Google the Great Brings AI to Message Searches

July 25, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

AI is infiltrating Gmail users’ inboxes. Android Police promises, “Gmail’s New Machine Learning Models Will Improve your Search Results.” Writer Chethan Rao points out this rollout follows June’s announcement of the Help me write feature, which deploys an algorithm to compose one’s emails. He describes the new search tool:

“The most relevant search results are listed under a section called Top results after this update. The rest of them will be listed beneath All results in mail, with these being filtered based on recency, according to the Workspace Blog. Google says this would let people find what they’re looking for ‘with less effort.’ Expanding on the methodology a little bit, the company said (via 9to5Google) its machine learning models will take into account the search term itself, in addition to the most recent emails and ‘other relevant factors’ to pull up the results best suited for the user. The functionality has just begun rolling out this Friday [May 02, 2023], so it could take a couple of weeks before making it to all Workspace or personal Google account holders. Luckily, there are no toggles to enable this feature, meaning it will be automatically enabled when it reaches your device.”

“Other relevant factors.” Very transparent. Kind of them to eliminate the pesky element of choice here. We hope the system works better that Gmail’s recent blue checkmark system (how original), which purported to mark senders one can trust but ended up doing the opposite.

Buckle up. AI will be helping you in every Googley way.

Cynthia Murrell, July 25, 2023

And Now Here Is Sergey… He Has Returned

July 24, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

I am tempted to ask one of the art generators to pump out an image of the Terminator approaching the executive building on Shoreline Drive. But I won’t. I also thought of an image of Clint Eastwood, playing the role of the Man with No Name, wearing a ratty horse blanket to cover his big weapon. But I won’t. I thought of Tom Brady joining the Tampa Bay football team wearing a grin and the full Monte baller outfit. But I won’t. Assorted religious images flitted through my mind, but I knew that if I entered a proper name for the ace Googler and identified a religious figure, MidJourney would demand that I interact with a “higher AI.” I follow the rules, even wonky ones.

7 21 gun fighter

The gun fighter strides into the developer facility and says, “Drop them-thar Foosball handles. We are going to make that smart software jump though hoops. One of the champion Foosballers sighs, “Welp. Excuse me. I have to call my mom and dad. I feel nauseous.” MidJourney provided the illustration for this dramatic scene. Ride ‘em, code wrangler.

I will simply point to “Sergey Brin Is Back in the Trenches at Google.” The sub-title to the real news story is:

Co-founder is working alongside AI researchers at tech giant’s headquarters, aiding efforts to build powerful Gemini system.

I love the word “powerful.” Titan-esque, charged with meaning, and pumped up as the theme from Rocky plays softly in the background, syncopated with the sound of clicky keyboards.

Let’s think about what the return to Google means?

  1. The existing senor management team are out of ideas. Microsoft stumbles forward, revealing ways to monetize good enough smart software. With hammers from Facebook and OpenAI, the company is going to pound hard for subscription upsell revenue. Big companies will buy… Why? Because … Microsoft.
  2. Mr. Brin is a master mechanic. And the new super smart big brain artificial intelligence unit (which is working like a well oiled Ferrari with two miles on the clock) is due for an oil change, new belts, and a couple of electronic sensors once the new owner get the vehicle to his or her domicile. Ferrari knows how to bill for service, even if the zippy machine does not run like a five year old Toyota Tundra.
  3. Mr. Brin knows how to take disparate items and glue them together. He and his sidekick did it with Web search, adding such me-too innovations as GoTo, Overture, Yahoo-inspired online pay-to-play ideas. Google’s brilliant Bard needs this type of bolt ons. Mr. Brin knows bolt ons. Clever, right?

Are these three items sufficiently umbrella-like to cover the domain of possibilities? Of course not. My personal view is that item one, management’s inability to hit a three point shot, let alone a slam dunk over Sam AI-Man, requires the 2023 equivalent of asking Mom and Dad to help. Some college students have resorted to this approach to make rent, bail, or buy food.

The return is not yet like Mr. Terminator’s, Mr. Man-with-No-Name’s, or Mr. Brady’s. We have something new. A technology giant with billions in revenue struggling to get its big tractor out of a muddy field. How does one get the Google going?

“Dad, hey it’s me. I need some help.”

