I remember this one time on Facebook someone ‘poked me’ and I stabbed him


One quick story: I was a venture capitalist in 2001. A company, Oingo, which later became Applied Semantics, had a technique for how search engines could make money by having people bid for ads. My partner at the firm said, “we can probably pick up half this company for cheap. They are running out of money.” It was during the Internet bust.

“Are you kidding me, “ I said. “they are in the search engine business. That’s totally dead.” And I went back to playing the Defender machine that was in my office. That I would play all day long even while companies waited in the conference room.

A year later they were bought by Google for 1% of Google. Our half would’ve now been worth hundreds of millions if we had invested. I was the worst venture capitalist ever. They had changed their name from Oingo to Applied Semantics to what became within Google…AdWords and AdSense, which has been 97% of Google’s revenues since 2001. 97%. $67 billion dollars. (…)

Ken Lang buys his patents back from Lycos for almost nothing. He starts a company: I/P Engine. Two weeks ago he announced he was merging his company with a public company, Vringo (Nasdaq: VRNG). Because it’s Ken, I buy the stock although will buy more after this article is out and readers read this.

The company sues Google for a big percentage of those $67 billion in revenues plus future revenues. The claim: Google has willfully infringed on Vringo – I/P’s patents for sorting ads based on click-throughs.

{ James Altucher/TechCrunch | Continue reading }

No one will ever know you, only what you let them see


People using Google’s email service, Gmail, on a relatively new BlackBerry smartphone may have noticed recently that some contacts now have small photos next to their names. They may have been surprised to see them there – after all, these are not photos taken by the BlackBerry itself, and its manufacturer Research In Motion has struck no data-sharing deal with Google.

Those images appear because Google has taken a profile photo users uploaded to Google+, its social network, and incorporated it into their contacts’ Gmail address book.

This is just one example of how Google is increasingly combining the information it holds about its users from its dozens of products, which range from a search engine and maps to Android smartphones, flight checkers and language translation apps.

One line in Google’s privacy policy, which came into force on Thursday, explains how it is able to do this: “If other users already have your email or other information that identifies you, we may show them your publicly visible Google Profile information, such as your name and photo.”

But when, in late January, Google published this new document detailing how it is combining the personal information it holds about its users from its dozens of different products, many privacy advocates, data protection officials and state regulators let their simmering distrust of the internet company boil over. “Google didn’t ask us if we, their customers, minded our data being merged and used in new ways,” said Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, a digital activist. “Most people will have no choice but to put up with the change. That is wrong.”

{ FT | Continue reading }

related { How Google—and 104 Other Companies—Are Tracking Me on the Web }

And it could have went so many ways, so many ways it can go


How would things change if Google and Bing went down for 24 hours, and there wasn’t a way around the block?

If your first thought is to do your online searches through Yahoo!, you will run into another roadblock. Since 2010, Yahoo! searches are powered by Bing. Can you name any other search engine sites off the top of your head? (…)

Losing search sites is only the tip of the iceberg. Google and Bing also provide extensive services in other areas, one of the most obvious being email—Gmail alone has 350 million users. Blacking out Gmail would certainly affect all these people, but it would also affect everyone trying to reach them.

{ Naked Capitalism | Continue reading }

Last week, I got a notice from Twitter saying the Manhattan District Attorney’s office had subpoenaed my account activity for a three-month period between September and December of last year. On October 1, I was arrested along with 700 or so other people marching across the Brooklyn Bridge as part of an early Occupy Wall Street demonstration. (…)

Why was it Twitter who got subpoenaed even though they’re my words the DA wants to see?

The short answer is: they’re not my words. Not in the legal sense at least. Part of the Twitter user agreement is that the Tweets belong to the company, not to the user. As far as the law is concerned, my online self is an informational aspect of a legal entity named Twitter, not me. That means if someone wants to use my statements against me in court, it’s not me they have to call, it’s that little blue birdie. In this context the term “microblogging” gets some new meaning: Twitter’s users really are unpaid content producers for a giant microblog hosting site.

