Tag Archives: Google

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Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith is a Mississipi GOP Senator is going into a runoff election against her Democratic opponent, a Black man named Mike Espy who might end up the first Black Mississipi Senator since 1883. She made headlines last week with a joke about attending a “public hanging.” She also made public comments in favor of voter suppression.

Google donated $5,000 to her campaign.

Google says they made the donation before they heard about her comments and they never would have donated had they known. However, she espoused hateful views before her recent comments, and Google isn’t asking for its money back.

Google buys Orbitera: Why you should care

Me, Light Reading:

Google this week acquired Orbitera, which specializes in enabling software sales over the cloud. It’s an acquisition with broader implications than first impressions might suggest.

On the surface, it’s a niche service, with appeal only to software developers. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. In the words of Nan Boden, Google(Nasdaq: GOOG)’s head of global technology partners, writing on the Google Cloud Platform blog Monday to announce the acquisition: “Orbitera provides a commerce platform that makes buying and selling software in the cloud simple, seamless, and scalable for all kinds of businesses, including independent software vendors, service providers and IT channel organizations.”

Translation: It’s not just for application developers. Orbitera makes it easier for service providers and enterprise IT managers to license and deploy apps for their users, both within their own companies and to customers and business partners. It’s a platform for third-party apps and enterprises’ and service providers’ own homegrown software.

The acquisition — the terms of which were not disclosed — is designed to beef up Google’s strategy to help enterprises support multiple clouds.

More at Light Reading.

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Google is introducing a read-later service to compete with Instapaper, Pocket. But it’s half-baked. [Ben Woods – The Next Web]

Google released a “Save to Google” extension for Chrome. I gave it a spin. The repository was hard to navigate, and won’t let you search the full text of saved articles. Also, I’ve seen no mention of being able to save pages from a phone or tablet.

Read-later services are one of those areas where I’m never satisfied, and continually rotate between Instapaper, Pocket, and Pinboard. Right now I’m on Pinboard.

Amazon’s Lofty Profits Open Cloud to Rivals – Shira Ovide / Bloomberg

Amazon, which has  used razor-thin margins to undercut rivals, is susceptible to the same competitive pressure because of its fat AWS profits.

“Your margin is my opportunity.”

It’s a quip often attributed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to explain his zeal for high-volume sales at teeny-to-nonexistent profits. It’s ironic, then, that in Amazon’s cloud business it is Bezos’ margin that is providing an opening to rivals like Google.

Amazon’s Lofty Profits Open Cloud to Rivals [Shira Ovide / Bloomberg]

Deep Learning Is Going to Teach Us All the Lesson of Our Lives: Jobs Are for Machines

Recent advances in “deep learning,” such as Google’s AlphaGo computer beating a human Go champion repeatedly, are as important as splitting the atom more than 70 years ago, which launched a Cold War that perched the human race on the precipice of extinction for decades, says Scott Santens on Medium.

When machines can do all the jobs, universal basic income might be the only way to keep civilization going, Santens says.

Santens underestimates how fundamental a change that kind of machine intelligence would be. We can barely imagine what that future world would be like. How can we prepare for it?

[Deep Learning Is Going to Teach Us All the Lesson of Our Lives: Jobs Are for Machines / Scott Santens / Medium]

Which is better: Google Maps or Waze?

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Lifehacker reviewer Thorin Klosowski tests Google Maps and Waze and determines they’re both great for different uses. Waze is good for getting from point A to Point B – it’s particularly good for shaving a few minutes off a commute, or a good chunk of time off a multi-hour drive. Maps is good for finding destinations along your route, and offers a variety of transportation options.

Turn-by-Turn Navigation Showdown: Google Maps vs. Waze / Thorin Klosowski / Lifehacker

That basically confirms my own impressions, obtained by talking to people, using Google Maps, but not trying Waze.

