Conversation with Nikesh Arora, Google SVP, Chief Business Officer #banff2012

Wednesday, 20 June, 2012

Have a watch of this insightful Conversation with Nikesh Arora, Google SVP, Chief Business Officer at 2012 Banff World Media Festival.

Here is Nikesh’s official bio from Google’s management page,

“Nikesh Arora Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer

Nikesh oversees all revenue and customer operations, as well as marketing and partnerships. Since joining Google in 2004, he has held several positions with the company. Most recently, he led Google’s global direct sales operations. He also developed and managed the company’s operations in the European, Middle Eastern and African markets and was responsible for creating and expanding strategic partnerships in those regions for the benefit of Google’s growing number of users and advertisers.

Prior to joining Google, he was chief marketing officer and a member of the management board at T-Mobile Europe. While there, he spearheaded all product development, terminals, brand and marketing activities of Read the rest of this entry »


Meetings, Bloody Google Search Quality Meeting

Monday, 12 March, 2012

I absolutely LOVE this highly technical but also very insightful annotated Google Search Quality Meeting: Spelling for Long Queries (hence the ref to the comedy training film Meetings, Bloody Meetings). The annotation is great. I hope Google will post more. Enjoy. [HT Google & Google Inside Search]

Following are my words of encouragement in hope that Google will post more.

1) For tech geeks

I am one. And it is cool to see how you guys think and make decisions that affect users of Google.

2) For non-geeks

I think it is great that you guys are trying to be more transparent. I hope you will post more of these videos on a regular basis. Google Search affects so many people and business, the more transparent things are, the less we “worry” about Google (I hope I am right to worry less).

3) For your competitors

I remember Toyota used to (I’m not sure if they still do) give tours of their factories to competitors. Why? Don’t they worry about being copied? Well, no. The idea is by the time competitors copy, Toyota will have improved on its process, production methods, etc. This also forces Toyota into a continuous improvement cycle. In the pursuit of perfection. They will never be perfect but they will always be trying.


Hanging out with William Shatner (if I am lucky) – doing some research

Wednesday, 7 March, 2012

If I am lucky later this morning, I may be able to participate in a Google+ Hangout with the one and only William Shatner! Just in case I have chance to ask Bill a question or two, here are some research materials I found.

[Update: Well, Bill had to rush to another interview so no G+ Hangout yet. May be next time ... Made me treasure even my my opportunity to meet him and Ricky in 2010.]

William Shatner Stars in Shatner’s World (video) See also THR review, “Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It: Theater Review

William Shatner speaks to students at McGill University (See National Post, “Video: ‘Don’t be afraid of failure,’ Shatner tells McGill students” with full text of speech)

The Captains A Film by William Shatner OFFICIAL TRAILER

EXCLUSIVE: Comic-Con 2011: Preview William Shatner’s ‘The Captains’ (Shatner and Stewart)

William Shatner And The Captains Of Star Trek at Comic Con 2011

And if I have time, I will rewatch “William Shatner speaks with ‘The Big Bang Theory’ creator and showrunner Bill Prady @ 2010 Banff” to refresh my memory but I’ve watch the chat live and rewatched it a few times over the years.

Sadly @googlenexus challenge shows Google Galaxy Nexus has Logic but lacks LOVE in its DNA – Challenge #1 solution explained

Sunday, 13 November, 2011

Androids' message

Because I am looking to buy a new phone, I was initially excited by the @googlenexus challenge: 10 chances in 10 days to win a Galaxy Nexus and even retweeted it. [HT MS] I thought it was a cool way to generate buzz for the new Galaxy Nexus. But then my excitement quickly faded once I saw and then struggled for hours with challenge #1 (see above message). Which lead me to think about the problem with this promotional challenge #1. See later this post for my challenge #1 solution explanation.

Logic or Love?

In the Galaxy Nexus Oct 19th launch video, a presenter wondered out loud and wished that Galaxy Nexus is more LOVED! Unfortunately @googlenexus challenge #1 clearly showed, to me, Google Galaxy Nexus has Logic but lacks LOVE in DNA. How so?

