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Yandex Takes on Google with Anticompetitive Business Practices

November 30, 2015

Google is the dominate search engine in North America, South America, and Europe.  When it comes to Asia, however, Google faces stiff competition with Yahoo in Japan and Yandex in Russia.  Yandex has been able to hold a firm market share and remains stuff competition for Google.  Reuters says that “Russia’s Yandex Says Complained To EU Over Google’s Android” pointing to how Yandex might be able to one up its competition.

According to the article, Russia has petitioned the European Commission to investigate Google’s practices related to the Android mobile OS.  Yandex has been trying for a long time to dislodge Google’s attempts to gain a stronger market share in Europe and Asia.

“The new complaint could strengthen the case against Google, possibly giving enough ammunition to EU antitrust regulators to eventually charge the company with anti-competitive business practices, on top of accusations related to its Google Shopping service. The formal request was filed in April 2015 and largely mirrors the Russian company’s claims against the U.S. company in a Russian anti-monopoly case that Yandex won.”

The Russian competition watchdog discovered that Google is trying to gain an unfair advantage in the European and Asian search markets.  Yandex is one of the few companies who voices its dislike of Google along with Disconnect, Aptoide, and the FairSearch lobbying group.  Yandex wants the European Commission to restore balance to the market, so that fair competition can return.  Yandex is especially in favor of having mobile device users be able to select their search engine of choice, rather than having one preprogrammed into the OS.

It is interesting to view how competitive business practices take place over seas.  Usually in the United States whoever has the deepest pockets achieves market dominance, but the European Union is proving to uphold a fairer race for search dominance.  Even more interesting is that Google is complaining Yandex is trying to maintain its domiance with these complaints.

Whitney Grace, November 30, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Alphabet Google Misspells Relevance, Yikes, Yelp?

November 25, 2015

I read “Google Says Local Search Result That Buried Rivals Yelp, Trip Advisor Is Just a Bug.” I thought the relevance, precision, and objectivity issues had been put into a mummy style sleeping bag and put in the deep freeze.

According to the write up:

executives from public Internet companies Yelp and TripAdvisor noted a disturbing trend: Google searches on smartphones for their businesses had suddenly buried their results beneath Google’s own. It looked like a flagrant reversal of Google’s stated position on search, and a move to edge out rivals.

The article contains this statement attributed to the big dog at Yelp:

Far from a glitch, this is a pattern of behavior by Google.

I don’t have a dog in this fight nor am I looking for a dog friendly hotel or a really great restaurant in Rooster Run, Kentucky.

My own experience running queries on Google is okay. Of course, I have the goslings, several of whom are real live expert searchers with library degrees and one has a couple of well received books to her credit. Oh, I forgot. We also have a pipeline to a couple of high profile library schools, and I have a Rolodex with the names and numbers of research professionals who have pretty good search skills.

So maybe my experience with Google is different from the folks who are not able to work around what the Yelp top dog calls, according to the article, “Google’s monopoly.”

My thought is that those looking for free search results need to understand how oddities like relevance, precision, and objectivity are defined at the Alphabet Google thing.

Google even published a chunky manual to help Web masters, who may have been failed middle school teachers in a previous job, do things the Alphabet Google way. You can find that rules of the Google information highway here.

The Google relevance, precision, and objectivity thing has many moving parts. Glitches are possible. Do Googlers make errors? In my experience, not too many. Well, maybe solving death, Glass, and finding like minded folks in the European Union regulators’ office.

My suggestion? Think about other ways to obtain information. When a former Gannet sci tech reporter could not find Cuba Libre restaurant in DC on his Apple phone, there was an option. I took him there even though the eatery was not in the Google mobile search results. Cuba Libre is not too far from the Alphabet Google DC office. No problem.

Stephen E Arnold, November 25, 2015

Latest Global Internet Report Available

October 30, 2015

The Internet Society has made available its “Global Internet Report 2015,” just the second in its series. World-wide champions of a free and open Internet, the society examines mobile Internet usage patterns around the globe. The report’s Introduction explains:

“We focus this year’s report on the mobile Internet for two reasons. First, as with mobile telephony, the mobile Internet does not just liberate us from the constraints of a wired connection, but it offers hundreds of millions around the world their only, or primary, means of accessing the Internet. Second, the mobile Internet does not just extend the reach of the Internet as used on fixed connections, but it offers new functionality in combination with new portable access devices.”

It continues with this important warning:

“The nature of the Internet should remain collaborative and inclusive, regardless of changing means of access. In particular, the mobile Internet should remain open, to enable the permission-less innovation that has driven the continuous growth and evolution of the Internet to date, including the emergence of the mobile Internet itself.”

