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The Evolution of SharePoint Online Collaboration

April 14, 2015

SharePoint Online is quickly playing catch up to the on-premises version, but the fact that they weren’t identical from the start is still perplexing. Tech Target explores the topic further in their article, “Following the SharePoint Online Collaboration Evolution.”

The article sums up the current situation:

“To an outsider, it would appear that SharePoint would have been the perfect one-to-one on-premises and cloud server option, considering it’s a Web-based option. However, it’s more complex than a move in data center location that’s local to Microsoft. And in terms of development, much of the effort has gone into the option that will drive the migration to Office 365 and the revenue from such a move, which is Exchange Online.”

Hybrid enablement is one area that SharePoint 2016 watchers are keeping a close eye on, as part of an overall focus on bringing more Office 365 experiences to on-premises customers. On the other side of the coin, certain online features are being strengthened by their reliance on SharePoint on-site under the hood. Look for Delva, Office 365, and OneDrive for Business among others. Overall, the future of SharePoint is exciting but still coming into focus. Keep an eye on ArnoldIT.com, a Web service run by a longtime search expert Stephen E. Arnold. His SharePoint feed will make additional SharePoint news accessible as it becomes available.

Emily Rae Aldridge, April 14, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Progress in Image Search Tech

April 8, 2015

Anyone interested in the mechanics behind image search should check out the description of PicSeer: Search Into Images from YangSky. The product write-up goes into surprising detail about what sets their “cognitive & semantic image search engine” apart, complete with comparative illustrations. The page’s translation seems to have been done either quickly or by machine, but don’t let the awkward wording in places put you off; there’s good information here. The text describes the competition’s approach:

“Today, the image searching experiences of all major commercial image search engines are embarrassing. This is because these image search engines are

  1. Using non-image correlations such as the image file names and the texts in the vicinity of the images to guess what are the images all about;
  2. Using low-level features, such as colors, textures and primary shapes, of image to make content-based indexing/retrievals.”

With the first approach, they note, trying to narrow the search terms is inefficient because the software is looking at metadata instead of inspecting the actual image; any narrowed search excludes many relevant entries. The second approach above simply does not consider enough information about images to return the most relevant, and only most relevant, results. The write-up goes on to explain what makes their product different, using for their example an endearing image of a smiling young boy:

“How can PicSeer have this kind of understanding towards images? The Physical Linguistic Vision Technologies have can represent cognitive features into nouns and verbs called computational nouns and computational verbs, respectively. In this case, the image of the boy is represented as a computational noun ‘boy’ and the facial expression of the boy is represented by a computational verb ‘smile’. All these steps are done by the computer itself automatically.”

See the write-up for many more details, including examples of how Google handles the “boy smiles” query. (Be warned– there’s a very brief section about porn filtering that includes a couple censored screenshots and adult keyword examples.) It looks like image search technology progressing apace.

Cynthia Murrell, April 08, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

A Kettle of Search Fish

April 6, 2015

We have hear a lot about the semantic Web and search engine optimization (SEO), but both have the common thread of making information more accessible and increasing its use.  One would think this would be the same kettle of fish, but sometimes it is hard to make SEO and the semantic Web work together for platonic web experience.  On Slideshare.net, Eric Franzon’s “SEO Meets Semantic Web-Saint Patrick’s Day 2015-Meetup” tries to consolidate the two into one happy fish taco.  The presentation tries to explain how the two work together, but here is the official description:

“Schema.org didn’t just appear out of thin air in 2011. It was built upon a foundation of web standards and technologies that have been in development for decades. In this presentation, Eric Franzon, Managing Partner of SemanticFuse provides an introduction to Semantic Web standards such as RDF and SPARQL. He explores who’s using them today and why (hint: it involves money), and takes a look at how Semantic Web, Linked Data, and schema.org are related.”

The problem with the presentation is that we do not have the audio to accompany it, but by flipping through the slides we can understand the general idea.  The semantic Web is full of relationships that are connected by ideas and require coding and other fancy stuff to make it one big kettle.  In fact, this appears to have too much of the semantic Web flavor and not enough of the SEO spice.  One is a catfish for fine meal and the other is a fish fry without the oil.

