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


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 678 other followers

%d bloggers like this: