Archive for the ‘Google’ tag
I’ve mostly ignored pieces about Google in the last five years, but when I gave this one a shot it left me a little dumbfounded (emphasis mine):
What was it getting with GOOG-411? It soon became clear that what it was getting were demands for pizza spoken in every accent in the continental United States, along with questions about plumbers in Detroit and countless variations on the pronunciations of ‘Schenectady’, ‘Okefenokee’ and ‘Boca Raton’. GOOG-411, a Google researcher later wrote, was a phoneme-gathering operation, a way of improving voice recognition technology through massive data collection.
That answer had seriously never even started to possibly be a glimmer in my mind.
This is a little more specifically “techie” than normal, but I agree so much with Marco Arment’s thoughts on having a solid persistent internet presence that I had to post it.
But all of these proprietary [social] networks that want to own and hold in your content are reversing much of the web’s progress in some other areas, such as the durability and quality of online identity.
These anomalies caused by the algorithms Google uses to turn maps into pictures are surprisingly interesting and fun.
EDIT (15 Dec 2013): Link changed from http://clementvalla.com/index.php?/work/bridges/, as the artist’s site had changed.
This brief article is ostensibly about Google and Microsoft, but it’s a cogent attack on the inefficiencies of any sufficiently complacent bureaucracy.
How did Microsoft manage to acquire a relatively hip and happening company like Danger and turn it into a complete flop of a product launch with the Kin? To oversimplify: by having all the money the world. When your development decisions affect your ability to meet payroll quite directly, you see them in a very different light than when they affect nothing more than perhaps your next annual review or your status in the latest internecine company struggle. The economic discipline of the marketplace is lost for those afflicted with cash cow disease. A CEO can embark on a cellphone project for little better reason than that some obnoxious guy in a black turtleneck is doing well with his own cellphone.
Farhed Manjoo accurately captures the latest “Google killer”:
As it kept coming up empty, Wolfram Alpha came to seem less like HAL 9000 and more like a chatbot. It’s been trained to respond to some kinds of queries, but any variations leave it stammering. It’s a savant, smart about a few things but profoundly ignorant about large swaths of human knowledge.
If you manage to input a query that’s it’s well-suited to answer, the results can be deeply interesting — a seach for “weather” and my zip code gave data I’d never seen anywhere — but it’s a very limited tool.
That seems a little surprising. How many searches do I get if I add loading the first result? It seems likely that there’s more green information in a newspaper, but only if you’re interested in all they’re delivering to you. Which I guess in the primary argument for the web in the first place.
I’ve noticed that Google now adds to the search results of some searches a timeline of when that term is mentioned in sources — apparently a combination of newspapers, books, and websites. A few observations made using the tool:
- Many events have peaks in ten-year anniversaries of their first happening. See for example: Hiroshima, Apollo 11.
- Recession seems reasonably well correlated with market feelings.
- The historical usage of some terms in interesting. Try for example, piracy and Black Friday.
- “Apollo 13” got a definite boost when the movie came out.
- Some terms show the tool still has bugs. Mesozoic for example. (The peak at 2000BC, for example appears to be caused by a misinterpretation of a citation.)
Obviously the validity of all of these observations is limited by my limited understanding of how the thing works and its bugs.
Want to send visitors straight to the incessant song in Charlie the Unicorn 2? Now you can:
Robin Sloan pens an interesting “think piece” about how Google may actually be changing our way of processing information. And no, it’s not a “technology will make us stupid” thing.
Also note the very good and thoughtful responses.
UPDATE (1/14/09): Robin clarifies.