Daniel Hillis and Bran Ferren at Google filed a patent in March of 2010. Normally I don’t spend a lot of time focusing on such matters, but when a patent filing actually mentions MY personal invention, I get a nice smile. That smile gets a little bigger when the patent is actually incorrect!
Specifically, the filing says ‘the system determines a numerical score for each comment ranging from 1 to 5.’ which is actually wrong. Slashdot comments are scored from -1 to 5, but just seeing the Slashdot mention in such a document is awesome. Continue reading
I’ve always had a lot of respect for Google… one of the only other web properties who’s name became a verb on-line besides the one I built. And I also like Steven Levy. I keep my print Wired magazine in the bathroom and… you can figure out the rest. Once, many years ago I even had dinner with him and Hemos in a little hole in the wall restaurant in Tokyo. He’s a smart fellow… although I don’t think he really writes for me exactly: his writing actually makes a lot of the things that I deal with comprehensible to a wider audience. I feel like if I wanted to explain something to my parents, I just need to find the Levy article about it, and they’d grok it and he’d save me the trouble. So I was looking forward to In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives
It came recommended by a few friends (one of whom works at Google now. Name withheld to protect him, but I’ll give you a secret hint: It’s Hemos.). I was a bit disappointed in that I don’t think I learned much about the search giant… but that’s probably because the vast majority of events covered in the book were probably already Steven Levy articles in Wired, or at the very least, covered in countless Slashdot stories and submissions. So much of the book wasn’t really new to me, but it’s well written, fast paced, and it does a good job of trying to string together and reconcile the startup Google of the 90s to the pre-IPO Google of the early naughts, to the modern Google: an internet behemoth struggling to maintain its identity, nimbleness and innocence, while dealing with real competition from Facebook. Continue reading
Google has added a new meta tag for their popular News site known as “Standout” which allows publishers to claim that a particular bit of content on their page represents their very best work… provided they only do it 7 times per week. This is the third content classification tag News is paying attention to, but this is the first that allows creators to markup an indication of “Quality” instead of “Ownership”.
I’ve been thinking a lot in the last few weeks about content creators and syndicators. The internet has countless creators… but it has far more syndicators. And every one of them is jockeying for their content to get picked up by the tier above it. The creators want to get echoed by the replicators (provided credit is given). And the syndicators just want to get linked by any means necessary. And they aren’t always honest about it…
Google AdSense has announced that they are rolling out the +1 button on ads. This is a good idea, but it doesn’t go far enough to solve the real problems.
I don’t pay much attention to the AdSense on my page: it makes about enough to buy me a burger and beer out with the wife every few months. I’ve had the ad on this page mostly as a sort of R&D thing: I’m curious how it works. But I see those ads everywhere now. And I’m just guessing here, but looking at Google’s revenue numbers, I’m guessing that a lot of folks out there are using these and making some good money.
But AdSense pretty clearly has some problems. Sometimes the targeting is a bit off. Other times, the ad that I see is flat out offensive, or for a product that I actively know is bad. In these cases, what is a good netizen to do? I shake my fist at the sky and howl at the moon! But I never actually bother emailing the site owner to let them know that their ad is offensive or rascist or selling a scam. Communication is broken, both with the advertiser, and with the site maintainer who’s reputation stands to be tarnished by a bad ad. Continue reading