Stephen E Arnold, July 24, 2023

Silicon Valley and Its Busy, Busy Beavers

July 21, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

Several stories caught my attention. These are:

7 21 beavers

Google’s busy beavers have been active: AI, pricing tactics, quantum goodness, and team building. Thanks, MidJourney but you left out the computing devices which no high value beaver goes without.

Google has allowed its beavers to gnaw on some organic material to build some dams. Specifically, the newspapers which have been affected by Google’s online advertising (no I am not forgetting I am just focusing on the Google at the moment) can avail themselves of AI. The idea is… cost cutting. Could there be some learnings for the Google? What I mean is that such a series of tests or trials provides the Google with telemetry. Such telemetry allows the Google to refine its news writing capabilities. The trajectory of such knowledge may allow the Google to embark on its own newspaper experiment. Where will that lead? I don’t know, but it does not bode well for real journalists or some other entities.

The YouTube price increase is positioned as a better experience. Could the sharp increase in ads before, during, and after a YouTube video be part of a strategy? What I am hypothesizing is that more ads will force users to pay to be able to watch a YouTube video without being driven crazy by ads for cheap mobile, health products, and gun belts? Deteriorating the experience allows a customer to buy a better experience. Could that be semi-accurate?

The quantum supremacy thing strikes me as 100 percent PR with a dash of high school braggadocio. The write up speaks to me this way: “I got a higher score on the SAT.” Snort snort snort. The snorts are a sound track to putting down those whose machines just don’t have the right stuff. I wonder if this is how others perceive the article.

And the busy beavers turned up at the White House. The beavers say, “We will be responsible with this AI stuff.  We AI promise.” Okay, I believe this because I don’t know what these creatures mean when the word “responsible” is used. I can guess, however.

Net net: The ethicist from Harvard and the soon-to-be-former president of Stanford are available to provide advisory services. Silicon Valley is a metaphor for many good things, especially for the companies and their senior executives. Life will get better and better with certain high technology outfits running the show, pulling the strings, and controlling information, won’t it?

Stephen E Arnold, July 21, 2023

What, Google? Accuracy Through Plagiarism

July 14, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

Now that AI is such a hot topic, tech companies cannot afford to hold back due to small flaws. Like a tendency to spit out incorrect information, for example. One behemoth seems to have found a quick fix for that particular wrinkle: simple plagiarism. Eager to incorporate AI into its flagship Search platform, Google recently released a beta version to select users. Forbes contributor Matt Novak was among the lucky few and shares his observations in, “Google’s New AI-Powered Search Is a Beautiful Plagiarism Machine.”

7 9 blacksmithfire

The blacksmith says, “Oh, oh, I think I have set my shop on fire.” The image is the original work of the talented MidJourney system.

The author takes us through his query and results on storing live oysters in the fridge, complete with screenshots of the Googlebot’s response. (Short answer: you can for a few days if you cover them with a damp towel.) He highlights passages that were lifted from websites, some with and some without tiny tweaks. To be fair, Google does link to its source pages alongside the pilfered passages. But why click through when you’ve already gotten what you came for? Novak writes:

“There are positive and negative things about this new Google Search experience. If you followed Google’s advice, you’d probably be just fine storing your oysters in the fridge, which is to say you won’t get sick. But, again, the reason Google’s advice is accurate brings us immediately to the negative: It’s just copying from websites and giving people no incentive to actually visit those websites. Why does any of this matter? Because Google Search is easily the biggest driver of traffic for the vast majority of online publishers, whether it’s major newspapers or small independent blogs. And this change to Google’s most important product has the potential to devastate their already dwindling coffers. … Online publishers rely on people clicking on their stories. It’s how they generate revenue, whether that’s in the sale of subscriptions or the sale of those eyeballs to advertisers. But it’s not clear that this new form of Google Search will drive the same kind of traffic that it did over the past two decades.”

Might Google be like a blacksmith who accidentally sets fire to his workshop? Content is needed to make the fires of revenue burn brightly. No content, problem?

Cynthia Murrell, July 14, 2023

Google and AMP: Good Enough

July 10, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

Due to the rise of mobile devices circa the 2010s, the Internet was slammed with slow-loading Web-sites. In 2015, Google told publishers it had a solution dubbed “Accelerated Mobile Pages” (AMP). Everyone bought into AMP but it soon proved to be more like a “Speed Trap” says The Verge.