{ Malcolm Harris/Shareable | Continue reading }

related { Will the Web Break? }

photo { Guy Bourdin }

‘When I am king, you will be first against the wall.’ –Thom Yorke


The Apple idea is that instead of the personal computer model where people own their own information, and everybody can be a creator as well as a consumer, we’re moving towards this iPad, iPhone model where it’s not really as adequate for media creation as the real media creation tools, and even though you can become a seller over the network, you have to pass through Apple’s gate to accept what you do, and your chances of doing well are very small, and it’s not really a person to person thing, it’s a business through a hub, through Apple to others, and it doesn’t really create a middle class, it creates a new kind of upper class. (…)

Google has done something that might even be more destructive of the middle class, which is they’ve said, ‘Well, since Moore’s law makes computation really, really cheap, let’s just give away the computation, but keep the data.’ And that’s a disaster.

If we enter into the kind of world that Google likes, I mean, the world that Google wants is a world where information is copied so much on the Internet that nobody knows where it came from anymore, so there can’t be any rights of authorship. However, you need a big search engine to even figure out what it is or find it. They want a lot of chaos that they can have an ability to undo. (…) When you have copying on a network, you throw out information because you lose the provenance, and then you need a search engine to figure it out again. That’s part of why Google can exist.

{ Jaron Lanier/Edge | Continue reading }

I know a man named Hank, he has more rhymes than a serious bank

446.jpg made waves in March when it announced Cloud Player, a new “cloud music” service that allows users to upload their music collections for personal use. It did so without a license agreement, and the major music labels were not amused. Sony Music said it was keeping its “legal options open” as it pressured Amazon to pay up.

In the following weeks, two more companies announced music services of their own. Google, which has long had a frosty relationship with the labels, followed Amazon’s lead; Google Music Beta was announced without the Big Four on board. But Apple has been negotiating licenses so it can operate iCloud with the labels’ blessing.

The different strategies pursued by these firms presents a puzzle. Either Apple wasted millions of dollars on licenses it doesn’t need, or Amazon and Google are vulnerable to massive copyright lawsuits. All three are sophisticated firms that employ a small army of lawyers, so it’s a bit surprising that they reached such divergent assessments of what the law requires.

So how did it happen? And who’s right?

{ Ars Technica | Continue reading }

Why does music elevate your mood, move you to tears or make you dance? It’s a mystery to most of us, but not so much to evolutionary neurobiologist Mark Changizi.

My research suggests that when we listen to music without any visual component, our auditory system—or at least the lower-level auditory areas—”thinks” it is the sounds of a human moving in our midst, doing some sort of behavior, perhaps an emotionally expressive behavior.

The auditory system “thinks” this because music has been “designed” by cultural evolution to sound like people moving about. That is, over time, humans figured out how to better and better make sounds that mimicked (and often exaggerated) the fundamental kinds of sounds humans make when we move.

I lay out more than 40 respects in which music sounds like people doing stuff. At the core of “moving people” is the walk. The human gait has unique characteristics, from its regularly repeating step (the beat) to the sounds of other parts of the body during the gait that are in time with the step (notes, more generally).

{ WSJ | Continue reading }

Dude I’ll smoke you every motherfucker under you


While the tech world is buzzing about the launch and implications of Google’s new social network, Google+, it’s worth noting that Google isn’t just in a war with Facebook, it’s at war with multiple companies across multiple industries. In fact, Google is fighting a multi-front war with a host of tech giants for control over some of the most valuable pieces of real estate in technology. Whether it’s social, mobile, browsing, local, enterprise, or even search, Google is being attacked from all angles. (…)

Before I investigate each battle front in the war, it’s important to highlight the fact that perhaps no other tech company right now could withstand such a multifaceted attack, let alone be able to retaliate efficiently. Sure, Apple might get pushed around by Facebook, so it integrated Twitter into iOS5, and sure, Amazon and Apple have their own tussles over digital media and payments, but at the end of the day, Google is in this unique and potentially highly vulnerable position that will test the company’s mettle and ability to not only reinvent itself, but also to perhaps strengthen its core. (…) Google must battle on at least six fronts simultaneously.

