Day of the Google

Clean it up

Trust, its a funny concept isn’t it? It rates quite a lengthy entry in Wikipedia and its nature is described ‘the subtleties of trust are a subject of passionate debate’. It can take years to build up and a moment to lose it.

Two things struck me in a couple of articles that I had read regarding Internet search and trust. The first was the reaction from the blogosphere that Google’s Zeitgeist is not the most frequently searched terms over a period. Bloggers like GigaOM were bending themselves out of shape.

Off course it isn’t, when I was at Yahoo! we got around the issue that Zeitgeist has with a more abstract concept called the Buzz Index that looked at levels of increase in a search term over a period of time. We also had our Finds of the Year which were found via an editorial process. You can find the one that I ran here and this years one being done by my former colleagues here.

Ultimately these measures Zeitgeist, Buzz Index; call it what you will are a bit of fun, water-cooler fodder – harmless PR fluff. If Google and the rest of the search engines revealed a straight most searched for list three things would stand out:

  • We are base creatures of habit, very little would change over time; especially our collective obsession with excessive materialism and pornography in all its myriad of forms
  • We are surprisingly illiterate; there would be countless misspellings – there is a reason why Google puts that ‘do you mean _____’ option right under the search box when you misspell a word
  • We are clumsy and, or stupid: we often miss the web address bar in the browser and will put a URL directly into the search box instead, and then search for it

An unhappy outcome of putting this unadulterated information in the public domain is that it would provide SEO companies and less scrupulous operators with an ideal tool to decode the search engine secret sauce and pollute search terms so that they become meaningless.

That would mean far more dishonest results from Google than just a bit of Zeitgeist fluff.

The second one about search and trust came from author and former journalist Frederick Forsyth.

I grew up with Forsyth’s books; when I started secondary school Forsyth was a kind of modern-day Robert Louis Stevenson for me. His first book: The Biafra Story was a serious piece of reportage on the Biafran War was one of the few pieces of truthful writing about the conflict.

In his PR efforts to promote his latest novel The Afgan, Forsyth did an interview with Der Spiegel.

Forsyth admitted that he did not own a mobile phone or a computer, having a distrust of technology. He finished the paragraph with “I also don’t use the Internet for searches because frankly I don’t trust it.”

Forsyth’s skepticism is interesting because he is genuinely fascinated with how government and Islamic extremists use technologies to further their own ends. It is not a generational issue because he is obviously well-versed enough to get on and use the technology if he wanted to (or pay for someone else to teach him). The reservation seems to come from the rigorous approach of his private research.

And there is some merit in his standpoint: when modern publications and research techniques show both bloggers and journalists up, whilst more traditional journalists like Matt Drudge and Seymour Hersh get the real stories the old way.

Google and other search engines will only produce what they find, whilst there is some editorial input used in selecting sources for news search – verifying the truth of information unearthed on the web is currently far beyond the most optimistic hopes for the semantic web.

The Host

I finally got around to writing a review of The Host (Guimul). A product of the Korean film industry, which seems to be on creative fire at the moment. The Host has been compared to The Royal Tanenbaums and Godzilla or Tremors.The film also has a subversive tone questioning the relationship that South Korea has with the US and the suppression of citizen interests for the betterment of big business.

The performance walks a tightrope between humour and tragedy without the heavy-handed humour in many Hong Kong films.

Get out and see it if you haven’t had a chance already.

Links for 2006-12-08 [My Web 2.0]

Holloways of Ludlow – anglepoise reseller

Rumour has it… Guide to gossip sites and blogs

Developing world demands high-tech handsets – Mobile & Wireless – Breaking Business and Technology News at silicon.com

instructables : Homemade instant oatmeal

WidSets Beta

Main Page – Fab @ Home

A special edition of Jargon Watch brought to you in association with Research In Motion: makers of the BlackBerry

BlackBerry Orphan – children who suffer from mental neglect because their parents are continually occupied with their mobile email device

Adult pacifier – mobile email device

Is Jim the most evil man on this planet? One of BlackBerry’s biggest defenders, Jim Balsillie, the chairman of Research In Motion, says children should ask themselves, “Would you rather have your parents 20% not there or 100% not there?”

