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Google Chestnuts: Page as Shakespeare

February 3, 2016

I read “20 Inspirational Larry Page Quotes.” I need to be inspired. A company based on GoTo/Overture “inspiration” is equipped to offer guidance and maybe hope.

Alphabet, the new name for Google which still exists, embraces Loon balloons, the challenge of “solving death,” and the UK tax dust up. Each of these is, in its own way, inspirational.

Here are three quotes which soon may appear on motivational posters store front.

On Alphabet Google’s work (which includes selling ads): “I do think there is an important artistic component in what we do. As a technology company I’ve tried to really stress that.”

On anti trust and collusion among competitors regulations: ““Big companies have always needed and cooperated in areas where it made sense.”

On corporate governance and management oversight: “We don’t have as many managers as we should, but we would rather have too few than too many.”

Words to live by.

Stephen E Arnold, February 3, 2016

Quote to Note: Smart Software

December 26, 2015

I read “Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen on Technology in 2016.” The write up recycles the Google ideas which will keep the firm’s revenues pumping along. Tucked into the rah rah for smart software was a quote I circled as particularly interesting. Keep in mind that the statement comes from a firm in the online advertising business with some wild and crazy ideas tossed into its mix of products and services. Here’s the statement:

Those who design AI should establish best practices to avoid undesirable outcomes.

Two questions crossed my mind: What’s “undesirable” and what’s “outcomes”? With folks driving into Google cars and the somewhat interesting “solve death” activities, the comments about the future are interesting.

Stephen E Arnold, December 26, 2015

Quote to Note: Axil Springer

December 25, 2015

I read “A Giant in Print Reboots.” (If the link does not resolve, snag a copy of the dead tree edition of the New York Times for December 21, 2015. Navigate to page B 1.) Like other “print publishers embrace the digital revolution” articles, the “giant” Axil Springer is really going to go a new direction. I noted this morning that about 25 years ago, the consumerist Internet began.

Axil Springer owns a chunk of the Web search engine which keeps a senior Alphabet Google executive awake at night. You know this search system, don’t you, gentle reader? You use everyday, don’t you?

Tucked in the article is a quote to note. I circled:

I would not exclude that in 10 years’ time our company could be 100 percent digital in terms of revenue and 80 or even 90 percent international.–Mathias Döpfner, Axel Springer CEO

Pushing out the transformation to 2026 lines up with the time horizons on which some print publishers operate. My view is that a decade is a long time in today’s somewhat volatile business environment.

Stephen E Arnold, December 25, 2015

Quote to Note: Wolfram on Artificial Intelligence

November 28, 2015

There’s a long interview with Stephen Wolfram in “Interview with Stephen Wolfram on AI and the Future,” which I found when pruning my archives. Here’s one of the quotes I noted:

Recently, computers, and GPUs, and all that kind of thing became fast enough that, really—there are a bunch of engineering tricks that have been invented, and they’re very clever, and very nice, and very impressive, but fundamentally, the approach is 50 years old, of being able to just take one of these neural network–like systems, and just show it a whole bunch of examples and have it gradually learn distinctions between examples, and get to the point where it can, for example, recognize different kinds of objects and images.

Hmm. Half a century. Progress comes from faster chips and clever implementations of well known methods. Interesting.

Enterprise search is also old. Improvements have been slow and seem to be lagging behind other fields. Is it the vendors or is the nature of the problem? The self appointed experts, failed webmasters, and former middle school teachers now working as taxonomy experts are pitching governance, semantics, and assorted packets of artificial butter.

Stephen E Arnold, November 28, 2015

Quote to Note: Axil Springer on Planning

November 5, 2015

Here’s a delicious statement attributed to Mathias Doepfner, an Axil Springer big gun. For context, remember that Axil Springer bought the Financial Times for something north of $1.3 billion. Now the quote:

“A takeover of this size … is neither planned nor foreseeable.”

Maybe an impulse buy like Google’s purchase of Motorola? I assume that Volkswagen did not plan or foresee the consequences of its emission control software behavior. German management approaches certain decisions in an interesting way: Neither planned nor foreseeable.

Stephen E Arnold, November 5, 2015

Algorithmic Transparency: Are You Concerned Too?

October 24, 2015

I read “FTC Chair Edith Ramirez Outlines Concerns about Big Data.” The write up contained a stunning quote to note; to wit:

The agency is concerned about “algorithmic transparency,” she said, and how “algorithms can be manipulated.”

Wong asked about connected health devices. “We are very concerned about this,” Ramirez said, adding: There is this flow of health information that is happening outside of the regulatory space. We want to make sure that very sensitive information is being protected.

Interesting. Will vendors reveal what their numerical recipes are doing? A better question: If the vendors revealed their algorithms, would most people know what the algorithms were doing? Asking for transparency and understanding are, in my opinion, two different activities.