Whitney Grace, April 6, 2015
Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Mistakes to Avoid When Migrating to Office 365

April 2, 2015

Sadly, many migrations are considered failures by the organization and users, even if all the content survives. Why is this the case? Well, user experience usually suffers greatly. Redmond Magazine offers more insight and advice in their article, “5 Mistakes To Avoid When Migrating from SharePoint to Office 365.”

The article starts with a mention of the upcoming SharePoint 2016 release, and the every evolving Office 365 before stating:

“The question for many organizations isn’t whether to stay with SharePoint — rather, IT managers are grappling with how to advance its use in the most strategic and cost-effective way possible. As organizations consider a myriad of options from Microsoft, it becomes essential to have not only a long-term strategic technology vision — but also a SharePoint migration and upgrade roadmap that’s big on efficiency and low on cost.“

It is easy to be shortsighted. And while planning is hard and cumbersome, having a long-term plan is one of the only ways to avoid some of the mistakes mentioned in the article.  Stephen E. Arnold is another resource to consider when planning. His Web site, ArnoldIT.com, is a top destination for the latest news in search, including SharePoint. His SharePoint feed provides a one-stop-shop for all the latest tips and tricks to assist your organization with their SharePoint planning.

Emily Rae Aldridge, April 2, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Duck Duck Jumbawumba?

March 18, 2015

Usually if you want a private search, free of targeted ads you head on over to DuckDuckGo.com. While DuckDuckGo holds its on against bigger search engines, because it is the nice guy of search, no one has really come out to challenge water fowl. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a story about another private-based search engine: “Hampton Entrepreneur Seeks To Launch Privacy-Friendly Search Engine,” but you cannot so much as call it a DuckDuckGo rival as another option.

Michael DeKort launched a $125,000 Kickstarter campaign to fund Jumbawumba, a search engine that uses Google’s prowess while retaining a user’s privacy. It also would create cohesive search results using video, images, news, and Web sites on one page, instead of four.

How does it work?

“Jumbawumba taps Google’s vast reach. To Google’s eyes, though, the queries come from Jumbawumba, not from the originating computer, Mr. DeKort said. And while Google, Bing and Yahoo! keep records of each computer’s searches, and use them to tailor advertising, Jumbawumba pledges not to store any data on one-time searches. (It would keep records of ongoing search queries, but wouldn’t sell them to marketing firms, Mr. DeKort said.) Jumbawumba’s computer server will ultimately be overseas, limiting government access, though the company would respect law enforcement subpoenas.”

While private search engines like Jumbawumba will probably never be able to compete with Google, it is good to know that Michael DeKort are fighting to protect online privacy. The more the merrier for private search!

Whitney Grace, March 18, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Qwant Develops Qwant Junior, the Search Engine for Children

March 17, 2015

The article on Telecompaper titled Qwant Tests Child-Friendly Search Engine discusses the French companies work. Qwant is focused on targeting 3 to 13 year olds with Qwant Junior, in partnership with the Education Ministry. Twenty percent of the company is owned by digital publishing powerhouse Axel Springer. The child-friendly search engine will attempt to limit the access to inappropriate content while encouraging children to use the search engine to learn. The article explains,

“The new version blocks or lists very far down in search results websites that show violence and pornography, as well as e-commerce sites. The version features an education tab separately from the general web search that offers simplified access to educational programme, said co-founder Eric Leandri. Qwant Junior’s video tab offers child-appropriate videos from YouTube, Dailymotion and Vimeo. After tests with the ministry, the search engine will be tested by several hundred schools.”

Teaching youngsters the ways of the search engine is important in our present age. The concept of listing pornography “very far down” on the list of results might unsettle some parents of young teens smart enough to just keep scrolling, but it is France! Perhaps the expectation of blocking all unsavory material is simply untenable. Qwant is planning on a major launch by September, and is in talks with Brazil for a similar program.

Chelsea Kerwin, March 17, 2014

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Google and Objective Search Results

October 20, 2014

I recall that in one conference presentation in Boston about Google I attended, the Googler (Dave Girouard, now a Xoogler) emphasized the objectivity of Google search results. I have heard the objective claim from many quarters over the years.