If Galaxy Nexus is to be loved, it can’t just cater to the geeks (or super geeks)! Should a promotional campaign be enjoyable and solvable by your average Grace & Gary? Or should the challenged be fun and solvable only by super geeks? To be honest, who the heck had any idea what the beep this picture mean? I was pissed off enough that I tweeted with the #fail tag and used “stupid” to describe 99.9% of us fans,

Is @googlenexus too smart for its own good? Why make its first #GalaxyNexus Challenge so hard that 99.99% of its fans look stupid? #fail

Hey @googlenexus We are just happy fans trying to have fun & win a $500 #GalaxyNexus phone right? This is not a job app for #google ? #fail

You see, the challenge was hard enough that Google had to post a hint! Given the hint, I looked up the Flag semaphore and soon realized there can be many combinatorial variations and one can’t really solve the problem easily without spending a ton of time or even writing a computer program!

One such non sensible interpretations of the symbols I came up with is,

(1,2) to indicate number, then “689 944” then (1,3) to indicate letters, then “PICO ALIE CHILAM

Challenge #1 solution explained

What I managed to do was only to verify someone’s answer! For beep sake, the challenge shouldn’t be this hard that it frustrated 99.9% of people who tried to give it a shot!

#GalaxyNexus is well-traveled, coming to @googlenexus from What did J Cook call Hawaii

Process to verify solution:

Converting pictures to Symbols (from left to right)

(note: top flag is the position 1, then clockwise count from 2 to 8 to convert all flag positions)

Symbol #1 (1,2,3,5,6,6,7,8); Symbol #2 (1,1,5,5,6,8); Symbol #3 (1,3)

Symbol #4 (1,5,6,7,7,8,8,8); Symbol #5 (2,2,5,5,6,6,6,8); Symbol #6 (2,3,5,5,6,6,6,6,6,7,8,8)

Verification

What did J Cook call Hawaii

WHAT – W (2,3) H (6,7) A (5,6) T (8,1) [Sources of confusions: (5,6) can also stand for the number 1, also (1,2) can also stand for an instruction for "Numerals"]

DID – D (5,1) I (6,8) D (5,1) [Sources of confusions: All these combinations can also stand for numbers.]

J (1,3)  [Source of confusion: This time, (1,3) also stand to indication coming are Letters!]

COOK (  (5,8) (7,8) (7,8) (1,6) )

CALL ( (5,8) (5,6) (6,2) (6,2) )

HAIWAII ( (6,7) (5,6) (2,3) (5,6) (6,8) (6,8) )

Challenge #2 – Any more love?

Well, challenge #2 has now been posted,

* “Challenge 2: Make something geeky & edible. Include #deliciousness & @googlenexus in your submission

* “Challenge 2 entries evaluated on creativity, originality & use of humor. Rules: http://goo.gl/5dpAK. Can’t wait to see what you concoct!

At least contestants will be judged on their “creativity, originality & use of humor” but the challenge itself stills want entries to be “geeky“!

iPhone vs. Google Nexus

I think it is safe to say iPhone is loved my many people. People don’t LOVE things logically! And I just can’t imagine Apple will be insane enough to try a contest like challenge #1. Sadly, the @googlenexus challenge #1 shows Google Galaxy Nexus seems to be unable or unwilling to broaden its appeal to the general public. If you are not a geek (actually they mean super geek), we are not interested in catering to you or have you interested in our new phone!

It is hard to inject LOVE into Google’s DNA when it is so much built on logic and calculations.


Google bought Zagat restaurant Survey

Friday, 9 September, 2011

Official Google blog entry about Google buying Zagat Survey, “Google just got ZAGAT Rated!

NYT Dealbook, Sept 8, 2011, “In a Twist, Google Reviews Zagat, and Decides to Bite


The Great Mobile Patent War – Are your popcorn ready?

Thursday, 8 September, 2011

Bloomberg, Sept 7, 2011, “Google Hands HTC Patents to Use Against Apple

“HTC Corp. (2498), Asia’s second-biggest smartphone maker, is using nine patents bought from Google Inc. (GOOG) last week to pursue new infringement claims against Apple Inc.

Google had taken ownership of the patents less than a year ago, with four of the patents originating from Motorola Inc., three from Openwave Systems Inc. and two from Palm Inc., according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records. Jim Prosser, a spokesman for Mountain View, California-based Google, wouldn’t discuss reasons for the nine transfers to HTC.

HTC now has more ammunition in its fight to fend off multiple patent-infringement claims lodged by Apple that contend phones running Google’s Android operating system copy the iPhone. Google’s involvement in aiding HTC represents a new front in an industrywide dispute over smartphone technology that has also ensnared Android customers Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., Barnes & Noble Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.”

From ZDNet, Sept 8, 2011, “Mobile patent litigation: A game with too many playing cards – Summary: Patent litigation in the mobile space is out of control. It has become a game with too many playing cards for anyone to win.

From Fortune, Sept 8, 2011 “Google gets its hands dirty – Android’s purveyor crossed a line when it sold arms to be used against Apple

P.S. I tried, without success I have to say, to get a blog friend to share his insight re this patent war, he wisely declined and told me it would be more fun to watch from the sidelines!


Google (with Google+) wants to be your Police, Judge, and Jury?

Thursday, 1 September, 2011

Eric Schmidt - James MacTaggart lecture at Edinburgh International TV Festival

I will share with you my concerns of what Eric Schmidt has said at MediaGuardian Edinburgh International TV Festival, hopefully, without repeating many points others have expressed in their articles (see refs). Schmidt‘s words got me thinking about this faxlore/viral email,

Heaven is where the police are British, the lovers French, the mechanics German, the chefs Italian, and it is all organized by the Swiss.

Hell is where the chefs are British, the mechanics French, the lovers Swiss, the police German, and it is all organized by the Italians.

Eric Schmidt‘s words about identity service and real names (see below with emphasis added) at Edinburgh raised some serious red flags. To me, hell is where Google (with Google+) is our Police, Judge, & Jury, all rolled into one.

In particular these words by Eric Schmidt have given me most concern.

“In the area of social media, we knew upfront 10 years ago that the Internet lacked essentially an accurate identity service. I’m not here by the way talking about Facebook, the media gets confused when I talk about this. If you think about it, the Internet would be better if we had an accurate notion that you were a real person as opposed to a dog, or a fake person, or a spammer or what have you.

And the notion of strong identity was never invented in the Internet. Many people worked on it – I worked on it as a scientist 20 years ago, and it’s a hard problem. So if we knew that it was a real person, then we could sort of hold them accountable, we could check them, [Kempton: "accountable"? How? Is where Google wants to play Police and Judge?] we could give them things, we could you know bill them, you know we could have credit cards and so forth and so on, there are all sorts of reasons.

And the Internet did not develop this in many ways because the Internet came out of universities where the issue of authentication wasn’t such a big issue. Everybody trusted everybody, you didn’t have these kinds of things.

But my general rule is people have a lot of free time and people on the Internet, there are people who do really really evil and wrong things on the Internet, and it would be useful if we had strong identity so we could weed them out. [Kempton: "weed them out"? Is this where Google wants to play Judge & Jury?] I’m not suggesting eliminating them, what I’m suggesting is if we knew their identity was accurate, we could rank them. Think of them like an identity rank.  [Kempton: Again, is this where Google wants to play Judge & Jury?] [...]“

“[...] Well, the first comment is that Google+ is completely optional. In fact, many many people want to get in, if you don’t want to use it, you don’t have to.

[Kempton: I cannot agree. The old legal and economic model of "property rights" need to be modified/redefined when the acquisition, selling (via ads), ranking, weeding, etc of our personal identity & information are involved. The new expected and accepted behaviours should be shaped and defined by concerned users including myself, and not just unilaterally by the corporations (be it Google, Facebook, etc).].

The path to hell is sometimes/often paved with good intentions, and often good scientific intentions by “smart people”. The fact that these high tech systems and sensitive information can be seriously misused now and/or in the future cannot be left to sort out by future generations when it may be impossible for them to turn back the tide of horror.

I don’t think Google share 100% of the details and algorithms of how it does it searches and ranks its results (except a few high-level academic pappers). And judging from what it has done so far, I don’t expect it will change its mind with Google+ and be completely open. In fact, Google looks awfully close to “evil” now.

