January 26, 2006

MSN Search Champs Info: Reviews, Privacy, Labs, and more

Well, I’ve been up here at Microsoft’s campus and here are a few bullet points of interesting items (not a complete list):

  1. Lots of great ideas, some of which can be made public but others remain under NDA that will be released within weeks or months. Stay tuned to here about the new features as they come.
  2. There was a nice review of the request for user info by the government
  3. Gary Flake announced Live Labs (MSN’s labs) and they are committed to hiring talent and building cool new tools. I’ll be providing slides (a good presentation by Gary) but here is the manifesto…more, better APIs, etc.
  4. Chris Pirello is always a great person to argue with ;-) … Chris also demo’ed the OSX on his intel-based IBM laptop that was seen on engadget (thanks, Chris)
  5. MSN has demonstrated great community support and wants to embrace it…they’d like to share the Microsoft stigma and would like to experience the recent renaissance Yahoo enjoyed when they got their mojo back.
  6. Live.com will be their new platform. They will carry verticals there and other tools.
  7. Developers should check out Microsoft Gadgets
  8. Alex Daley and had some great insight and are doing great things with virtual earth. Check it out if you are a developer.
  9. Scoble is not an edge case. ;-)

more to come…

UPDATE: Gary’s presentation is now available online.

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January 24, 2006

Yahoo Burbank Buildings coming along

The buildings for Overture/Yahoo Search Marketing are coming along. Here are some pics for those interested:

yahoo search marketing building in burbank, california

yahoo search marketing/overture building in burbank, ca

The buildings are large and look nice. There are large amounts of room around the building which will be parking lots. You can see balconies on the buildings that have tables, seats, and umbrellas set up. It looks very nice. The second building I am assuming will also be Yahoo’s otherwise, it will be a foreign building in the middle of the Yahoo parking lot. This second building, as you can see from the picture is unfinished.

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January 13, 2006

Advertising on Google Maps

Well, if anyone has read the Google Maps API Terms (see section 1.5 Advertising), they know Google reserves the right to display ads on the maps you use.

Reports are that they have already begun to test it on their site:

Google is experimenting with plotting local advertisers’ locations on its Maps product, giving marketers a visual and spatial accompaniment to their locally targeted ads.

A search on “hotels” in New York City returns an organic list of local hotels, plotted on the map with red markers and bracketed by sponsored hotel listings, plotted on the map with blue markers. The same search in other locations, such as San Francisco, doesn’t yet return the paid listings.

Well, there’s more than one way to do it:

Advertisers are slowly discovering the potential of Google Maps, and some, like the Target store above (more at Google Sightseeing), are even enjoying some unexpected windfall.

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January 10, 2006

Apple’s New MacBook Pro - a replacement for my laptop

Well, after all the issues I’ve been having with my powerbook, I’m more than ready to upgrade:

  • snapped hinges = $400 to fix
  • bent frames means problems with the optical drive
  • charger/adapter issues
  • and, now, screen issues…seems like my backlight is burned out but since it randomly comes on, I’m guessing it is the video card???

The New Apple Laptops sound great but I’m a little weary of being an early adopter again (see above). Many of the problems I had have been documented and fixed in subsequent models. I’m not sure if I should go ahead and get the new one or wait until they iron out the kinks (and deal with no screen by plugging into external monitors). :-(

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Invited to Search Champs v4

I’ve been invited to join MSN for Search Champs v4. If any of you are going, I’ll see you there!

From the email:

Search Champs is an invite-only event where we bring together a small group of people to start a conversation about the future of Search and Windows Live. In short, we bring you to Redmond, introduce you to the product teams, and host several day and night sessions to give us your feedback and thoughts. Our desire here is to learn how we can do things better and to build connections. We want to be good citizens and provide a face behind the products.

I’m looking forward to going. :-)

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January 6, 2006

CES Announcements

Sounds like the Google Cube might not be what is being announced at CES.

Instead it will likely be announcing Video and Pack (and MSN is not too pleased).

The Google Video deal sounds like a an apple itunes competitor (with CBS and others already signed up)…although it is unclear if it will be a rental or a download like itunes.

Google Pack will be a downloadable package/software bundle that includes Google and third party software…a potential list exists here.

Sources tell us that Google pack will feature a Google-tweaked version of Firefox, Adobe Acrobat Reader, antivirus software from Symantec, AdAware, Trillian, and Google’s own offerings, including Google Desktop Search, Picasa, Google Earth, Google Talk, and all of the toolbar action you can shake a stick at. Oh, and I left out one other item: the RealPlayer.

Bundling is nothing new for Google. I’ve seen their software bundled many places. I just find it interesting that they would offer this bundle on their site (how do they intend to promote or distribute?) and provide competing services such as Trillian software (which, as far as I know, does not connect to Jabber-based services like Google Talk).

Meanwhile, Yahoo is announcing Yahoo Go:

Yahoo! Go allows you to access the information and content that is important to you on whatever device you choose.

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January 4, 2006

Funny Internet Hoax Tricks NY Times

This funny story is not a real one…but it tricked the NY Times.

More info here and here.

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January 3, 2006

retrievr - search by sketch

Check out retriever…it allows you to sketch images with different colors and uses their algorithm to try to find the best image matches of what you sketched.

It kind of reminds me of the imgSeek project.

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Not just Google OS…but Google Computer

We’ve all heard the rumors about a Google OS. Now, there are rumors of a Google computer, termed the Google Cube.

Rumor is they will announce at CES were Larry Page is a keynote speaker. The plan on selling/distributing through WalMart who once sold the cheap Lindows (and variants of Linux including SUSE) computer. They will be using their own OS, avoiding the high price of Windows OS and allowing them to sell the computer cheaply.

The idea is that they have built many apps using AJAX that mimic desktop apps so they could provide a cheap network PC or kiosk that would simply use their apps in place of their thick client equivalents (i.e. Gmail in place of Eudora).

With their PPC Ads, how long until they go from the cheap PC to a free one that used spyware/adware to serve ads and/or track user behavior (such as Idealab’s free-pc/the former emachines, etc)? They’ve already given away free Internet…if they can get users to use broadband so that they are always online, constantly serving ads on their computer would probably pay for those computers within 6 months to a year for the average user…especially if users must register and they get to have the users’ addresses (I’ve noticed buying clicks for terms locally have gotten relatively expensive lately…and I still cannot get the supply I seek).

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January 2, 2006

Paying SEarchers to Search

After MSN announced paying searchers to search as a possible business model, Amazon’s a9 has offered instant rewards in the form of amazon.com discounts.

They are offering half of pi which is 1.57% approx…sharing a piece of the pi, so to speak. :-)

It’s a nice way to get you to use their product, to ensure you are logged in with your amazon account on a9 so they can better track your behavior/history, and a way for them to directly solicit feedback in the future from those who have searched or done specific things they have tracked and want to test.

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