I can’t believe that he went on record with that quote.

Thanks to Wall Street Journal: BlackBerry Orphans by Katherine Rosman (December 8, 2006).

Game Theory


There’s been some interesting things being said about Sony and its inability to get things right with the PS3.

Pros

  • Its an impressive, if flawed piece of engineering. It has been said that the PS3 platform is designed to last up to ten years. However, Sony’s hand may be forced to refresh much faster by the deeper pockets of rival Microsoft
  • It is a great platform to seed Blu Ray into the marketplace
  • Disaffected customers have been purchasing PS2s and PSP devices – which demonstrates strong brand loyalty, rather than a total rout by rival console makers
  • Sony’s ability to run Linux and powerful silicon may open new markets and partners beyond its existing eco-system
  • Sony can’t afford to fail, as Bill Gates said during the 1997 turnaround of Apple; a near-death experience can be a great motivator

Cons

  • The PS3 has underperformed in the marketplace, Nintendo and Microsoft are hitting target numbers
  • Sony has been outinnovated by Nintendo with the Nunchuk, providing consumers with a new way of interacting with games. In a war of polygons versus playability – playability wins
  • Sony game development is too expensive: the graphics elements of a PS3 game costs 8.6 million USD to develop, and 500,000 units are need to be sold in order to be profitable. This is roughly twice the price as a Nintendo game
  • Sony has ventured into Uncanny Valley with its latest graphics engine. (The dip in postive consumer attitude as the character better mimics human life is the Uncanny Valley.) There is a paradox of realism – after a certain point, the closer to reality that the gaming experience gets in terms of graphics and player experience; the harder it is for the game to seem real. This inability to believe makes it harder for the players to fully engage in the game.

ImpactSony is going to live or die by its software, out of all the consoles Sony’s is the most expensive to develop for and has the smallest user base. This is likely to be the case for the next 12 months at least. From a games developers point of view the chance of break even let alone success is least with the PS3 and probably greatest with the Nintendo Wii.

Couple these business factors with Sony’s distain for its developer community and you may see an exodus of developers to Nintendo.

Sony’s failure will be a breach of trust with large developers and will adversely affect an entire games industry eco-system. Electronic Arts is already taking corrective action; developers run a risk in the rush to get on the Nintendo train that quality slips as they try to get into the Wii market faster with mediocre products that will sit on the shelves.

The less games that sell on the PS3, the greater the loss that Sony suffers on each box. The more fanciful have speculated that massive hardware sales and low games sales could bury Sony. Its sophisticated engineering could be the biggest waste of smarts since the Maginot Line.

Links for 2006-12-07 [My Web 2.0]

Hong Kong Expats | Shanghai Expats | Shenzhen Expats – Forums, Resources and NetworkingMain Page – JigsawUK

Goombah: Music Search and Discovery

Wired News: Fine-Tune Your Music Discoveries

LatestD9.com: The Latest Releases, On Time, Every Time

Holmes Report Blog

Social Bookmarking – Automatic submission service

Can Yahoo Deliver On Social Search? – SeekingAlpha

On heavy rotation

I picked some recordings that were at the popular end of dance music at HMV last Friday:

  • KlaxonsMagick (SMD mix) – A one-sided single by the leaders of the new rave movement that consists of erm the Klaxons. The single is pretty jackin’, though I don’t know if this single is indicative of their general material
  • Mync Project & Danny RamplingStrobelight – Better quality material than would expect from Positiva, a good solid house tune in both normal and dub versions
  • FreestylersIn love with you remix – For house heads the one to go with is the DJ Bomba and Senor mix

Links for 2006-12-06 [My Web 2.0]

I was thinking about writing something about the Yahoo! reorganisation the yesterday, but there was so much being written and those that I spoke to on the inside were still looking for information on how it pan out (this will probably take months) that linking to a selection of the pundit comment out there seemed the best approach.Yahoo’s CEO makes big changes at the top – Los Angeles Times

Rules for Using MySpace in Politics | Personal Democracy Forum

Charlene Li’s Blog: Dissecting Yahoo’s reorg

Japan’s Bloggers Focused on Companies & Brands : Social Media Implications

A Gonzo Journal » Blog Archive » Blogging And Regulation

A New PB&J Sandwich at Yahoo!? [Fool.com: Motley Fool Take] December 6, 2006

TWiki – Enterprise Collaboration Platform & Wiki

INTERNAL MEMO: Terry Semel: ‘friendship will survive forever’ – Valleywag

Hooked on Work: the Allure of Extreme Jobs

Alsoft, Inc. Makers of DiskWarrior and MasterJuggler

Jargon Watch

PICT0008.JPG

GAMEYGoogle, Apple, Microsoft, eBay, Yahoo!. VC-speak for the group of companies expected to buy up the creme of Silicon Valley start-ups. Thanks to CNN Money.Generation Cash – Generation Content getting paid through sites like citizen journalist photo agency Scoopt, and video sites like Revver, eefoof and Flixya splitting ad revenue. This content for cash game has gone mobile; mobile operator 3 pays video creators per download through its SeeMeTV initative and MyNumo rewards the creators of ringtones, videos and wallpapers through a revenue share approach.

The concept also extends to the black economy trading on eBay and those people operating as part of the Fon wi-fi network and the big cash prizes offered by the likes of Intel and Netflix for customer-generated innovation. It’s Alvin Toffler’s prosumer concept made good. Thanks to Trendwatching.

 

Links for 2006-12-05 [My Web 2.0]

eightysevenfour – Easily open .docx on a Mac

Yahoo!’s Talent Keeps Bailing

Links for 2006-12-04 [My Web 2.0]

Jackie Chan’s blogWordPress › Free Blog Tool and Weblog Platform

METRONOME ONLINE – free!

WELCOME TO CRED JEWELLERY – fair trade jewellery

TOPMAN – Home

Urban Outfitters – UK site

Spanish Hustle

El Lobo (The Wolf) is a film based on the true story of Mikel Lejarza. Lejarza

was a Spanish Intelligence Service agent who penetrated the Basque separatist movement ETA at the end of the Franco regime in the early 1970s.A kind of Spanish

Harry’s Game, despite its documentary content the film is a beautifully shot, taunt, well-paced thriller; rich with period detail. The film deals obliquely with the societal and political changes that were happening in Spain as a whole, this is probably as important a factor on the film as the struggle for Basque independence. The film shows how the state security apparatus moves to get a prime position in preparation for the move towards democracy and repositioning itself away from being an instrument of repression to being antiterrorism specialists.

The acting is first-rate conveying the complex emotions and decisions that the informer and his handlers undergo in fulfilling their duties. It is one of the best films that I’ve seen this year.

Links for 2006-12-03 [My Web 2.0]

NewPR Wiki – Main.HomePageNewPR Wiki – Resources.BloggingPolicy

x0xb0x: Transistorize the World

Stellarium

PortableApps Suite | PortableApps.com – Portable software for USB drives

SurveyGizmo: Online Survey Tool – Home

Britain leads the way in online advertising – Print Version – International Herald Tribune

Media Convert – free and on line – convert and split sound, ringtones, images, docs – MP3 WMV 3GP AMR FLV SWF AMV MOV WMA AVI MP

Apple – Contacting Apple – Phone Contacts

The Wheel of Fortune

Good fortune and happiness but sometimes a species of intoxication with success

The Wheel of Fortune is all about big things, luck, change, fortune. Almost always good fortune. You are lucky in all things that you do and happy with the things that come to you. Be careful that success does not go to your head however. Sometimes luck can change.

What Tarot Card are You? Take the Test to Find Out.

Thanks to Cowboy Caleb for the recommendation