Stephen E Arnold, October 24, 2015

Quote to Note: Google Friction in Happy Ad Land

September 9, 2015

Tucked into the business section of the September 7, 2015 New York Times was a story with the not too SEO friendly title “Competitors Say Google Is Slowing App Installation.” The write up is not indexed in Google News. I just checked.

The short item talks about mobile ads for apps. The article recycles a Google blog post which  talks about penalizing “please, install our app” ads. Yikes. Penalties.

But for me the important item in the article was this quote, attributed to a Xoogler named Mike Dudas. He said:

This seems like a really strong move in deterring people from installing apps.

Ah, freedom. I too enjoy the smell of napalm in the morning. Wait. I have a question? Who is the enemy? Android centric developers? Do I hear the thump thump of choppers?

Stephen E Arnold, September 9, 2015

Quote to Note: What Alphabet Spells

August 16, 2015

I read “News Corp’s CEO Bizarre Obsession With Made Up Lies About Google.” I am fascinated with “real” journalists approach to information. Here’s the passage I noted:

That Google’s newly conceived parent company is to be called Alphabet has itself created a range of delicious permutations: A is for Avarice, B is for Bowdlerize, through to K for Kleptocracy, P for Piracy and Z for Zealotry.

The Alphabet Google is making news without the fancy words. I am not sure what kleptocracy means. More interesting to me was this item, which I assume is true: “Google Skirted Drone Test Rules by Using a Deal with NASA.” Google’s approach seems more efficient than other firms’ methods.

I do like that kleptocracy thing, however.

Stephen E Arnold, August 16, 2015

Quote to Note: How to Make Search Relevant

May 16, 2015

Short honk: I read “Intranet Search? Sssh! Don’t Speak of It.” It seems that enterprise search is struggling and sweeping generalizations about information governance and knowledge management are not helping the situation. But that’s just my opinion.

But set that “issue” aside. Here’s the quote I noted:

The only way this situation [search is a problem’] will change is with intranet managers stepping up to the challenge and telling stories internally. The problem with search analytics (even if you do everything that Lou Rosenfeld [search wizard] recommends) is that there is no direct evidence of the day-to-day impact of search.

Will accountants respond to search stories? Why is there no direct evident of the day to day impact of search? Perhaps search, along with some other hoo hah endeavors, is simply not relevant in today’s business environment? Won’t more hyperbole filled marketing solve the problem? Another conference?

The wet blanket on enterprise search remains “there is no direct evidence of the day to day impact of search.” After 30 or 40 years of implementations and hundreds of millions in search development, why not? Er, what about this thought:

Search is a low value utility which has been over hyped.

Stephen E Arnold, May 17, 2015

Quote to Note: Putting LA Sports News in the NY Times

April 16, 2015

Here’s a keeper for my quotes to note folder. The source is the New York Times, April 16, 2015, page 8 in the business section (where else?). The article has the Google index friendly title: “Challenge to Google. Innovation May Undercut Case. As in Microsoft v. Europe, Innovation May Undercut Case.” Beefy. [If the headline disappears along with the story, speak to someone other than me. You may be able to purchase a dead tree version of the newspaper if you live in an area where distribution makes it available.]

Here’s the quote attributed to the astute Warren Buffer of search engine optimization expert, Daniel (Danny) Sullivan:

You don’t expect the New York Times to carry a rival sports section. But you do expect it to have a sports section. When people go to a search engine, they’re looking to search across everything.”

An interesting generalization. I am not sure most people “go to Google.” Most people use what ever system is baked into their “user experience.” But that’s less important than the suggestion that the “you” is what I do. Nope. I also noted the “everything.” I find that suggestion of comprehensiveness amusing. Not as chuckle worthy as IBM Watson’s smart software writing recipes, but it is right up there in the search Top 100 silly generalizations.

The quote also brushes against a larger question, a question ignored by the New York Times; to wit:

Why is ripping off the LA Times’ sports section egregious and taking other outfits’ digital facts sort of okay?

I think the answer resides in the little appreciated patents issued to Ramanathan Guha and Alon Halevy, both smart people and both Googlers when each did quite prescient work. If you are not familiar with the notion of building a comprehensive global knowledge base populated by nifty Georgia Tech T shirt wearing software agents, you are missing some useful color on Google’s assumptions, systems, and methods.

But, hey, who really cares about the global knowledge base thing, the notion of dataspaces, and Guha’s vision of applied semantic technologies in his quick slick architecture of smart software?

The Guha Halevy work is important in my opinion. More than generalizations will be needed for experts and legal eagles to figure out that the Google processes have been humming away for many, many years. Still few outside of Google understand what’s up?

Roll out the generalizations. Google will have a barrel of fun. Ignore penetrating questions. Google will rake in the dough.

Stephen E Arnold, April 16, 2015

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