{ TechCrunch | Continue reading }

‘Social networks do best when they tap into one of the seven deadly sins. Facebook is ego. Zynga is sloth. LinkedIn is greed.’ –Reid Hoffman


There are numerous comparisons between Google’s new Google+ social offering and Facebook, but most of them miss the mark. Google knows the social train has left the station and there is a very slim chance of catching up with Facebook’s 750 million active users. However, Twitter’s position as a broadcast platform for 21 million active publishers is a much more achievable goal for Google to reach. (…)

While Facebook is not sweating about Google+, the threat to Twitter is significant. Google has the opportunity to displace Twitter if it gets publishers and celebrities to encourage Google+ follows on their websites as well as pushing posts to the legions of Google users while they are in Search, Gmail and YouTube. Google was turned down when it tried to buy Twitter for $10 billion, and now it is going to try to replicate it.

{ Social Beat | Continue reading }

photo { Jay Van Dam }

related { Invite your entire Facebook graph into Google Plus | Searching through other people’s photographs as soon as they’ve taken them is now possible thanks to a new search service. }

Which we all like. Rain. When we sleep. Drops.


{ Edward Weston, White Sands, 1946 }

related { The Cloud: Battle of the Tech Titans. Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are going up against traditional infrastructure makers like IBM and HP as businesses move their most important work to cloud computing, profoundly changing how companies buy computer technology. | Business week | full story }

‘So-called ’short cuts’ have always led humanity to run great risks: on hearing the ‘glad tidings’ that a ’short cut’ had been found, they always left the straight path — and lost their way.’ –Nietzsche

{ Google Street View goes off road with tricycle to capture more images. }

Fred Astaire al mio confronto era statico e imbranato


Google just changed its search algorithm and effectively declared war on Content Farms like Demand Media.

In a blog post, Google search engineers Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts write that the update, which will effect a whopping 11.8% of all search results, “is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful.”

{ Business Insider | Continue reading }

painting { Nouar }

Winner to the King, five hundred dollars



{ Michael Wolf | Street View Manhattan }

Spey me pruth and I’ll tale you true


Pretend for a moment that you are Google’s search engine.

Someone types the word “dresses” and hits enter. What will be the very first result? There are, of course, a lot of possibilities. Macy’s comes to mind. Maybe a specialty chain, like J. Crew or the Gap. Perhaps a Wikipedia entry on the history of hemlines.

O.K., how about the word “bedding”? Bed Bath & Beyond seems a candidate. Or Wal-Mart, or perhaps the bedding section of

“Area rugs”? Crate & Barrel is a possibility. Home Depot, too, and Sears, Pier 1 or any of those Web sites with “area rug” in the name, like

You could imagine a dozen contenders for each of these searches. But in the last several months, one name turned up, with uncanny regularity, in the No. 1 spot for each and every term:

J. C. Penney.

The company bested millions of sites — and not just in searches for dresses, bedding and area rugs. For months, it was consistently at or near the top in searches for “skinny jeans,” “home decor,” “comforter sets,” “furniture” and dozens of other words and phrases, from the blandly generic (“tablecloths”) to the strangely specific (“grommet top curtains”).

The New York Times asked an expert in online search, Doug Pierce of Blue Fountain Media in New York, to study this question, as well as Penney’s astoundingly strong search-term performance in recent months. What he found suggests that the digital age’s most mundane act, the Google search, often represents layer upon layer of intrigue. And the intrigue starts in the sprawling, subterranean world of “black hat” optimization, the dark art of raising the profile of a Web site with methods that Google considers tantamount to cheating.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

