Google at Carson's Speed

Search is a fundamental component of intelligence or even thought.  Maybe that’s why Google is now calling it knowledge. Our brains are already good at search. Look around a room and every object your eye passes is identified in your brain. Something out of place? It catches your eye.  That is where we are headed with Internet search, though not exactly the way one might expect.

This is where every new generation of computer scientists brings-up the idea of artificial intelligence. If only we made the network smart enough to know not only what we really mean but what we really need. Maybe someday, but for now don’t hold your breath waiting for that one.  Starting […]

By |May 19th, 2011|2011|56 Comments

Google decides knowledge is power

Back in 2008 I declared that the information economy was giving way to what I called the search economy. The Internet was making it more important to know how to find information than to actually possess that information, because data — and therefore the fully-explored truth of any matter — might be constantly in flux. Even more to the point today, we need the same knowledge on many devices so it is usually better to find the link than to maintain multiple copies of aging data. This might explain in an ass-backwards way why Google just changed the name of its largest tech division from search to knowledge. A more accurate […]

By |May 18th, 2011|2011|38 Comments

Jann Wenner is my hero

This is one of those columns that will piss-off some of my geekier readers. They’ll complain that I am covering this subject at all, they will declare me dead or at least too stupid to be worth reading, and they will claim to be departing Cringelyville never to return. Frankly, I don’t give a damn. And it is important that I not give a damn, because that’s what freedom of the press is all about. This column concerns a particularly damning story about Goldman Sachs, the big Wall Street bank, that is available online now from the Rolling Stone. But I’m not so interested here in Goldman, or even in our ongoing global […]

By |May 13th, 2011|2011|99 Comments

Why Microsoft bought Skype

There is so much to write about but I’ll begin with Microsoft buying Skype for $8.5 billion. The pundits are debating whether this move by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer makes good business sense, but that’s the wrong way to look at it. The better approach is to wonder what would have happened had Microsoft not bought Skype? Based on the high price alone I’m fairly confident that Ballmer felt he had no choice but to buy. In fact I’m fairly certain he felt that not buying could have doomed Microsoft.

Remember eBay bought Skype a few years ago for $2.6 billion, failed to make a go of it, then took a big write-off and sold much […]

By |May 12th, 2011|2011|202 Comments

What the heck is a Clickochet?

Whether at the casino or the race track, the house always wins. That’s the way it has always been, too, with Internet advertising. Nearly all Internet ad dollars are spent in two ways: 1) buying ads from advertising networks whether that network is Google or Yahoo or even IDGTechNet, which sells space on this rag, or; 2) buying search terms — the right to have your ad shown every time someone searches on the word hermaphrodite, for example. Network profit in those transactions comes from arbitrage — buying low and selling high. But what if there was a more efficient way to buy and sell Internet ads? As of this morning it looks like there […]

By |May 10th, 2011|2011|66 Comments