I don’t commute to work; I work from a home office. Which means I’m not taking the same route every day in varying traffic conditions. Nor do I regularly take multi-hour drives. Those are the two best use cases for Waze.

What I do use Maps for are occasional trips where I need a refresher how to get where I’m going. I also use Maps while driving around on business trips in rental cars – different routes every time. I use Maps for walking directions in urban downtowns. And of course I use Maps to get to places where I’ve never been before.  Google Maps is good for all those use cases.

I sometimes use Apple Maps. Directions have gotten good, not like the first days when Apple Maps was justifiably a joke. I like the user interface and integration with iOS and Mac OS X better than Google Maps. But Google Maps still gives better directions, which is the most important thing of course.

The Sadness and Beauty of Watching Google’s AI Play Go

Victory by an artificial intelligence playing the game Go might be the beginning of the Singularity.

Google's AlphaGo taught itself tricks that humans haven't been able to figure out in 2,500 years playing the game.

[The Sadness and Beauty of Watching Google's AI Play Go / Cade Metz / Wired]

John Robb says we're seeing the emergence of a new breed of AI. They're special purpose; not the humanlike (or godlike) AI of stories. But they'll soon be better than humans at nearly every job we do. Better doctors, better judges. Everything. With huge implications for war. [Game ON: The end of the old economic system is in sight / John Robb / Global Guerrillas]

The right tool for the right job

For a short time I experimented sharing links and off-the-cuff posts on this blog.

Turns out people aren’t interested in that kind of thing here. They want to see it on social media. So I’m going back to that.

Find me daily on:

My email newsletter – a daily spam-free roundup of my posts.

Also:

http://plus.google.com/+MitchWagner

http://Facebook.com/Mitch.Wagner

http://Twitter.com/mitchwagner

http://mitchwagner.tumblr.com

I post the same things on all those places. Pick whichever you like best and follow me there.

And you’ll find my best work on Light Reading, for news and insights about the telecom industry.

This blog isn’t going away, but it will update slowly.

New Orleans newsroom, around 1900

New Orleans newsroom, around 1900

Mike Elgan: The Last Social Blogging Guide You Will Ever Need

Mike Elgan shares essential advice.

Mike and I have a fundamental disagreement on how to use blogging and social media. He blogs on a third-party platform he does not control, Google+. I did this myself until recently, but in April I started blogging here. I want to build something long-term, and I don’t have faith Google+ is around for the long term.

I have not abandoned social media. Far from it. I use Google+ and other social media for publicity and discussion. I check social media a couple of times a day.

Publicity is a bit of a dirty word, because people do spammy things for publicity. But all I’m talking about here is using social to notify people that I’ve got a new blog post up, when I have their permission to do so. Every single one of these people is someone who has implicitly asked to be informed by virtue of having followed me on social media.

Don’t want to be informed about my updates? Unfollow me. I won’t mind — not even if we’re coworkers, friends, or even family. With one exception, none of my family follows me closely on social. And that’s OK. Being active on social media is like being an avid model railroader — a perfectly lovely hobby but not everybody who stops by the house should be dragged into the basement every time they visit to watch the electric train set go round and round.

Julie does follow me closely but I try to remember to remind her a couple of times a year that she doesn’t need to feel obligated to do so by virtue of our being married. It wasn’t in the vows.

But I digress.

The essential part of Mike’s advice is sound: Use social blogging to let people know what you’re doing, what you think, and what you feel. Social blogging is not for denouncing people who disagree with your politics, or for sharing things other people created.

Mike is a purist on the sharing — he often shares other people’s content but he always has his own take on it. I’m a bit more lax; I’ll share other people’s content if I think it’s noteworthy. But really I’m more and more coming to think that sharing personal experience, thoughts, and feelings is the best way to blog.

