arms following an email from Apple about inclusion in the firm’s upcoming News application and the kind of conditions that will be imposed. The email said that participants are presumed to have accepted Apple’s terms unless they explicitly opt out. It’s the old opt-out over opt-in thing.
Yes, up in arms. I can see the publishers at the New York Athletic Club wielding their squash rackets with malice. My goodness, what a chilling thought. What if those white clad clubsters were to descend on the Apple store in Manhattan and threaten the geniuses?
My fears subsided when I read:
The service will draw content from publicly available RSS feeds, and it is possible that Apple will be challenged, according to one expert, but not in any really meaningful way.
My concern for a Squash Assault receded. Publishers may have to retire to the Yacht Club to find another option.
Stephen E Arnold, June 22, 2015
June 18, 2015
Forget the mom and pop app. A couple of big outfits are going to select and present information you will consume. Choice? Well, for those who are [a] busy, [b] unable to read, and [c] those with short attention spans—your life is going to be just peachy.
The first rumble comes from lovable Apple. Navigate to “Apple Inc. To Hire Journalists For Curated Content On News App.” I highlighted this passage:
Apple’s decision to hire journalists is the latest example of fusion between news media and tech companies. In the last few years, many social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, have hired editors and reporters from high profile news media, such as NBC and News Corp. Recently, Snapchat also hired reporters from CNN, and The Verge, a tech site.
The article reminded me that Facebook is ambling down a content path as well.
The next it is that the recruiting tool LinkedIn is going to use humans to “tailor news.” The details, which I assume are spot are, appear in “LinkedIn Brings Back Human Editors to Tailor News to You.” I circled this statement:
But to compete with these other products, Kothari knows that Pulse must offer something different. It’s the “world’s first personalized business news digest,” he says. More importantly, perhaps, LinkedIn’s Pulse is bringing back human editors, not just algorithms, to tailor the news you see to what it already knows about you. And yet it may not be alone—Apple is reportedly planning to curate news with the help of humans, too.
Also, the GOOG, already armed with APIs and the warm and fuzzy news service is taking another baby step into content as well. The story I printed out is called “A New Window into Our World with Real Time Trends.” Yep, just family because it is “our world.” Google says:
On the new google.com/trends, you’ll find a ranked, real-time list of trending stories that are gaining traction across Google. In addition to Search, we now look at trends from YouTube and Google News and combine them to better understand what topics and stories are trending across the web right now. The redesigned homepage is now available in 28 countries around the world, and we’ll continue to add more locations in the coming months.
What’s the impact of these digital Gutenberg twirls?
My initial reaction is that TheNeeds.com and similar services will be doing some talking with their investors. Whatever money these news recyclers have is probably not going to be enough to deal with the Apples, Facebooks, Googles, and LinkedIns of the world. Heck, LinkedIn may need more dough too.
Second, are there enough readers to allow each of these services to meet the expectations of the spreadsheet jockeys who project revenues? My hunch is that the answer is, “Nope.” More concentration ahead I opine.
And, third, what about the old line publishing companies which continue to pretend that their products and services are exactly what the market wants? More pain and not much gain I assume.
Exciting times for the digital Gutenbergs? Too bad my study Google: The Digital Gutenberg is out of print. If you are curious about this trend, let me know and I will spin up a PDF of that original study. Write email@example.com.
Stephen E Arnold, June 18, 2015
June 1, 2015
Short honk: I read this item: “Slashdot Burying Stories About Slashdot Media Owned SourceForge.” The idea is that publications have to have an editorial policy. In this article, it seems that one popular next generation news aggregator is making some interesting choices. According to the article,
If you’ve followed any tech news aggregator in the past week, you’ve probably seen the story about how SourceForge is taking over admin accounts for existing projects and injecting adware in installers for packages like GIMP. For anyone not following the story, SourceForge has a long history of adware laden installers, but they used to be opt-in. It appears that the process is now mandatory for many projects.
The write up concludes:
In that vein, it’s funny to see Slashdot (which is owned by the same company as SourceForge) also attempting to destroy their own brand. They’re the only major tech news aggregator which hasn’t had a story on this, and that’s because they’ve buried every story that someone submits. This has prompted people to start submitting comments about this on other stories.
If accurate, filtering happens at publications large and small. It even happens at Beyond Search. We don’t report some of the crazier assertions made by search and content processing companies. Example: a “new” search system that displays results at page thumbnails or “breakthroughs” in natural language processing. Sorry.
Stephen E Arnold, June 1, 2015
April 25, 2015
Need patent information? Lots of folks believed that making sense of the public documents available from the USPTO were the road to riches. Before I kicked back to enjoy the sylvan life in rural Kentucky, I did some work on Fancy Dan patent systems. There was a brush with the IBM Intelligent Patent Miner system. For those who do not recall their search history, you can find a chunk of information in “Information Mining with the IBM Intelligent Miner Family.” Keep in mind that the write up is about 20 years old. (Please, notice that the LexisNexis system discussed below uses many of the same, time worn techniques.)
Patented dog coat.