Through the report’s landing page, above, you can navigate to the above-cited Introduction, the report’s Executive Summary, and Section 2: Trends and Growth. There is even an interactive mobile Internet timeline. Scroll to the bottom to download the full report, in PDF, Kindle, or ePub formats. The download is free, but those interested can donate to the organization here.

Cynthia Murrell, October 30, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

CSI Search Informatics Are Actually Real

October 29, 2015

CSI might stand for a popular TV franchise, but it also stands for “compound structured identification” explains in “Bioinformaticians Make The Most Efficient Search Engine For Molecular Structures Available Online.” Sebastian Böcker and his team at the Friedrich Schiller University are researching metabolites, chemical compounds that determine an organism’s metabolism.  Metabolites are used to gauge information about the condition of living cells.

While this is amazing science there are some drawbacks:

“This process is highly complex and seldom leads to conclusive results. However, the work of scientists all over the world who are engaged in this kind of fundamental research has now been made much easier: The bioinformatics team led by Prof. Böcker in Jena, together with their collaborators from the Aalto-University in Espoo, Finland, have developed a search engine that significantly simplifies the identification of molecular structures of metabolites.”

The new search works like a regular search engine, but instead of using keywords it searches through molecular structure databases containing information and structural formulae of metabolites.  The new search will reduce time in identifying the compound structures, saving on costs and time.  The hope is that the new search will further research into metabolites and help researchers spend more time working on possible breakthroughs.

Whitney Grace, October 29, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

The PurePower Geared Turbofan Little Engine That Could

October 29, 2015

The article on Bloomberg Business titled The Little Gear That Could Reshape the Jet Engine conveys the 30 year history of Pratt & Whitney’s new PurePower Geared Turbofan aircraft engines. These are impressive machines, they burn less fuel, pollute less, and produce 75% less noise. But thirty years in the making? The article explains,

“In Pratt’s case, it required the cooperation of hundreds of engineers across the company, a $10 billion investment commitment from management, and, above all, the buy-in of aircraft makers and airlines, which had to be convinced that the engine would be both safe and durable. “It’s the antithesis of a Silicon Valley innovation,” says Alan Epstein, a retired MIT professor who is the company’s vice president for technology and the environment. “The Silicon Valley guys seem to have the attention span of 3-year-olds.”

It is difficult to imagine what, if anything, “Silicon Valley guys” might develop if they spent three decades researching, collaborating, and testing a single project. Even more so because of the planned obsalesence of their typical products seeming to speed up every year. In the case of this engine, the article suggests that the time spent has positives and negatives for the company- certain opportunities with big clients were lost along the way, but the dedicated effort also attracted new clients.

Chelsea Kerwin, October 29, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Algorithmic Bias and the Unintentional Discrimination in the Results

October 21, 2015

The article titled When Big Data Becomes Bad Data on Tech In America discusses the legal ramifications of relying on algorithms for companies. The “disparate impact” theory has been used in the courtroom for some time to ensure that discriminatory policies be struck down whether they were created with the intention to discriminate or not. Algorithmic bias occurs all the time, and according to the spirit of the law, it discriminates although unintentionally. The article states,

“It’s troubling enough when Flickr’s auto-tagging of online photos label pictures of black men as “animal” or “ape,” or when researchers determine that Google search results for black-sounding names are more likely to be accompanied by ads about criminal activity than search results for white-sounding names. But what about when big data is used to determine a person’s credit score, ability to get hired, or even the length of a prison sentence?”

The article also reminds us that data can often be a reflection of “historical or institutional discrimination.” The only thing that matters is whether the results are biased. This is where the question of human bias becomes irrelevant. There are legal scholars and researchers arguing on behalf of ethical machine learning design that roots out algorithmic bias. Stronger regulations and better oversight of the algorithms themselves might be the only way to prevent time in court.

Chelsea Kerwin, October 21, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Lexmark, a Printer Supply Company, Receives Hold Rating from Analysts

October 20, 2015

The article on Dakota Financial News titled Lexmark International Given Average Recommendation of “Hold” by Brokerages (NYSE: LXK) piles on the bad news for Lexmark, a company best known for its printer supply services. It is a tough time to be in the printing business, and Lexmark has received numerous analyst ratings of “Hold” and “Sell.” The article details the trend,

“Lexmark International (NYSE:LXK) traded down 0.59% during trading on Wednesday, hitting $28.59. The company had a trading volume of 259,296 shares. Lexmark International has a one year low of $27.22 and a one year high of $47.69. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $30.27 and a 200 day moving average of $39.70. The company’s market capitalization is $1.76 billion…The company reported $0.97 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.85 by $0.12. “

Certainly not a vote of confidence in Lexmark, which owns both Brainware and ISYS Search Software. The article goes into some detail about the companies other work beyond printer supplies including enterprise content and process management software and healthcare archive with integration abilities for unstructured patient information. Perhaps these extras are saving the company from falling entirely into the “sell” category and maintaining at “Hold.”