Even in our human based and reviewable judicial system, we often made serious and irrevocable mistakes. How can we trust Google’s automated system to “weed out” people and to hold people “accountable” without it being open and transparent? To remind us of the implications, just read up how the lives of Guy Paul MorinDavid Milgaard, Donald Marshall, and Maher Arar have been affected by a system that failed them.

Would you trust Google to be your Police, Judge, and Jury? My answer is an emphatic NO!

*******

Reference articles and video clips

* Gawker (with video), “Watch Google Describe How It Can Exploit Your Name

* Pete Cashmore, Special to CNN, Aug 29, 2011, “Why Google+ will never back down on real names

* NPR Andy Carvin‘s Aug 30, 2011 comment

* NPR Andy Carvin’s Aug 30, 2011 transcript of what Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in the Q&A at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International TV Festival

* Mathew Ingram, Gigaom “It’s official: Google wants to own your online identity

* My friend Jan Rubak’s comment.

* Aug 29, 2011, ZDNet, “Google+: Eric Schmidt wants your real name or nothing at all

* PC Magazine, Aug 29, 2011, “Report: Schmidt Says Google+ Is For ‘Real Names’ Only

Eric Schmidt’s Mac Taggart Lecture at Edinburgh International Television Festival (without the Q&A segment)

note: skip to the 0:36:00 mark (36 minutes in) for the start

* 11 Apr, 2011, BBC “Google’s Eric Schmidt to give MacTaggart lecture

Here is a “sort of” transcript (definitely not word-for-word).

*** Other stuff:

Guardian, 28 Aug, 2011, “Google crashes TV’s Edinburgh party – What did the television industry make of Eric Schmidt’s MacTaggart speech?

Guardian, 26 Aug, 2011, “Eric Schmidt: an engineer in EdinburghGoogle’s executive chair reaffirmed the revolution confronting his television industry audience


Interview with Mohamed Mansour – Creator of “Facebook Friend Exporter” & “My Hangouts for Google Plus”, and Google Chromium committer

Tuesday, 23 August, 2011

Mohamed Mansour Technical Software interview

Mohamed Mansour is a Canadian Software Engineer and the creator of the cool Google+ extensions “Facebook Friend Exporter“, “My Hangouts for Google Plus“, “Hangout Auto Retry Try Again” and “Extended Share for Google Plus“. Mohamed is also a contributor (actually a committer) of Google Chrome‘s open source project Chromium.

Few days ago, I had the pleasure of conducting a technical interview with Mohamed to talk about his various software work and a little bit about himself. Have a watch of the following video clips. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I was in conducting the interview.

Mohamed Mansour Technical Interview (Chromium, Chrome vs. Firefox …) 01/03

- How did Mohamed get start working on Chromium (Google Chrome’s open source project)?

- Why did Mohamed choose to work on Chrome instead of Firefox?

- Mohamed talked about his experiences of putting in his first patch on the Chromium.

- At university, how did Mohamed switch from chemical engineering to electrical engineering, and finally settling on software engineering?

- Why did Mohamed decide to take the path of putting in so much time in open-source software work, instead of like other talented software engineers spending time to make the next new new product and make a ton of money?

- And other discussions.

Mohamed Mansour Technical Interview (Facebook Friend Exporter…) 02/03

- “Facebook Friend Exporter“, Mohamed talks about the development history and the road blocks Facebook put up.

- “Extended Share for Google Plus” (a tool that share things to Facebook, Twitter, etc)

- “Hangout Auto Retry Try Again

- And other discussions.

Mohamed Mansour Technical Interview (Google+ Hangout, My Hangouts for G+…) 03/03

- Technical discussion about Google+ Hangout. Video data usage, etc.

- Talk about the useful extension, “My Hangouts for Google Plus

- Mohamed’s path to become a committer of Chromium (Google Chrome‘s open source project).

- Lines of code Mohamed authored for project Chromium. Here are some stats of Mohamed’s Chromium (Google Chrome) contribution and Chromium Tools (Google Chrome) contribution.

- And other discussions.


Google+ Hangout Technical Insights and Ideas to Reshape Newsrooms

Friday, 29 July, 2011

Background

KOMU G-Plus Hangouts - pix 00a - Sarah Hill and Nina Moini

It has been my pleasure to attend a number of KOMU anchor Sarah Hill‘s interesting Google+ newsroom Hangouts since July 19, 2011. In this article, I will try to share some of my technical observations and insights. (note: For my general and business insights, you can read my previous article.)

Using G+ Hangout as a control room of 9 Electronic News Gathering (ENG) team

Setup:

1) News anchor running G+ Hangout connecting to maximum of nine Electronic News Gathering (ENG) teams in the field.

2) Each of the nine reporters will have a notebook computer connecting to the internet via a 3G/4G data stick. And each reporter has a handheld SD/HD camera hooking up to the notebook as its camera. (note: SD or HD probably doesn’t matter here because the data will be compressed and you are transporting over 3G/4G network anyway.) (Aug 11 update: Currently, G+ Hangout doesn’t support external video cameras. I have reflect this request to G+ engineers.)

3) Any “newsroom” can probably set this up easily.

In fact, any team of volunteer citizen journalists may even be able create such a reporting setup with less trouble. All it takes is each individual citizen journalist to have a notebook computer, a fast 3G/4G data stick, and a camera. And these citizen journalists can work together depending on needs and events, etc.

4) Feed the G+ Hangout video stream out to the wider world using tools like Livestream for mass distribution.

5) Use cases: Will be quite cool to report on elections, street festivals, concerts, and live events.

Non-ideal use cases: Any major crisis, earthquakes, etc where the mobile 3G/4G networks are expected be extremely congested and overloaded. In these rare cases, old school dedicated microwave or satellite transmission will likely provide more stable transmission than overloaded mobile data networks.

KOMU Sarah Hill G-Plus Hangouts - pix 07 - Norway https link

Fixing the insecurity of G+ Hangout

At the moment, Google+ Hangouts is known to be insecure, in the sense that each hangout participant has the clear text “https://talkgadget.google.com/hangouts/…” link (see the top of the above photo) and can copy and then share with Read the rest of this entry »


KOMU Sarah Hill Google+ Hangouts – General insights

Friday, 29 July, 2011

KOMU Sarah Hill G-Plus Hangouts - pix 00 - Sarah

Background

It has been my pleasure to attend a number of KOMU anchor Sarah Hill‘s interesting Google+ newsroom Hangouts since July 19, 2011. In this detailed article, I will try to share some of my general experiences, observations, and insights. To help this article flow better and less bogged down by highly technical ideas/solutions, I am gathering my technical-orientated observations and suggestions in a separate article.

Since Google+ (and its Hangouts) is a new tool that is only one month old, these notes only reflect my initial thoughts/impressions. I expect my views will be changed later when I learn more. I’ve tried to reference ideas I read elsewhere as best as I can by providing crediting them and provide links to them.

Location, what Location? – Think Global, Act Local

KOMU Sarah Hill G-Plus Hangouts - pix 01 - Sarah, Location

I first heard of KOMU and Sarah likely from “5 Ways Journalists Are Using Google+” (July 17th, 2011 Mashable article). On the internet, the location really doesn’t matter. I live in Calgary, Canada and I participated in KOMU-TV newsroom Hangouts in Columbia, MO. And through Sarah, I’ve got to know and Hangout with Angie Bailey, KOMU AnchorStephen Clark (Detroit, WXYZ TV), Amy Wood, (South Carolina, WSPA TV), and KOMU Interactive Director Jen Reeves. Where they are “physically located” have no impact on our interactions at all.

By attending these newsrooms Hangouts, I have now hungout with people from around the world. People who joined from different parts of US, Canada, and Europe. So far, no Asian countries because of time zone differences, I suppose.

Will evening news stay as “appointment television”?

KOMU Sarah Hill G-Plus Hangouts - pix 02 - appointment TV

I heard the use of “appointment television” from one of the television executives attending Banff World TV Festival a few years ago. Here is an useful definition,

“appointment television: the decision of tv viewers to schedule their time so that they watch a specific program at a specific time

With the advent of around the clock news websites (often with videos) updates from major national and international news outlets (BBC, CNN, Guardian, etc), plus the local newspapers getting into the same game (with video), the evening news, especially for the younger people, are no longerappointment television“.

The viewers won’t want to be locked into watching news at a fixed time, from one news source when they can and are getting news from many different reliable sources online, whenever they want.

I believe the “commodification of news” is close to done. Many news programs are working hard to differentiate their news programs by supplementing “regular” news that they must report (even most people have heard/read elsewhere) by adding special unique segments, panel discussions, etc. For example, in Canada, CBC National “At Issue” panel (a political panel of 2-3) or “Rex Murphy” segment (like 60 Minutes’ Andy Rooney).

I should emphasize, I write this section with an optimistic mindset as I don’t believe not “appointment television” is entirely bad. I believe there are new ways to make money in this new time. Stories may need to be packaged differently. Ads need to be sold differently. In the next section, I will talk about two ways to make money.

How to make money? – Revenue Generation

One thing I enjoy a lot from Sarah‘s Hangouts is the brain storming sessions. When the environment is open and the participants are engaging, the sessions can be very illuminating and productive.

Some people suggested the following ways to generate revenue (make money) online, Read the rest of this entry »


Happy One Month Birthday G+ aka Google+ !!!

Thursday, 28 July, 2011

Google+ logo

Happy One Month Birthday my dear little G+ (Google+)!

Here is a sexy Happy Birthday song for you! :)

My dear G+ (aka Google+),

I hope you will forgive me in not liking you when you were only 2 days old! Silly old me thought you were just like your time wasting siblings Google Wave and Buzz. But, at one month, you turned out cuter than I thought initially and I am willing to wait a little before declaring you “the best thing since slice bread”, “you suck” or “somewhere in betwen”! :)

(note: After my personal greetings, you will see some excerpts of Birthday Wishes and Birthday Minuses from around the web.)

I’ve read one of your many parents Andy Hertzfeld‘s G+ contribution and even his clarification. And will soon find some time to watch your beautiful birthing video ala Steven Levy‘s “Inside Google+ — How the Search Giant Plans to Go Social“.

You see, I have also started calling you my Lovemark which is much cooler than the boring old school brand. Being called a Lovemark comes with great responsibility. I know you are too young to remember the 1985 Coca-Cola‘s (an indisputable Lovemark) crazy New Coke debacle but it is one lesson in brand management that you have to learn in pre-school. We, the millions of users, are now in control and will be actively shaping your destinyYOU better listen to our complains and our wishes very carefully.

Please tell your parents (i.e. Goolge), if they mess you up or worst “cancel” you, then their credibility in providing “tools” in general, will be damaged seriously, possibly beyond repair. Three strikes in rapid succession, why should anyone trust Google any more? I may be naive, but I am not that stupid!

Anyway, on your one month birthday, I hope to publish two articles to share my general & technical insights of G+ Hangouts with KOMU anchor Sarah Hill and others.

My dear G+, you are only one month old, I am willing to give you time to grow, learn and to be helpful to people. I can’t help but want to use this particular Marshall McLuhan quote when I think of you today.

We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.” - Marshall McLuhan

With Love and here is a sexy Happy Birthday,

Kempton (G+)

*******

P.S. Interesting to include this Mashable article, “Google+ Hangouts: 4 Creative Ways People Are Using Group Video Chat

*******

Again, allow me to use two of my favourite forecast-related quotes by Edgar R. Fiedler from my quotes I love collection,

The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers.” and;

If you have to forecast, forecast often.

Here are some excerpts of Birthday Wishes and Birthday Minuses from around the web.

TechCrunch, “Sophomore Slump? One Month In, Google+ Sees A Traffic Minus

“While it’s totally circumstantial, my own observations and usage seem to support this data as well. Read the rest of this entry »


Google+ Impressions, Predictions, and Forecasts

Wednesday, 27 July, 2011

Google+ logo

Initial Google+ Impressions

On June 30, 2011, only 2 days after the launch of Google+, my friend Garry and I were chatting about his 3D TV (I mentioned I would wait for glasses-free 3D TVs after chatting with Tom, NFB Chair). I answered yes when Garry asked me if I had heard of Google+. I told him I was wasn’t that excited about Google+ after wasting my time and was disappointed by Google Wave and Buzz. At the same time, I wasn’t totally dismissive and asked my friend to play with Google+ some more and tell me how he thinks about the tool.