AMP worked well at first but it was hard to use advertising tools that were not from Google. Google’s plan to make the Internet great again backfired. Seventeen state attorneys filed a lawsuit with AMP as a key topic against Google in 2020. The lawsuit alleges Google purposefully designed AMP to prevent publishers from using alternative ad tools. The US Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit in January 2023, claiming Google is attempting to control more of the Internet.

79 googzilla

A creature named Googzilla chats with a well-known publisher about a business relationship. Googzilla is definitely impressed with the publisher’s assertion that quality news can generate traffic and revenue without a certain Web search company’s help. Does the publisher trust Googzilla? Sure, the publisher says, “We just have lunch and chat. No problem.” 

Google promised that AMP would drive more traffic to publishers’ Web sites and it would fix the loading speed lag. Google was the only big tech company that offered a viable solution to the growing demand mobile devices created, so everyone was forced to adopt AMP. Google did not care as long as it was the only player in the game:

“As long as anyone played the game, everybody had to. ‘Google’s strategy is always to create prisoner’s dilemmas that it controls — to create a system such that if only one person defects, then they win,’ a former media executive says. As long as anyone was willing to use AMP and get into that carousel, everyone else had to do the same or risk being left out.”

Google promised AMP would be open source but Google flip-flopped on that decision whenever it suited the company. Non-Google developers “fixed” AMP by working through its locked down structure so it could support other tools. Because of their efforts AMP got better and is now a decent tool. Google, however, trundles along. Perhaps Google is just misunderstood.

Whitney Grace, July 10, 2023

Googzilla Annoyed: No Longer to Stomp Around Scaring People

July 6, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

Sweden Orders Four Companies to Stop Using Google Tool” reports that the Swedish government “has ordered four companies to stop using a Google tool that measures and analyzed Web traffic.” The idea informing the Swedish decision to control the rapacious creature’s desire for “personal data.” Is the lovable Googzilla slurping data and allegedly violating privacy? I have no idea.

7 3 godzilla

In this MidJourney visual confection, it appears that a Tyrannosaurus Rex named Googzilla is watching children. Is Googzilla displaying an abnormal and possibly illegal behavior, particularly with regard to personal data.

The write up states:

The IMY said it considers the data sent to Google Analytics in the United States by the four companies to be personal data and that “the technical security measures that the companies have taken are not sufficient to ensure a level of protection that essentially corresponds to that guaranteed within the EU…”

Net net: Sweden is not afraid of the Google. Will other countries try their hand at influencing the lovable beastie?

Stephen E Arnold, July 6, 2023

Quantum Seeks Succor Amidst the AI Tsunami

July 5, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

Imagine the heartbreak of a quantum wizard in the midst of the artificial intelligence tsunami. What can a “just around the corner” technology do to avoid being washed down the drain? The answer is public relations, media coverage, fascinating announcements. And what companies are practicing this dark art of outputting words instead of fully functional, ready-to-use solutions?

Give up?

I suggest that Google and IBM are the dominant players. Imagine an online ad outfit and a consulting firm with mainframes working overtime to make quantum computing exciting again. Frankly I am surprised that Intel has not climbed on its technology stallion and ridden Horse Ridge or Horse whatever into PR Land. But, hey, one has to take what one’s newsfeed delivers. The first 48 hours of July 2023 produced two interesting items.

The first is “Supercomputer Makes Calculations in Blink of an Eye That Take Rivals 47 Years.” The write up is about the Alphabet Google YouTube construct and asserts:

While the 2019 machine had 53 qubits, the building blocks of quantum computers, the next generation device has 70. Adding more qubits improves a quantum computer’s power exponentially, meaning the new machine is 241 million times more powerful than the 2019 machine. The researchers said it would take Frontier, the world’s leading supercomputer, 6.18 seconds to match a calculation from Google’s 53-qubit computer from 2019. In comparison, it would take 47.2 years to match its latest one. The researchers also claim that their latest quantum computer is more powerful than demonstrations from a Chinese lab which is seen as a leader in the field.

