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Individualized Facebook Search

November 27, 2015

Facebook search is a puzzle.  If you want to find a specific post that you remember seeing on a person’s profile, you cannot find it unless it is posted to their timeline.  It is a consistent headache, especially if you become obsessed with finding that post.  Mashable alerts us to a new Facebook pilot program, “Facebook May Soon Let You Search Individual Profile Pages.”  Facebook’s new pilot program allows users to search for posts within a profile.

The new search feature is only available to pilot program participants.  Based on how the feedback, Facebook will evaluate the search function and announce a potential release date.

“Facebook says it’s a small pilot program going around the U.S. for iPhone and desktop and that users have requested an easier way to search for posts within a person’s profile. The feature is limited in nature and only showing up for a select group of people who are part of the pilot program. The social network will be evaluating feedback based on the pilot. No plans for an official rollout have been announced at this time.?”

The search feature shows up on user profiles as a basic search box with the description “search this profile” with the standard magnifying glass graphic.  It is a simple addition to a profile’s dashboard and it does not take up much space, but it does present a powerful tool.

Facebook is a social media platform that has ingrained itself into the function of business intelligence to regular socialization. As we rely more on it for daily functions, information needs to be easy to recall and access.  The profile search feature will probably be a standard Facebook dashboard function by 2016.

Whitney Grace, November 27, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Do Not Go Gently into That Dark Web

November 26, 2015

The article titled Don’t Toy With The Dark Web, Harness It on Infoworld’s DarkReading delves into some of the misconceptions about the Dark Web. The first point the article makes is that a great deal of threats to security occur on the surface web on such well-known sites as Reddit and  social media platforms like Instagram. Not only are these areas of the web easier to search without Tor or I2P, but they are often more relevant, particularly for certain industries and organizations. The article also points out the harm in even “poking around” the Dark Web,

“It can take considerable time, expertise and manual effort to glean useful information. More importantly, impromptu Dark Web reconnaissance can inadvertently expose an organization to greater security risks because of unknown malicious files that can infiltrate the corporate network. Additionally, several criminal forums on the Dark Web utilize a “vouching” system, similar to a private members club, that might require an investigator to commit a crime or at least stray into significantly unethical territory to gain access to the content.”

A novice could easily get into more trouble than they bargained for, especially when taking receipt of stolen goods is considered a felony. Leave the security work to professionals, and make sure the professionals you employ have checked out this Dark Web reading series.

Chelsea Kerwin, November 26, 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

Palantir Profile: Search Plus Add Ons

November 25, 2015

Short honk: If you read French, you will learn quite a bit about Palantir, an interesting company with a $20 billion valuation. The write up is “Palantir et la France : naissance d’une nouvelle théorie abracadabrantesque ? An listicle in the heart of the article provides a good run down of the system’s search and content processing capabilities. Yep, search. The difference between Palantir and outfits like Attivio, Coveo, Smartlogic, et al is the positioning, the bundle of technology, and – oh, did I mention the $20 billion valuation? I do like the abracadabra reference. Magic?

Stephen E Arnold, November 25, 2015

Goole and Google: If You Are Not in Google, You Do Not Exist

November 24, 2015

Short honk: The Alphabet Google is without fault in my opinion. Some folks may not agree. I read “Resident Living in Yorkshire Town of Goole Launch Their Own Internet Search Engine.”

According to the write up:

Despite 19,000 people living there – and it being mentioned as far back as 1362 – residents say the internet giant has made the town seem like ‘just a search engine’ by suggesting people are searching ‘Google’ when typing in the town’s name.

I noted this Goole-ish comment:

‘And, at the end of the day, we were here first. Goole has been around since 1826 – Google was only founded in 1998. The Internet giant has made the town seem like ‘just a search engine’. ‘You can imagine, therefore, how frustrating it is to put in a search containing the word Goole, only to be confronted by the question “Did you mean: Google?”‘

Some folks are not happy with a free search and information access system which delivers relevant results. The fix? My thought is to change the name of the town. If you are not in Google, you don’t exist, right? The notion that the Alphabet Google thing does not deliver relevant results is silly.

