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A Link to Eternity

While Google is as secretive about its internal processes and systems as Apple is about product development, every now and then senior people post articles on the official Google blog and offer their thoughts on the development of the web. In the latest posting, two Google engineers, Alfred Spector and Franz Och, look at how search strategies will benefit from the faster computers, greater volumes of data and better algorithms we are likely to see in the next decade, speculating that "we could train our systems to discern not only the characters or place names in a YouTube video or a book, for example, but also to recognise the plot or the symbolism." more

Google Chrome: Cloud Operating Environment

Rather than blathering on to the blogosphere about the superficial features of Google's new Chrome browser I've spent some time studying the available material and [re]writing a comprehensive Wikipedia article on the subject which I intend for anyone to be free to reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license rather than Wikipedia's usual strong copyleft GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). This unusual freedom is extended in order to foster learning and critical analysis, particularly in terms of security. more

Chrome: Getting Microsoft’s Goat

Historically there has been nothing which gets Microsoft's attention as fast as a platform for applications which threatens Windows dominance. Google's Chrome is obviously such a platform; Google can afford to challenge Microsoft; it's healthy for innovation that it does. Can Microsoft still rise to the challenge? Way back when I was at Microsoft -- 1991 to 1994, Lotus Notes was the threat du jour... Since I was responsible for the development of what was to become Microsoft Exchange, I was in charge of that war for a while... more

Georgians Use Spam to Explain Their Situation

Call it outreach, call it propaganda or call it brilliance or even desperate measures, spammers (people) who favour the Georgian side in the recent conflict have been spamming using email, to get their point across. Depending on where in the world you are from, your ideological standpoint on Russia and your beliefs, when it comes to what email should be like, can be different and you may judge the action as you will. I call it spam. An Estonian colleague Viktor Larionov was quoted saying that whether there is a cyber war in Georgia or not, we know there is in fact a media war in play... more

Advertising Pays for a Lot of Things… What Happens When the Ad Budget Dries Up in a Recession?

Doing some research on the effects of the Great Depression in the 1930s, I started wondering what happened to advertising during that period. Although I haven't turned up any detailed studies, I took a look at the various archives of advertising that allow Internet access to their exhibits, and noted the general move to less expensive, more localized advertising, and fewer adverts for more expensive goods. It made me wonder what will happen to online advertising if the current credit crunch starts to drive a worldwide recession... more

Battling Over Clouds

More than 40 years ago, the FCC was worried about telephone companies using their power over communications to control the then-nascent (and competitive) data processing marketplace. The Bell System at that point was already banned from providing services that weren't common carriage communications services (or "incidental to" those communications services)... In a 1999 article in the Texas Law Review, Steve Bickerstaff pointed out that Computer 1 meant that no one could provide a "computer utility" service... Today, we'd call the "computer utility" something different -- we'd use the term "cloud computing." more

The Patent That Justifies Microsoft’s Interest in Yahoo!

I've watched coverage of Microsoft's bid for Yahoo! and the related maneuvering between Google and Yahoo!. The explanations are not very convincing. Microsoft doesn't need Yahoo's search technology or their morale-impacted work force. Yahoo's search market share continues to decline and there's little of strategic relevance in the rest of their business. What's the attraction? more

Why New TLDs Don’t Matter

Lost amid the furor about ICANN's rule change that may (or may not) lead to a flood of TLDs is the uncomfortable fact that almost without exception, the new TLDs created since 2000 have been utter failures. Other than perhaps .cat and .mobi, they've missed their estimates of the number of registrations by orders of magnitude, and they haven't gotten mindshare in the target community. So what went wrong? more

Google, Viacom, Privacy and Copyright Meet the Social Web

In all the recent uproar (New York Times, "Google Told to Turn Over User Data of YouTube," Michael Helft, 4 July 2008) about the fact that Google has been forced to turn over a large pile of personally-identifiable information to Viacom as part of a copyright dispute (Opinion), there is a really interesting angle pointed out by Dan Brickley (co-creator of FOAF and general Semantic Web troublemaker)... more

The SocialDNS Project… and Why DNS is Not the Phone Book of the Internet

In this article I will explain the motivations behind the SocialDNS Project. I will justify why the DNS system is NOT the phone book of the Internet. More concretely, DNS is not a public directory nor enables search mechanisms over meta-information related to domains. In this line, I will present the advantages of SocialDNS, a naming and directory system that aims to become the phone book of the Web. SocialDNS is NOT another alternative DNS root nor aims to replace the current DNS for resolving domain names. It complements the existing DNS to offer advanced services that are beyond the scope of the existing infrastructure for Web settings. more