Can one see this fantastic machine which is 241 million times more powerful than the 2019 machine? Well, one can see a paper which talks about the machine. That is good enough for the Yahoo real news report. What do the Chinese, who have been kicked to the side of the Information Superhighway, say? Are you joking? That would be work. Writing about a Google paper and calling around is sufficient.

If you want to explore the source of this revelation, navigate to “Phase Transition in Random Circuit Sampling.” Note that the author has more than 175 authors is available from at The list of authors does not appear in the PDF until page 37 (see below) and only about 80 appear on the abstract page on the ArXiv splash page. I scanned the list of authors and I did not see Jeff Dean’s name. Dr. Dean is/was a Big Dog at the Google but …


Just to make darned sure that Google’s Quantum Supremacy is recognized, the organizations paddling the AGY marketing stream include NASA, NIST, Harvard, and more than a dozen computing Merlins. So there! (Does AGY have an inferiority complex?)

The second quantum goody is the write up “IBM Unlocks Quantum Utility With its 127-Qubit “Eagle” Quantum Processing Unit.” The write up reports as actual factual IBM’s superior leap frogging quantum innovation; to wit, coping with noise and knowing if the results are accurate. The article says via a quote from an expert:

The crux of the work is that we can now use all 127 of Eagle’s qubits to run a pretty sizable and deep circuit — and the numbers come out correct

The write up explains:

The work done by IBM here has already had impact on the company’s [IBM’s] roadmap – ZNE has that appealing quality of making better qubits out of those we already can control within a Quantum Processing Unit (QPU). It’s almost as if we had a megahertz increase – more performance (less noise) without any additional logic. We can be sure these lessons are being considered and implemented wherever possible on the road to a “million + qubits”.

Can one access this new IBM approach? Well, there is this article and a chart.

Which quantum innovation is the more significant? In terms of putting the technology in one laptop, not much. Perhaps one can use the system via the cloud? Some may be able to get outputs… with permission of course.

But which is the PR winner? In my opinion, the Google wins because it presents a description of a concept with more authors. IBM, get your marketing in gear. By the way, what’s going on with the RedHat dust up? Quantum news releases won’t make that open source hassle go away. And, Google, the quantum stuff and the legion of authors is unlikely to impress European regulators.

And why make quantum noises before a US national holiday? My hunch is that quantum is perfect holiday fodder. My question, “When will the burgers be done?”

Stephen E Arnold, July 5, 2023

Google: Is the Company Engaging in F-U-D?

July 3, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

When I was a wee sprout in 1963, I was asked to attend an IBM presentation at the so-so university I attended. Because I was a late-night baby-sitter for the school’s big, hot, and unreliable mainframe, a full day lecture and a free lunch. Of course, I went. I remember one thing more than a half century later. The other attendees from my college were using a word I was hearing but interpreting reasonably well.

7 1 google fud

The artistic MidJourney presents an picture showing executives struggling to process Google’s smart software announcements about the future. One seems to be wondering, “These are the quantum supremacy people. They revolutionized protein folding. Now they want us to wait while our competitors are deploying ChatGPT based services? F-U-D that!”

The word was F-U-D. To make sure I wasn’t confusing the word with a popular epithet, I asked one of the people who worked in the computer center as a supervisor (actually an underpaid graduate student) but superior to my $3 per hour wage, what’s F-U-D.

The fellow explained, “It means fear, uncertainty, and doubt. The idea is that IBM wants us to be afraid of buying something from Burroughs or National Cash Register. The uncertainty means that we have to make sure the competitors’ computers are as good as the IBM machines. And the doubt means that if we buy a Control Data system, we can be fired if it isn’t IBM.”

Yep, F-U-D. The game plan designed to make people like me cautious about anything not embraced by administrators. New things had to be kept in a sandbox. Really new things had to be part of a Federal research grant which could blow up and destroy a less-than-brilliant researcher’s career but cause no ripple in carpetland.

Why am I thinking about F-U-D?

I read “Here’s Why Google Thinks Its Gemini AI Will Surpass ChatGPT.” The write up makes clear:

“At a high level you can think of Gemini as combining some of the strengths of AlphaGo-type systems with the amazing language capabilities of the large models,” Hassabis told Wired. “We also have some new innovations that are going to be pretty interesting.”