I noted the PC Magazine story “Google ‘Fixes’ Stephen Colbert’s Height Listing.” Here’s the passage I noted:

While Google hasn’t exactly dropped a packet full of stock options off on Colbert’s doorstep, it has managed to address Google’s concerns about his height listing. First up, Colbert now appears as 5 foot 10.5 inches tall on Google’s search results when you query for “Stephen Colbert height.” If you prefer metric, his height is now listed as 1.79 meters… “-ish.”

From my hollow in Harrod’s Creek, this strikes me as an example of Google’s ability to modify search results quickly. I am not sure that the “objective” reference used by Mr. Girouard years ago applies today. If true, Google can intervene in the vaunted PageRank process and make results changes quickly and at will.

Are those claims of outfits like Foundem founded? Maybe, just maybe?

Stephen E Arnold, October 20, 2014

Google Hummingbird Flits In

September 27, 2013

Good news, according to many sources. Google has made changes to its ad-supported, Web search system. A representative write up is “Google Unveils Search Updates for Mobile, New Page Rank Algorithm, and Knowledge Graph Comparisons.”

What could be more useful? Google wants “to help users access information quicker, including new interfaces and features for its iOS and Android apps, along with better integration with the Knowledge Graph.”

Machine-generated comparisons and “knowledge graphs” may prove to be just what searchers like me need to obtain pinpoint results lists. Give the system a whirl. Search for “bwr pwr compare” or “compare pwr bwr” or “pwr versus bwr.” Check out the results. Oh, I guess this did not work. These are nuclear reactor types. Well, maybe in a few days.

When I search for topics like “fluidic self assembly of nanoparticles”, I checked out a knowledge graphs. Oh, I guess this did not work. To see without ads or a fee a “graph”, navigate to www.cluuz.com and try the query. Yes, better. Well, maybe in a short time Google will do the relationship thing in a way that helps me.

The write up asserts:

Google Senior Vice President and software engineer Amit Singhal took the stage afterwards to talk about the company’s future in search. Fifteen years ago, you had to go to a website on a “bulky computer”, turn it on, fire up the dial-up modem, and look up the information and wait for it to be returned. Over time, retrieving answers to questions became possible on the go with the evolution of mobile devices. Singhal says that in today’s age, we’re comfortable with finding information no matter where we are, whenever we want.

Maybe?

My take on “improvements” to Google search include these observations:

  1. I find it more difficult to locate information today than at any other time in my online experience.
  2. Results are no longer tied to precision and recall. Results may be hooked to agendas such as advertising revenue. Advertisers pay. The shift to mobile means that the dear Overture approach has to be tweaked. Precision and recall are tossed from the slowing revenue Camry for me.
  3. Users have zero idea about the accuracy, completeness, or provenance of most search system outputs. Sorry, but I want date and time stamps, information about index freshness, access to content across index silos, and content not distorted by the happy laborers at low cost SEO services.

I could go on, but I won’t. In my lecture at the ISS conference, I told a standing room only crowd, getting online information today in which one has confidence now requires real work. Queries must be passed against multiple search systems. Results lists must be examined carefully. Items of data must be assembled by a human into a coherent fabric. Few have an appetite for this work.

Look at the bright side. Google’s new system makes it easy to find out about Miley Cyrus, rental cars, and pizza. Useful, right?

Stephen E Arnold, September 27, 2013

Information Confusion: Search Gone South

January 26, 2013

I read “We Are Supposed to Be Truth Tellers.” I think the publication is owned by a large media firm. The point of the write up is that “real news” has a higher aspiration and may deal with facts with a smidgen of opinion.

I am not a journalist. I am a semi retired guy who lives in rural Kentucky. I am not a big fan of downloading and watching television programs. The idea that I would want to record multiple shows, skip commercials, and then feel smarter and more informed as a direct result of those activities baffles me.

Here’s what I understand:

A large company clamped down on a subsidiary’s giving a recording oriented outfit a prize for coming up with a product that allows the couch potato to skip commercials. The fallout from this corporate decision caused a journalist to quit and triggered some internal grousing.

