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Friday, April 04, 2003

Google and Amazon Internetwined?

  Google Licenses Web Search and Sponsored Links to Amazon.com

SEATTLE & MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - April 3, 2003 - Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Google, developer of the largest performance-based search advertising program, today announced a multi-year agreement that will make Google's search technology and targeted sponsored links available on Amazon.com. Google's services will provide Amazon.com customers with access to billions of web pages through Google's web-wide search results.

Both Google's sponsored links and web search will be available to Amazon.com customers within the next several months; sponsored links are now available on a selection of Amazon.com pages.

"Both Google and Amazon.com built their businesses by developing exceptional user experiences and providing relevant and comprehensive information," said Omid Kordestani, senior vice president of Google's Worldwide Sales and Field Operations. "Google's services will enable Amazon.com customers to conduct research across the web."

Google's global search services provide websites and portals with access to billions of web pages and the world's most advanced search technology. Additionally, Google partner sites have access to revenue opportunities through sponsored links from Google's worldwide network of more than 100,000 advertisers. Google's advertisers gain broad exposure across Google's partner websites, including many of the largest websites in the world such as AOL, Ask Jeeves, and Earthlink.

"Amazon.com is constantly seeking new ways to provide our customers with the best and most relevant information on the web," said Owen Van Natta, vice president of Worldwide Business Development, Amazon.com. "Working with another industry leader such as Google is in keeping with our relentless commitment to excellence throughout every aspect of the customer experience."

Posted #  6:39 AM by tom


Thursday, April 03, 2003

Googlewashing the language

  Google gets slashdotted:

The Googlewashing Of Our Language
Posted by CowboyNeal on Thursday April 03, @07:34PM
from the english-evolution dept.
KIondike writes "The Register talks about how a term ("Second Superpower") coined by the anti-war culture suddenly got radically neutered and altered by a weblog that a lot of people link to. Searching for the term on Google now brings up his blog and other people talking about his blog for the first several entries. Can Google's power to give information to the people be misused and perverted? This only took 42 days." First the widespread usage of "googling" to mean web searching, and now this. more...

Posted #  7:25 PM by tom


Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Heh

  PALO ALTO, Calif., April 2 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. (NasdaqNM:MSFT - News), the world's No. 1 software maker, on Wednesday said it is taking aim at privately held Google (News - Websites)Inc., the Web-search company that's so popular its name is used as a verb.

"We do view Google more and more as a competitor. We believe that we can provide consumers with a better product and a better user experience. That's something that we're actively looking at doing," Bob Visse, director of marketing for Microsoft's MSN Internet services division, said.

Visse said the company was making some significant investments in developing a better search engine. But the company has not offered specific plans. More...

Posted #  5:07 PM by tom


Nationalize Google?

  The Fibreculture list is discussing the question of whether Google should be nationalized. Among the many interesting responses, here's one from Viveka Weiley:

At 1:35 PM +1000 2/4/03, Craig Bellamy wrote:
>Should Google become a public service or its operations here be
>determined by the democratic decisions of Australians?


Um, no. Here's why:

1. The internet is an end-to-end network.
Google is just a service at one of the ends; it is not a true
intermediary. If we want a democratic search engine, we can just
build one. If it's better than google, then people will use it
instead of google. I remember clearly when altavista was the best
search engine, and everyone used it; then when hotbot was better, and
many people went there; and then when google arrived, the netizenry
shifted to it *very* quickly. Early adopters started using it when it
was just a beta at Stanford (IIRC); then they got their own domain
(google.org), appeared on /., and moved to google.com.

2. Google demonstrates that people will choose democracy in a
frictionless environment.
The Web is the closest thing we have to a perfect market; it's kind
of like the frictionless environment of space. Economic theory is
like pure physics; perpetual motion machines work in theory, and so
do lassez-faire economics, but they both assume conditions which are
utterly unlike the real world.
Google works because it is democratic; they rank pages based on how
many other pages link to them. This works, so everyone uses google.
But only as long as it keeps working.

However:

Google is imperfect, since it is not in a perfectly frictionless
environment. The greatest source of friction is government
regulation; Google obeys all government mandated blocks on free
expression. In the US, they obey the DMCA, which allows corporations
to chill speech that they don't like. In Europe, they obey edicts to
block Nazi material. In China, they block sites as required by the
information ministry. In Australia, I assume that they would obey
takedown notices from the ABA, under our government's secretive net
censorship regime.

I would argue that these censorship regimes are unpopular (except
possibly the anti-nazi measures in Europe), and exist only because
our governments are imperfectly democratic. If Google were not
restrained by our undemocratic governments, then Google would be
closer to democratic than our governments.

Oh - the other main problem with Google is that it has ties to the
NSA, and is likely building a database of all your searches (through
their persistent cookie), for the benefit of the Secret Masters. Yet
another example of undemocratic government interference.

For this reason, using government as a mechanism to make Google more
democratic would have the reverse of the intended effect. A better
option would be to set up a democratic search engine in a data haven
like Sealand, and ignore the censorship rules of other jurisdictions.
Sealand has only one censorship rule that I'm aware of; they will not
host child pornography. This ban is qualitatively different to other
censorship rules as the production of that material involves the
heinous crime of child abuse, so it's not a ban on expression as such.

A democratic search engine free of undemocratic governments would be
likely to prove more popular than google, but many governments would
choose to block it at their borders.

In general, I'm in favour of nationalising infrastructure, regulating
corporations, dismantling monopolies, and so on. But screw ideology,
look at the evidence. It is possible to build online systems that are
far superior democracies to national governments.

As usual, thanks for the thought-provoking question, Craig.

Peace,

V.
--
Viveka Weiley, Karmanaut.
{ http://www.karmanaut.com | http://www.planet-earth.org
http://www.MacWeb3D.org | http://sydney.siggraph.org.au }
Hypermedia, virtual worlds, human interface, truth, beauty.

Posted #  4:58 AM by tom


Sunday, March 30, 2003

More Sergey

  Another report on Esther Dyson's interview with Sergey Brin, from Jeremy Allaire:

What will happen with Blogger?

As we've heard, he says there is no master plan. They're getting tons of feedback on ways to leverage Google into Blogger, and the team will probably experiment with a few of these. The major focus now is getting Blogger into their infrastructure, including their ad infrastructure, which can really improve both the user experience of ads in Blogger as well as the contextual linking of blog content to ad content.

Posted #  3:05 PM by tom


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