painting { Franzikus Wendels, In freier Wildbahn 2, 2007/08 }

Killa tape intro


Every Monday afternoon at the Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif., more than a dozen of Google’s top executives gather in the company’s boardroom. The weekly meeting, known as Execute, was launched last summer with a specific mission: to get the near-sovereign leaders of Google’s far-flung product groups into a single room and harmonize their disparate initiatives. Google co-founder Sergey Brin runs the meeting, along with new Chief Executive Officer Larry Page and soon-to-be-former CEO Eric Schmidt. The unstated goal is to save the search giant from the ossification that can paralyze large corporations. It won’t be easy, because Google is a tech conglomerate, an assemblage of parts that sometimes work at cross-purposes. Among the most important barons at the meeting: Andy Rubin, who oversees the Android operating system for mobile phones; Salar Kamangar, who runs the video-sharing site YouTube; and Vic Gundotra, who heads up Google’s secret project to combat the social network Facebook. “We needed to get these different product leaders together to find time to talk through all the integration points,” says Page during a telephone interview with Bloomberg Businessweek minutes before a late-January Execute session. “Every time we increase the size of the company, we need to keep things going to make sure we keep our speed, pace, and passion.”

The new weekly ritual—like the surprise announcement on Jan. 20 that Page will take over from Schmidt in April—marks a significant shift in strategy at the world’s most famous Internet company. Welcome to Google 3.0. In the 1.0 era, which ran from 1996 to 2001, Page and Brin incubated the company at Stanford University and in a Menlo Park (Calif.) garage. In 2001 they ushered in the triumphant 2.0 era by hiring Schmidt, a tech industry grown-up who’d been CEO of Novell. Now comes the third phase, led by Page and dedicated to rooting out bureaucracy and rediscovering the nimble moves of youth.

Although Google recently reported that fourth-quarter profits jumped 29 percent over the previous year, its stock rose only 13.7 percent over the past 12 months, disappointing investors and lagging the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index. Google is being outpaced by rivals such as Facebook in social networking. In 2010, Facebook served up more display ads than either Google or Yahoo!—and was visited by more U.S. Internet users. And Apple is setting the pace in mobile computing, with beloved products that use a proprietary operating system that can be closed off to Google’s services if the company so chooses.

On top of all that, there are antitrust inquiries in Washington and Europe, the defection of some top Google executives for opportunities elsewhere, and perhaps the most serious rap against the company: that its loosely organized structure is growing unwieldy and counterproductive.

{ Business Week | Continue reading }

Glock made out of plastic, cock-it and get blasted


{ Harder to notice was that the person at the wheel was not actually driving. The car is a project of Google, which has been working in secret but in plain view on vehicles that can drive themselves, using artificial-intelligence software that can sense anything near the car and mimic the decisions made by a human driver. | NY Times | Continue reading }

What is this the right name is? By Mosenthal it is. Rachel, is it? No. The scene he was always talking about where the old blind Abraham recognises the voice and puts his fingers on his face.


“I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time,” he says. He predicts, apparently seriously, that every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends’ social media sites.

{ Interview with Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO | Wall Street Journal | Continue reading }

Some religions think the egg is the symbol of the soul, did you know that?


{ Because of security concerns about hacking attacks and viruses, Google has been ending its use of Windows since January | Forbes | Continue reading | via Richard }

Steve Austin’s bionic eye has a 20:1 zoom lens and infrared capabilities to see in the dark, and can also detect heat


{ In 2007, Google sent out an army of hybrid electric automobiles, each one bearing nine cameras on a single pole. Armed with a GPS and three laser range scanners, this fleet of cars began an endless quest to photograph every highway and byway in the free world. | The Nine Eyes of Google Street View by Jon Rafman | Art Fag City | Continue reading }



{ Prostitutes on Google Street View }

I got a color tv, so i can see the knicks play basketball

YouTube may pay less to be online than you do, a new report on internet connectivity suggests, calling into question a recent analysis arguing Google’s popular video service is bleeding money and demonstrating how the internet has continued to morph to fit user’s behavior.

In fact, with YouTube’s help, Google is now responsible for at least 6 percent of the internet’s traffic, and likely more — and may not be paying an ISP at all to serve up all that content and attached ads.

Credit Suisse made headlines this summer when it estimated that YouTube was binging on bandwidth, losing Google a half a billion dollars in 2009 as it streams 75 billion videos. But a new report from Arbor Networks suggests that Google’s traffic is approaching 10 percent of the net’s traffic, and that it’s got so much fiber optic cable, it is simply trading traffic, with no payment involved, with the net’s largest ISPs.

{ Wired | Continue reading }