The article addresses these issues, which I admit, are foreign to me. Here’s one of the passages which caught my attention:

CNET reporters need to either be resigning or be reporting this story, or both. On CNET. If someone higher up removes their content then they should republish it on their personal blogs. If they are then fired for that they should sue the company. And either way, other tech sites, including this one, would be more than happy to make them job offers.

I agree I suppose. But what baffles me are these questions:

  1. In today’s uncertain financial climate, does anyone expect senior management to do more than take steps to minimize risk, reduce costs, and try to keep their jobs? I don’t. The notion that senior management of a media company embraces the feel good methods of Whole Earth or the Dali Lama is out of whack with reality in my opinion.
  2. In the era of “weaponized information,” pay to play search traffic, and sponsored content from organizations like good old ArnoldIT—what is accurate. What is the reality? What is given spin? I find that when I run a query for “gourmet craft spirit” I get some darned interesting results. Try it. Who are these “gourmet craft spirit” people? Interesting stuff, but what’s news, what’s fact, and what’s marketing? If I cannot tell, how about the average Web surfer who lets online systems predict what the user needs before the user enters a query?
  3. At a time when those using online to find pizza and paradise, can users discern when a system is sending false content? More importantly, can today’s Fancy Dan intelligence systems from Palantir-likeand i2 Group-like discern “fake” information from “real” information? My experience is that with sufficient resources, these advanced systems can output results which are shaped by crafty humans. Not exactly what the licensees want or know about.

Net net: I am confused about the “facts” of any content object available today and skeptical of smart systems’ outputs. These can be, gentle reader, manipulated. I see articles in the Wall Street Journal which report on wire tapping. Interesting but did not the owner of the newspaper find itself tangled in a wire tapping legal matter? I read about industry trends from consulting firms who highlight the companies who pay to be given the high intensity beam and the rah rah assessments. Is this Big Data baloney sponsored content, a marketing trend, or just the next big thing to generate cash in a time of desperation. I see conference programs which feature firms who pay for platinum sponsorships and then get the keynote, a couple of panels, and a product talk. Heck, after one talk, I get the message about sentiment analysis. Do I need to hear from this sponsor four or five more times. Ah, “real” information? So what’s real?

In today’s digital world, there are many opportunities for humans to exercise self interest. The dust up over the CBS intervention is not surprising to me. The high profile resignation of a real journalist is a heck of a way to get visibility for “ethical” behavior. The subsequent buzz on the Internet, including this blog post, are part of the information game today.

Thank goodness I am sold and in a geographic location without running water, but I have an Internet connection. Such is progress. The ethics stuff, the assumptions of “real” journalists, and the notion of objective, fair information don’t cause much of stir around the wood burning stove at the local grocery.

“Weaponized information” has arrived in some observers’ consciousness. That is a step forward. That insight is coming after the train left the station. Blog posts may not be effective in getting the train to stop, back up, and let the late arrivals board.

Stephen E Arnold, January 26, 2013

Information Management Is Key to Intelligent Search

December 31, 2012

Searching for information within an enterprise is often not simple, or even fruitful. A recent survey from MindMetre gives us the disturbing truth that over half of knowledge workers admitted they cannot find the information they are looking for using their company’s enterprise search system. The facts are detailed in a white paper from KMWorld titled “Best Practices in Intelligent Search,” which argues that under-management of information, not information overload, is to blame.

An overture to this white paper, “What Are You Looking For? An Overture to ‘Intelligent Search,’” is featured on Enterprise Search Center. The overture states:

“We set out to discuss “enterprise search” and “intelligent search” in this White Paper. And that we shall. But let’s get something straight: Enterprise search is not what you think it is. It is not a single unified piece of software that can magically scour through the dozens of business applications that contain that piece of information our hypothetical guy was looking for. And, much less, it is not a single tool that can seek, discover and deliver an important piece of information from the hundreds and thousands of repositories from which it may emerge.”

This article and corresponding white paper offer a lot of wisdom on enterprise search facilities and Intrafind can be a great resource as organizations seek to make the best of their investments. High-quality research surrounding the capabilities and necessary features of search applications is a focal point of the information retrieval specialists.

Andrea Hayden, December 31, 2012

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

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