As for politics: Five or 10 years ago I was more active sharing about politics, because I felt like Someone Should Speak Out. Now, plenty of people are Speaking Out. It’s all gotten to be noise. I’m reminded of a friend who is a very religious Christian. Christians have an obligation to witness their faith to convert others. My friend said the televangelists had so poisoned that well that speaking directly about Christianity just drives people away. Instead, he lets it be known he is a Christian and witnesses by example of living his own life.

Similarly, people denouncing other people’s politics has gotten to be an annoying noise. Mostly I don’t say anything nowadays. If I feel strongly about something — like just this morning — I speak out. Mostly I just shut up. Did some state Senator I’ve never heard of in a state I’ve never visited say something stupid and offensive? Happens every week. Price of republican democracy — you end up electing a certain percentage of idiots. And maybe the guy isn’t really an idiot anyway — everybody puts their foot in their mouth now and again.

More often, when I talk about politics, it’s about the game. When I say I think Hillary Clinton is a shoo-in for the Presidency in 2016, it’s not because I support her or oppose her. It’s just how I assess the race. (By the way, that’s something I would have said a few months ago but not now.)

The biggest mistake you can make on blogging and social media is trying to rack up numbers for the sake of racking them up. 100 valuable followers is better than 1,000 disengaged ones. And anybody who buys followers ought to have their credit cards taken away from them because they have demonstrated a complete inability to spend money intelligently.

The Last Social Blogging Guide You Will Ever Need.

By the way, did you see what I did here? Rather than just sharing a link to Mike’s article, I shared my own thoughts about it too.

EC official: Right to be forgotten is not a right to “Photoshop their lives.”

Ryan Heath, spokesman for the European Commission’s vice president, is frustrated with Google’s decision to hide search results about a Merrill Lynch chairman Stan O’Neal, one of the drivers of the 2008 economic meltdown.

Heath “said he could not see a ‘reasonable public interest’ for the action. He added that the ruling should not allow people to ‘Photoshop their lives’.”

But that is exactly what the decision, by an EC court judge (hello, left hand, meet the right hand) does.

And Heath is criticizing Google for obeying the EC’s own law.

Embarrassed EC: Right to be forgotten not a right to “Photoshop your life”

Goldman Sachs wants a judge to order Google to delete an email from its recipient’s inbox

Goldman asked a US judge to order Google to delete an email from a Gmail inbox, after a contractor accidentally sent confidential documents to that address.

The breach occurred on June 23 and included “highly confidential brokerage account information,” Goldman said in a complaint filed last Friday in a New York state court in Manhattan.

Goldman (GS.N) did not say how many clients were affected, and wants Google’s (GOOGL.O) help in tracking down who might have accessed the data. The Wall Street bank also said Google “appears willing to cooperate” if there is a court order.

The contractor meant to email the report containing confidential client data to a “gs.com” account, but instead sent it to a similar, unrelated, gmail.com account.

The judge should deny this request. The items of an inbox are the property of the recipient. One the toothpaste is out of the tube, you can’t put it back in. If we start granting this request, the floodgates will open.

Goldman says client data leaked, wants Google to delete email

The BBC, The Guardian, and Daily Mail push back on Google’s right to be forgotten

Among the first beneficiaries of the right to be forgotten: An investment banker involved in the global financial crisis.

“Google is confirming the fears of many in the industry that the ‘right to be forgotten’ will be abused to curb freedom of expression and to suppress legitimate journalism that is in the public interest,” writes BBC economics editor Robert Peston.

This is a terrible law. There is no right to be forgotten.

‘Right to be forgotten’: BBC, The Guardian, Daily Mail push back on Google

Scott Rosenberg: As Amazon is to books, Facebook is to news

The donnybrook between Amazon and Hachette will repeat itself between Facebook and online news sites.

Over the past 2-3 years, Facebook has begun to assume an Amazon-like role in the ecosystem of online news. We have quickly moved from a Web in which you got your readers either from search or from “organic” traffic sources (home-page visitors, regulars, and e-mail subscribers) to one where you get an enormous chunk of your readers directly from Facebook shares.