Then there was the Manning & Napier “smart” patent analysis system with analyses’ output displayed in three-D visualizations. I bumped into Derwent (now Intellectual Property & Science) and other Thomson Corp. solutions as well. And, of course, there was may work for an unnamed, mostly clueless multi billion dollar outfit related to Google’s patent documents. I summarized the results of this analysis in my Google Version 2.0 monograph, portions of which were published by BearStearns before it met its thrilling end seven years ago. (Was my boss the fellow carrying a box out of the Midtown BearStearns’ building?)
Why the history?
Well, patents are expensive to litigate. For some companies, intellectual property is a revenue stream.
There is a knot in the headphone cable. Law firms are not the go go business they were 15 or 20 years ago. Law school grads are running gyms; some are Uber drivers. Like many modern post Reagan businesses, concentration is the name of the game. For the big firms with the big buck clients, money is no object.
The problem in the legal information business is that smaller shops, including the one and two person outfits operating in Dixie Highway type of real estate do not want to pay for the $200 and up per search commercial online services charge. Even when I was working for some high rollers, the notion of a five or six figure online charge elicited what I would diplomatically describe as gentle push back.
I read “LexisNexis TotalPatent Keeps Patent Research out of the Black Box with Improved Version of Semantic Search.” For those out of touch with online history, I worked for a company in the 1980s which provided commercial databases to LexisNexis. I knew one of the founders (Don Wilson). I even had reasonably functional working relationships with Dan Prickett and people named “Jim” and “Sharon.” In one bizarre incident, a big wheel from LexisNexis wanted to meet with me in the Cherry Hill Mall’s parking lot across from the old Bell Labs’ facility where I was a consultant at the time. Err, no thanks. I was okay with the wonky environs of Bell Labs. I was not okay with the lash up of a Dutch and British company.
Snippet of code from a Ramanathan Guha invention. Guha used to be at IBM Almaden and he is a bright fellow. See US7593939 B2.
What does LexisNexis TotalPatent deliver for a fee? According to the write up:
TotalPatent, a web-based patent research, retrieval and analysis solution powered by the world’s biggest assortment of searchable full-text and bibliographic patent authorities, allows researchers to enter as much as 32,000 characters (comparable to more than 10 pages of text)—much over along a whole patent abstract—into its search industry. The newly enhanced semantic brains, pioneered by LexisNexis during 2009 and continually improved upon utilizing contextual information supplied by the useful patent data offered to the machine, current results in the form of a user-adjustable term cloud, where the weighting and positioning of terms may be managed for lots more precise results. And countless full-text patent documents, TotalPatent in addition utilizes systematic, technical also non-patent literature to go back the deepest, most comprehensive serp’s.
March 29, 2015
Let me be clear. I am not a Facebook user. One of the goslings configured the Beyond Search blog to send content to a Facebook page. I, however, do not need a stream of information about my high school and college classmates. At my last reunion, the 50th, I saw only two mobile phones: My wife’s and mine. Obviously central Illinois is not a technology hot spot for the over 70 set.
I read “Many, Many Facebook Users Still Don’t Know That Their News Fees Are Filtered by an Algorithm.” Big whoop. Most of the MBAs I know are clueless about Google’s personalization functions and don’t have much appetite for understanding that what you see may not be what is available. For these cohorts, a little learning is just fine. Drinking from a spring is okay as long as the water comes from an authentic source like Dasani. Isn’t that Coca Cola’s outfit?
The write up reveals what strikes me as a no brainer type factoid:
But a majority of everyday Facebook users in a recent study had no idea that Facebook constructs their experience, pushing certain posts into their stream and leaving others out. And worse, many participants blamed themselves, not Facebook’s software, when friends or family disappeared from their news feeds.
The article reports:
While some participants were upset by the idea that Facebook was changing their social experience, more than half of the study participants “came to appreciate the algorithm over the course of the study.” Most came to think that the filtering and ranking software was actually doing a decent job. “Honestly I have nothing to change which I’m surprised!” one said. “Because I came in like ‘Ah, they’re screwing it all!’”
Sigh. Is there a remedy for this lack of understanding? Nope.
Do most online “experts” care? Nah, but some of them charge windmills with their iPad Airs as a shield.
The reality is that a comprehensive understanding of a particular content domain requires good, old fashioned research. The idea is to read, talk to informed individuals, gather additional primary data, analyze what you collect, and then figure out who knows what about a topic.
We are doing this type of grunt work about one facet of the Dark Web. Early results are in. Most of the people writing about the Dark Web are not doing a particularly good job of explaining where the “dark” content lives, how to find it, or what the content reveals about a fundamental shift in online usage for a small but important and interesting group of users worldwide.
If one cannot understand what Facebook is doing, the Dark Web is of zero consequence. If a Google user accepts search results as objective, I am not sure there is much hope for remedial intervention.
Net net: At a time when ease, convenience, short cuts, and distractions are of primary importance, thinking about information is not of much interest to many people.
“Hey, after the NCAA games, let’s binge watch Breaking Bad. We can post our comments on Facebook too!”
Sound fun? Oh, wait. I have to take this call, send an SMS, and post a picture of our pizza to Facebook. Cool.
Stephen E Arnold, March 29, 2015