Chelsea Kerwin, October 20, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


The Tweet Gross Domestic Product Tool

October 16, 2015

Twitter can be used to figure out your personal income.  Twitter was not designed to be a tool to tally a person’s financial wealth, instead it is a communication tool based on a one hundred forty character messages to generate for small, concise delivery.  Twitter can be used to chat with friends, stars, business executives, etc, follow news trends, and even advertise products by sent to a tailored audience.  According to Red Orbit in the article “People Can Guess Your Income Based On Your Tweets,” Twitter has another application.

Other research done on Twitter has revealed that your age, location, political preferences, and disposition to insomnia, but your tweet history also reveals your income.  Apparently, if you tweet less, you make more money.  The controls and variables for the experiment were discussed, including that 5,191 Twitter accounts with over ten million tweets were analyzed and accounts with a user’s identifiable profession were used.

Users with a high follower and following ratio had the most income and they tended to post the least.  Posting throughout the day and cursing indicated a user with a lower income.  The content of tweets also displayed a plethora of “wealth” information:

“It isn’t just the topics of your tweets that’s giving you away either. Researchers found that “users with higher income post less emotional (positive and negative) but more neutral content, exhibiting more anger and fear, but less surprise, sadness and disgust.” It was also apparent that those who swore more frequently in their tweets had lower income.”

Twitter uses the information to tailor ads for users, if you share neutral posts get targeted ads advertising expensive items, while the cursers get less expensive ad campaigns.  The study also proves that it is important to monitor your Twitter profile, so you are posting the best side of yourself rather than shooting yourself in the foot.

Whitney Grace, October 16, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Predictive Search Tries to Work with Videos

October 14, 2015

Predictive search is a common feature in search engines such as Google.  It is more well-known as auto-complete, where based on spelling and keyword content the search engine predicts what a user is searching for.  Predictive search speeds up the act of searching, but ever since YouTube became the second biggest search engine after Google one has to wonder if “Does Video Enhance Predictive Search?” asks Search Engine Watch.

Search engine and publisher of travel deals Travelzoo created a video series called “#zootips” that was designed to answer travel questions people might search for on Google.  The idea behind the video series was that the videos would act as a type of predictive feature anticipating a traveler’s needs.

“‘There’s always push and pull with information,’ says Justin Soffer, vice president of marketing at Travelzoo. ‘A lot of what search is, is people pulling – meaning they’re looking for something specific. What videos are doing is more of a push, telling people what to look for and showing them things.’ ”

Along with Travelzoo, representatives from SEO-PR and Imagination Publishing also agree that video will enhance video search.  Travelzoo says that video makes Web content more personal, because an actual person is delivering it.  SEO-PR recommends researching keywords with Google Trends and creating videos centered on those words.  Imagination Publishing believes that video content will increase a Web site’s Google ranking as it ranks media rich pages higher and there is an increase in voice search and demand for how-to videos.

It is predicted that YouTube’s demand as a search engine will increase more content will be created for video.  If you understand how video and predictive analytics work, you will have an edge in future Google rankings.

Whitney Grace, October 14, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

New Search System for Comparing Companies

September 22, 2015

There is a new tool out to help companies compile information on their competitors: RivalSeek. This brainchild of entrepreneur Richard Brevig seeks to combat an issue he encountered when he turned to Google while researching the market for a different project: Google’s “personalized search” filters

keep users from viewing the whole landscape of any particular field. Frustration led Brevig to develop some tools of his own, which he realized might appeal to others. The site’s homepage explains simply:

“Find your competitors that Google can’t. RivalSeek’s competitor search engine looks past filter bubbles, finding competitors you’ve never heard of.”

More information can be found in Brevig’s brief introductory video on YouTube. There’s also this “quick demo,” which can be found on YouTube or playing quietly on RivalSeek’s home page. While the tool is still in Beta, Brevig is confident enough in its usefulness to charge $29 a month for access. You can find an example success story, for the Dollar Shave Club, at the company’s blog.

This is a great idea. While Google’s filter bubbles can be convenient, it is clear that confirmation bias is not their only hazard. Perhaps Brevig would be interested in expanding this tool into other areas, like science, literature, or sociology. Just a suggestion.

Cynthia Murrell, September 22, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


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