google = y2.0

I was going to write about this, but Jeremy’s saved me the trouble: Google is building Yahoo! 2.0.

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It's really about the roses you forgot to stop and smell

I’ve been following all this Web 2.0 business for a while, and it scares me. It’s hard to explain in a few lines — (I really want to, but I also have to evaluate the charniak parser, and the brill tagger, write appositions…. ) – it’s not because we’re heading towards a second dot-com bubble(we might be, but I don’t really care about it). It’s because there’s WAY too much technology out and about. There’s not enough people(or people’s resources) to consume it, and not enough data for it to be useful. The searchable internet may have billions of pages, but how much of it is really useful? Your intelligent social network may connect you to so many people, but do you really want to talk to all these people? You may relish the ability to suck in So Much Information with the press of a single button, but how much of the data you consume useful? I’m not just complaining about the fact that the information age has retarded our lives instead of making it better; I’m worrying about the fact that we’re heading towards an overprocessed, overnetworked, overmanaged world where we’re doing very little useful work.

My other worry is about the frontronners of the new Web: Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Amazon, News Corp. Each one is building their own Map framework, their own index of the world and its libraries, their own social network systems, their own information monarchy. It’s all about “convergent, ubiquituous, live-your-life-on-my-website technology”. Imagine the redundancy in effort; in intellectual advancement; the waste of precious human capability because each of these players(and countless other startups, opensource mashups, and random developers) are eying the same piece of meat: the whole of your life. Not just a part of it: the only way to really strike a profit is to make it really useful for you. And the only way to make this really useful, is to take over the whole of your life. What you read, hear, see. Who you communicate with and how. Which parties you go to, What you eat, where you go to shop. And how you travel to get to party, shop and eat. It’s ironic, but from how I look at it, the global optimal(both my convenience, and their profit) is for everyone to surrender entirely to one of these Big Brothers. I’m not advocating an eventual 1984 here, just pointing out that the only way we will really ever get to the Web we dream of is by letting exaclty one of these players to win; and that situation is identical to the BigBrotherness we all have nightmares about.

(I know a lot of this text above would look like mindless drivel unless you’ve been carefully following the way the WWW has been changing over the last year. I wish had the time to hyperlink, exemplify and write this out clearly; but I’m afraid I’m going to have to sacrifice quality of writing due to lack of time.)


gime fool gimme fire!

From the Google Gulp FAQ:

11. When will you take Google Gulp out of beta?

Man, if you pressure us, you just drive us away. We'll commit when we're ready, okay? Besides, what's so great about taking things out of beta? It ruins all the romance, the challenge, the possibilities, the right to explore. Carpe diem, ya know? Maybe we're jaded, but we've seen all these other companies leap headlong into 1.0, thinking their product is exactly what they've been dreaming of all their lives, that everything is perfect and hunky-dory



Some one told me my name was on the Google Blog. Heh.


faster firefox search

From IITB, the server, which is the indian mirror to Google responds much faster than it's .com counterpart. Since Mozilla Firefox uses the slower as the URL for all its searches, and I use the integrated search features (right click search, and the search box) a lot, I thought it'd be cool to have these point to in place of .com so that it doesn't take forever to access my secondary brain. Here's how to do it:

1. To edit the default URL for the search box, go to firefox/searchplugins, where firefox is the application directory. Open up google.src for editing. Change the "action" value that has to Now all searches from the top right search box will be sent to the indian server. You'll need to restart your browser for this one.

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yahoo vs google

Yahoo dumps Google. They're powered by their own search engine now, thanks to the acquisitions the made last year. It's amusing to see how the browser wars have turned out. In the very beginning, we had the following players:

Altavista - One time leader in the websearch engine. Commited harakiri by tranforming into a portal, among other things.
AllTheWeb - Indexes a LOT of pages. I used it for pages I couldn't find anywhere else. But that's about all I used it for.
Yahoo - Search, mostly dependent on the then-huge human-managed directory. Plus points: search quality, and portal features.

of computers and creative writing

I guess Google News still has to work on their "interpret creative writing" module:

Google News Screen Capture

The PowerPoint story is actually a critique on the use of the infamous slideshow software, which cites NASA's technical presentations as an example of Powerpoint misuse. While it shares the same keywords with the other two articles, the NYTimes report is not about NASA's response to the CAIB recommendations - it only starts with approximately the same words.


Hip Hip Hurray!! Yippee!! Google's coming to India!!


towards the holy grail

Google now supports inline as well as explicit query definitions. Definitions are one of the more reliable areas in information extraction, but it's still cool to see this done on such a large scale. Perhaps Google will achieve its dream in a few years after all?



Google buys personalized search start-up: I'm betting they're going to come up with a Copernic clone soon.