Eight days later on July 8th, after reading some more positive press and my friend’s Eva’s positive experiences with it, I turned around and ask Garry and Eva for an Google+ invite. And I officially joined on July 9th cautiously. You see, Buzz gave me such a bad taste, that I told it to buzz off!

Current Google+ Impressions

I have now been using Google+ about over two weeks. I can now say I’ve been really impressed with what I see and what it can do for me as a **tool**. To me, Google+ is a powerful tool to learn and to use to achieve things. (more on the “things” in future postings)

Sure, there are still many different problems or enhancements to be made but it is a tool that I have confidently included in my toolbox.

As an aside, I never quite see Facebook as a “tool” to me, not like Google+ is a tool to me.

Predictions & Forecasts

There are people/technologists/journalists who can’t help themselves but give lots of Google+ predictions or forecasts. I can’t and won’t give you predictions or forecasts. If you can or are willing to predict & forecast how a one month old baby will grow up to be like a few years down the road, you are much “smarter” and “braver” than I am.

To end this article, let me use two of my favourite forecast-related quotes by Edgar R. Fiedler from my quotes I love collection,

The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers.” and;

If you have to forecast, forecast often.


How Google “Randomly” Pick Thumbnails for your YouTube Videos

Sunday, 17 July, 2011

Have you wondered about how Google pick thumbnails for YouTube videos you uploaded? Well, I have. it seems like pretty random and people online had different theories posted. So I spent a few minutes to finally tracked down some current info. Have a read of Google talking about “Smart Thumbnails on YouTube” to understand how Google’s algorithm seems to randomly picked thumbnails for your YouTube videos, but it actually tries to do it smartly to avoid problems its previous method lead to.

Also check out Google’s blog entries tagged with YouTube and Video.


Is Apple iAd another strategic blunder?

Thursday, 7 July, 2011

Along with Apple’s Final Cut Pro X mess, I wonder if iAd is another strategic blunder from the Apple’s C-Suite. Here is a brief excerpt from Bloomberg “Apple’s IAd Mobile Business Is Said to Trim Prices as Advertisers Defect” (emphasis added),

“Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iAd mobile-advertising business has cut rates by as much as 70 percent as some marquee clients are using rival services, two people with knowledge of the matter said, signaling the company is struggling to parlay its technology leadership into success in the ad industry.

When Apple rolled out iAd a year ago, companies such as Citigroup Inc. (C) and J.C. Penney Co. were being charged $1 million or more to run ad campaigns. Today those brands aren’t using iAd, and Apple is offering packages for as little as $300,000, said the people, who asked not to be named because the rates are private.

Even with lower prices, some advertising agencies are balking at iAd’s cost, especially because the promotions only reach Apple users. They’re turning instead to Google Inc. (GOOG)’s AdMob, Millennial Media and Greystripe, which serve a range of devices. That means Apple risks losing ground in a market that will generate $2.5 billion by 2014, according to EMarketer Inc.

“Apple’s closed ecosystem may have been interesting in the short run for advertisers, but in the long run they priced themselves out,” said Thom Kennon, senior vice president of strategy for the Young & Rubicam ad agency in New York.”


Interesting articles: Disney withdraws ‘Seal Team 6′ trademark app, PaylPal vs. Google, James Cameron 3D Michael Bay, Kristin Scott Thomas

Sunday, 29 May, 2011

* THR, “Disney Withdraws Application to Trademark ‘Seal Team 6′

* CNN Money, “PayPal vs. Google: A timeline of ‘stolen’ secrets

* THR, “Michael Bay Reveals James Cameron’s Secret Role in the Making of ‘Transformers’

* UK Guardian, “Kristin Scott Thomas: ‘It’s the most amazing feeling of liberation’

“”I was used to cinema questions – you know, ‘what’s it like to work with Robert Redford?’, all that kind of nonsense. I didn’t like that. I didn’t like the way people approached me after films, with this image in mind, made to look perfect through a beautiful lens, my hair blowing in the wind, perfect shade of lipstick, all huge and magnified. People would be scared of that idea. I could see it in them. But the great thing about doing theatre is that people just see you as human, not this vast image. You know my mascara is down here, and my nose is running. No tricks. I really wanted that.”