Not true for business-to-business news sites. Facebook isn’t much of a source of traffic for B2B tech news.

Not true for this blog either. I get 3.5x more traffic from Google+ than Facebook. Twitter, Reddit, and search engines are also bigger sources of traffic for this blog.

Still, Rosenberg’s main point is correct: Online periodicals rely on social media for traffic, and it’s only a matter of time until the online news sites start putting the squeeze on.

Why Amazon vs. Hachette should have news publishers quaking

What I’ve been up to recently on Light Reading

I went to the MIT Technology Review Digital Summit on 36-hour turnaround. While at the airport I stopped in at the restaurant at the Virgin lounge for dinner, and thought, “Pretty soon I’m going to be a regular here and they’re going to start recognizing me. I wonder how I feel about that?” Then the waiter greeted me with, “Welcome back! You’ve been here a few times, haven’t you?”

Light Reading posted these articles from me while I was away:

Microsoft Planning 7-Day Phone Batteries
SAN FRANCISCO — MIT Technology Review Digital Summit — Microsoft is figuring out how to make mobile phone batteries last longer. How much longer? Try a week…

Is Cisco’s Chambers Retiring in the Fall?
Cisco CEO John Chambers may be planning to announce his retirement soon, and may leave the networking technology giant in the fall.

Cisco Systems Inc. is also embarking on a reorganization that will result in 20,000 people changing jobs inside the company, according to Silicon Valley chatter. The reorganization would be intended to reduce duplicate work. Many employees are developing the same technology for different business units; the reorganization would streamline those redundancies.

Google Exec: Internet of Things Requires ‘Brand New Network’
SAN FRANCISCO — MIT Technology Review Digital Summit — The Internet of Things will require telecom operators to turn their networks upside-down, believes Google Developer Advocate Don Dodge.

The Internet is currently designed for expensive, high-bandwidth connections such as video. The Internet of Things doesn’t need much bandwidth but needs to be inexpensive, Dodge said.

Overture Adds Hardware to Its NFV Pitch
Overture is extending its existing NFV proposition with a new product designed to combine the benefits of virtualized functions with dedicated hardware located at the customer premises.

More to come.

My flight got in very late last night and so I got a late start this morning. Tea, meet neurons.

It’s not a car

One reason I will eventually move away from my chosen name for the technology — robocar — along with the other popular names like “self-driving car” is that this future vehicle is not a car, not as we know it today. It is no more a “driverless car” than a modern automobile is a horseless carriage. 100 years ago, the only way they could think of the car was not notice there was no horse. Today, all many people notice is that no human is driving. This is the thing that comes after the car.

Why Google's "ridiculous" looking car is brilliant | Brad Ideas.

Seems to me that a neighborhood like ours is perfect for a fleet of Google self-driving cars. La Mesa, where we live, is a city, but it’s an American Southwestern version of a city, built on suburban houses, each on a small tract of land, along with thousands and thousands of townhouses. People travel by car, but shopping and schools are less than 10 miles away. If the car doesn’t go more than 25 miles an hour, well, that’s not much of a problem. Particularly if you can work or go online while you’re being driven around.

“Insane and dangerous”

Jeff Jarvis says the European court’s “right to be forgotten” ruling is terrible, tramples free-speech rights, ironically makes Google more powerful, and makes Europe appear technophobic and anti-American.

A reporter asked me for reaction to news that Google has put up a form to meet a European court’s insane and dangerous ruling and allow people to demand that links to content they don’t like about themselves be taken down. Here’s what I said:

This is a most troubling event for speech, the web, and Europe.

The court has trampled the free-speech rights not only of Google but of the sites — and speakers — to which it links.

The court has undertaken to control knowledge — to erase what is already known — which in concept is offensive to an open and modern society and in history is a device used by tyrannies; one would have hoped that European jurists of all people would have recognized the danger of that precedent.

The right to remember, dammit