Stephen E Arnold, November 24, 2015

Watson Put to Work in Academia as a Sounding Board and Study Buddy

November 24, 2015

The article on Kurzweil AI titled IBM’s Watson Shown to Enhance Human-Computer Co-Creativity, Support Biologically Inspired Design discusses a project set up among researchers and student teams at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The teams input information and questions about biomimetics, or biologically inspired design, and then Watson served as an “intelligent research assistant” for a Computational Creativity course in Spring 2015. The professor teaching the class, Ashok Goel, explained the benefits of this training.

“Imagine if you could ask Google a complicated question and it immediately responded with your answer — not just a list of links to manually open, says Goel. “That’s what we did with Watson. Researchers are provided a quickly digestible visual map of the concepts relevant to the query and the degree to which they are relevant. We were able to add more semantic and contextual meaning to Watson to give some notion of a conversation with the AI.”

Biomimetics is all about the comparison and inspiration of biological systems for technological system creation. The ability to “converse” with Watson could even help a student study a complicated topic and understand key concepts. Using Watson as an assistant who can bounce answers back at a professional could apply to many fields, and Goel is currently looking into online learning and healthcare. Watch out, grad students and TAs!

Chelsea Kerwin, November 24, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Search Provenance: Is That in France?

November 22, 2015

I find the excitement surrounding streaming apps interesting. I am not into apps for a mobile device. I use a mobile device to make phone calls and check email. I am hopelessly out of date, behind the times, old fashioned, and unhip.

That is fine with me.

Knowing what an app is doing seems prudent. I am not overly confident that 20 somethings will follow the straight and narrow. In fact, I am not sure those older stay within the rule of the road. The information highway? Dude, get out of my way.

The big point is that the write up “Teens Have Trouble Telling between Google Ads and Search Links” makes vivid the risk inherent in losing checkpoints, informational signals, and white lines in the datasphere.

The write up states:

UK watchdog Ofcom has posted a study showing that just 31 percent of kids aged 12 to 15 can tell the difference between a Google search ad and the real results just below them. They also tend to be overly trusting, as 19 percent of those young teens believe that all online results must be true. Not surprisingly, the figures get worse with younger children — just 16 percent of those aged 8 to 11 know whether they’re seeing an ad or a result.

Nothing like the ability to think and determine if information is valid. Do you want a ticket to provenance? I hear the food is wonderful.

Stephen E Arnold, November 22, 2015

Career Advice from Successful Googlers

November 18, 2015

A few words of wisdom from a Google veteran went from Quora query to Huffington Post article in, “What It Takes to Rise the Ranks at Google: Advice from a Senior Staff Engineer.” The original question was, “How hard is it to make Senior Engineer at Google.” HuffPo senior editor Nico Pitney reproduces the most popular response, that of senior engineer Carlos Pizano. Pizano lists some of his education and pre-Google experience, and gives some credit to plain luck, but here’s the part that makes this good guidance for approaching many jobs:

“I happen to be a believer of specialization, so becoming ‘the person’ on a given subject helped me a lot. Huge swaths of core technology key to Google’s success I know nothing about, of some things I know all there is to know … or at least my answers on the particular subject were the best to be found at Google. Finally, I never focused on my career. I tried to help everybody that needed advice, even fixing their code when they let me and was always ready to spread the knowledge. Coming up with projects but giving them to eager, younger people. Shine the light on other’s accomplishments. All that comes back to you when performance review season comes.”

Knowing your stuff and helping others—yes, that will go a long way indeed. For more engineers’ advice, some of which is more Google-specific, navigate to the list of responses here.

Cynthia Murrell, November 18, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Dassault: Lowered to Hold and Doing the Foundation Thing

November 13, 2015

Dassault Systèmes owns Exalead, one of the search companies forged in the white hot crucibles of the late 1990s. I did a quick check on the fortunes of Exalead, which was purchased by Dassault in 2010. I don’t hear much about Exalead, which had at the time of its acquisition some interesting technology.

What I learned in my quick check was two things. Both struck me as interesting.

First, in “Dassault Systemes Receives Consensus Rating of “Hold” from Brokerages,” I noted the “hold.” That’s one way of saying, “Yikes, we need to watch this outfit.” Some might argue that this is a vote of confidence. I, on the other hand, believe that this is one more signal that companies which have bet big on search are going to face some lean times in the months ahead. I noted this passage in the write up:

Berenberg Bank reissued a “sell” rating on shares of Dassault Systèmes in a report on Friday, September 25th. Credit Suisse restated an “outperform” rating on shares of Dassault Systèmes in a research report on Monday, September 21st. Finally, Zacks cut shares of Dassault Systèmes from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday.

Second, Dassault is doing what Thomson Reuters did; that is, morph into foundationville. I am not sure what the tax advantages of this are and I am not too curious. I read in “La Fondation” that:

La Fondation Dassault Systèmes will provide grants, digital content and skill sets in virtual technologies to education and research initiatives at forward-thinking academic institutions, research institutes, museums, associations, cultural centers and other general interest organizations throughout the European Union. This support will provide greater access to 3D content, technology and simulation applications that have long been used by industry for the design, engineering and manufacturing of most of the products society relies on today. Such access can help create new learning experiences and encourage greater interest in science, math, engineering and technology disciplines among students.

From my crumbling office in rural Kentucky, this looks like a reprise of the “old” Lexis effort of providing “free access” to the Lexis online system in the hopes that future attorneys will continue to use Lexis. The free stuff goes away when the aspiring lawyer or future Uber driver passes the bar. How is that free stuff working out?

My thought is that neither of these news items does much to boost my confidence that Exalead is becoming a big revenue player at the upscaliest of the upscale French corporations.

The Exalead folks did know how to provide a great box lunch before the acquisition.

Stephen E Arnold, November 13, 2015

SLI H116 and Related Info Swizzles

November 13, 2015

I read an item produced by a research outfit called Edison. What’s interesting is that the “news” refers to SLI Systems, a New Zealand based outfit which sells eCommerce search software. The company has been going through some choppy water and has two new executives. One is a president, Chris Brennan. The more recent appointment is Martin Onofrio’s taking the job of Chief Revenue Officer. Prior to joining SLI, Mr. Onofrio was, according to the Edison news item, the chief revenue officer at Attensity. That’s one of the sentiment oriented content processing outfits. (Attensity has been a low profile outfit for a while.)

In that “report” from Edison which you can read at this link, I noted a reference to H116 revenue. The report did not explain what this type of revenue is. I did a quick search and learned that H116 does not seem to be a major revenue type. H116 is a type of aluminum, a motorized stepper, and a string of characters used by a number of different manufacturers.

After some thinking whilst listening to the Jive Five, I realized that Edison and SLI Systems are using H116 as a token for “revenues for the first half of fiscal 2016.” There you go.

Another write up adds this color, which I think the Edison experts could have recycled when they made clear what H116 means:

Revenue is forecast to rise to $17.3 million in the six months ending December 31 from $13.6 million a year earlier when sales accelerated at a 27% pace, the Christchurch-based company said in a statement.

Here’s the important part in my view:

The software developer missed its sales forecast for the second half of the 2015 year, and has hired Martin Onofrio as its new chief revenue officer to drive revenue growth.

A couple of quick thoughts before I go watch the mist rise from the mine drainage pond:

  1. SLI might want to make sure that its experts output “news” which is easy to understand
  2. Inclusion of revenue challenges is probably as important, if not more important, than opining about the future. The future is not yet here, so, like picking the winner of the Kentucky Derby, touts are different from which nag crosses the finish line first.
  3. Attensity, in my opinion, has faced its own revenue head winds. I wonder if a chief revenue officer can generate revenue in a world in which there are open source and low cost eCommerce search systems?

A word to Edison: Please, do not write to complain about my nagging about the H116 thing. You offer a two page report which is one page. What’s up with that? Friday the 13th bad luck or a standard work product?

Stephen E Arnold, November 13, 2015

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