I interpreted this comment in this way:

  1. Be patient, Google has better, faster, cheaper, more wonderful technology for you coming soon, really soon
  2. Google is creating better AI because we are combining great technology with the open source systems and methods we made available to losers like OpenAI
  3. Google is innovative. (Remember, please, that Google equates innovation with complexity.)

Net net: By Gemini, just slow down. Wait for us. We are THE Google, and we do F-U-D.

Stephen E Arnold, July 3, 2023

Google: Users and Its Ad Construction

June 28, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

In the last 48 hours, I have heard or learned about some fresh opinions about Alphabet / Google / YouTube (hereinafter AGY). Google Glass III (don’t forget the commercial version, please) has been killed. Augmented Reality? Not for the Google. Also, AGY continues to output promises about its next Bard. Is it really better than ChatGPT? And AGY is back in the games business. (Keep in mind that Google pitched Yahoo with a games deal in 2004 if I remember correctly and then flamed out with its underwhelming online game play a decade later which was followed by the somewhat forgettable Stadia game service. ) Finally, a person told me that Prabhakar Raghavan allegedly said, “We want our customers to be happy.” Inspirational indeed. I think I hit the highlights from the information I encountered since Monday, June 25, 2023.

6 28 bad foundation

The ever sensitive creator MidJourney provided this illustration of a structure with a questionable foundation. Could the construct lose a piece here and piece there until it must be dismantled to save the snail darters living in the dormers? Are the residents aware of the issue?

The fountain of Googliness seems to be copious. I read “Google Ads Can Do More for Its Customers.” The main point of the article is that:

Google’s dominance in the search engine industry, particularly in search ads, is unparalleled, making it virtually the only viable option for advertisers seeking to target search traffic. It’s a conflict of interest, as Google’s profitability is closely tied to ad revenue. As Google doesn’t do enough to make Google Ads a more transparent platform and reduce the cost for its customers, advertisers face inflated costs and fierce competition, making it challenging for smaller businesses with limited budgets to compete effectively.

Gulp. If I understand this statement, Google is exploiting its customers. Remember. These are the entities providing the money to fund AGY’s numerous administrative costs. These are going just one way: Up and up. Imagine the data center, legal fines, and litigation costs. Big numbers before adding in salaries and bonuses.


  1. Structural weakness can be ignored until the edifice just collapses.
  2. Unhappy customers might want to drop by for a conversation and the additional weight of these humanoids may cross a tipping point.
  3. US regulators may ignore AGY, but government officials in other countries may not.

Bud Light’s adventures with its customers provide a useful glimpse of that those who are unhappy can do and do quickly. The former Bud Light marketing whiz has a degree from Harvard. Perhaps this individual can tackle the AGY brand? Just a thought.

Stephen E Arnold, June 28, 2023

Google: I Promise to Do Better. No, Really, Really Better This Time

June 27, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

The UK online publication The Register made available this article: “Google Accused of Urging Android Devs to Mislabel Apps to Get Forbidden Kids Ad Data.” The write up is not about TikTok. The subject is Google and an interesting alleged action by the online advertising company.

6 24 i promise

The high school science club member who pranked the principal says when caught: “Listen to me, Mr. Principal. I promise I won’t make that mistake again. Honest. Cross my heart and hope to die. Boy scout’s honor. No, really. Never, ever, again.” The illustration was generated by the plagiarism-free MidJourney.

The write up states as “actual factual” behavior by the company:

The complaint says that both Google and app developers creating DFF apps stood to gain by not applying the strict “intended for children” label. And it claims that Google incentivized this mislabeling by promising developers more advertising revenue for mixed-audience apps.

The idea is that intentionally assigned metadata made it possible for Google to acquire information about a child’s online activity.

My initial reaction was, “What’s new? Google says one thing and then demonstrates it adolescent sense of cleverness via a workaround?

After a conversation with my team, I formulated a different hypothesis; specifically, Google has institutionalized mechanisms to make it possible for the company’s actual behavior to be whatever the company wants its behavior to be.

One can hope this was a one-time glitch. My “different hypothesis” points to a cultural and structural policy to make it possible for the company to do what’s necessary to achieve its objective.

Stephen E Arnold, June 27, 2023

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