Having established herself in particular in The English Patient and Four Weddings and a Funeral as a kind of inaccessible beauty, did she discover a new way to connect? Read the rest of this entry »


Interesting Articles: Microsoft buys Skype, Ai Weiwei, Internet’s power usage, Larry Page’s Google 3.0

Tuesday, 10 May, 2011

* Techcrunch, “Done Deal! Big Deal. Smart Deal? Microsoft Buys Skype For $8.5 Billion In Cash

* Telegraph, “Ai Weiwei: they silence him, but his voice grows louder and louder

* Guardian, “‘It feels rotten putting the show on in Ai Weiwei’s absence’ – While Ai Weiwei remains interned by the Chinese authorities, Nicholas Logsdail, director of the Lisson Gallery, talks about a forthcoming exhibition of the artist’s work and his growing influence on the global stage

* AFP, “Hong Kong arrests pair over Ai Weiwei graffiti

* CNN Money, “The Internet: One big power suck

* BusinessWeek, “Larry Page’s Google 3.0 – The company co-founder and his star deputies are trying to root out bureaucracy and rediscover the nimble moves of youth”


Google to translate some 50 million European patents

Thursday, 24 March, 2011

This is cool! As a big fan and frequent user of Google US Patent search, it is real nice to see Google opening up the world of patents in other languages. Sure, the translation may be bad/very bad to start but it will help a little. For the record.

Google in translation pact for European patents (see also ABC AP feed)
CAMILLE RUSTICI
PARIS— The Associated Press
Published Thursday, Mar. 24, 2011 1:54PM EDT
Last updated Thursday, Mar. 24, 2011 1:56PM EDT

Google said Thursday it has reached an agreement with European patent authorities to use its online technology to translate some 50 million patents.

Google Inc. (GOOG-Q586.294.130.71%) and the Munich-based European Patent Office will co-operate to use Google Translate technology to translate patents into 28 European languages as well as into Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian.

The deal with enable researchers and the curious to search for patents in the EPO’s three official languages — English, French and German — and translate them on the fly on the EPO’s website. The translations are to serve informational and research purposes only, and will not replace legal requirements for patents to be translated by professional translators.

The project is expected to be completed in 2014.”


Google’s legal troubles in the digitization of major library collections

Wednesday, 23 March, 2011

For the record, “Google Hits Another Speedbump on Way to Digitizing World“. If you are legally minded, you can read the judgement by US Federal Judge Denny Chin of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.


Art Project @ Tate & MoMA, powered by Google

Wednesday, 2 February, 2011

The newly launched Art Project (powered by Google) is super cool and is a ton of fun for people to explore. I love it. Here is an insightful observation from WSJ (emphasis added),

You might not think it’s possible to have a better art experience than going to an art gallery and looking at a piece of work in real life — but the folks at Google in conjunction with 17 of the world’s leading museums and galleries* have created a website that might just give you a more informative experience online than looking at the real thing.

Simply called “Art Project,” the website uses Google’s Street View technology and adapts it to give users 360-degree tours of the galleries involved in the project. While this is not terribly exciting, the real innovation in the project is the use of “gigapixel” resolution images that allow users to get a microscopic view of the paintings.

The level of detail offered up by up to 14 billion pixels is pretty jaw-dropping.

Here are samples of the amazing details from three paintings,

from The Starry Night La nuit étoilée (1889) Vincent van Gogh

from No Woman, No Cry (1998) Chris Ofilifrom The bedroom De slaapkamer (1888) Vincent van Gogh

As a non-painter and a technical geek, I need to remind myself that I shouldn’t focus too much in the details (the amazing 14 billion pixels) and missing the feeling from “seeing and experiencing” the bigger picture. The famous Voice of Fire, which I saw in Ottawa, comes to mind.

ITN News, Google’s Street View puts famous art online

A video “MoMA: Vincent van Gogh. The Starry Night. 1889” of the painting.

A short video about “No Woman, No Cry

Research in progress: Discoloration of Van Gogh’s ‘Bedroom’ about the painting


Google Instant – Predictive Search

Wednesday, 8 September, 2010

Google announced a new way to search today: Google Instant. It is “predictive” so it shows results as you type.


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