February has come in like a lion with a multitude of major announcements from several major players in the past 48-hours.

Three extraordinary things happened earlier this week. First, Google released a Forth Quarter Report that significantly exceeded investor expectations. The $1billion in revenues reported by Google over the last three months has reignited Wall St. speculation built on an already strong confidence in the search-sector. Second, MSN officially released its own search engine. Microsoft is so large and influential, the introduction of their search tool and the advertising campaign that is currently rolling across the web will push the sector forward. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, AOL and the rest of the Time Warner empire are finally finding substantial ways to work together, five years after the merger of the two giants. At the same time, Yahoo has been quickly solidifying relationships in the NY-Hollywood entertainment sector and is in the process of producing a mainstream entertainment division. Read more…

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Tuesday, February 1st, 2005

G-Hawg Day!

Welcome to G-Hawg day! This is the day that Google’s team of accountants make their highly anticipated Q4 Report.

At 4:30 PM Eastern, or 1:30PM Pacific, a Google accountant will lift his head high above his low-fat latte. According to folk-legend, if the bright TV lights produce a shadow behind the accountant, we’re in for six weeks of financial instability in the market. If, on the other hand, the accountant does not see his shadow, many Google share holders will be in for two week vacations somewhere warmer than here.

Why is it that when one search engine does something, every other search engine jumps on the bandwagon? From the introduction of similar new products and features to the coincidental timing of product introductions, the major search engines frequently tend to trip over each other’s feet. This tendency is getting mention in the mainstream media with an article from tech-writer Seth Hansell in today’s New York Times noting “Search Sites Play a Game of Constant Catch-Up“. Read more…

Adding fuel to the rumors that Google is going to introduce a proprietary browser, Google Inc. has hired the lead developer of the Firefox web browser, Ben Goodger away from the Mozilla Foundation. Despite a volume of circumstantial evidence such as the registration of the domain Gbrowser.com or its organization of open source programming events, Google has repeatedly denied speculation they are developing a web browser or an operating system. According to Google spokesperson Steven Langdon, Goodger will be working on products that enhance the browser experience such as the Google Toolbar and desktop search.

Goodger will also continue working on upgrades to the wildly popular browser he has fostered over the past 18-months. Google will be donating half his time back to the Mozilla Foundation. In a Monday morning post to the Mozillazine Blog, Goodger wrote about his new employment and continued role at Firefox stating,

“As of January 10, 2005, my source of income changed from The Mozilla Foundation to Google, Inc. of Mountain View, California. My role with Firefox and the Mozilla project will remain largely unchanged, I will continue doing much the same work as I have described above – with the new goal of successful 1.1, 1.5 and 2.0 releases. I remain devoted full-time to the advancement of Firefox, the Mozilla platform and web browsing in general.”

Firefox is quickly becoming the browser of choice for Internet professionals who appreciate the expandability of open source software. Over the past six months, millions of web users have migrated to the Firefox browser, suddenly taking a large market share from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

Mozilla and Google have a lot in common with each other. Both rose to mass popularity because of word-of-mouth testimonials from very satisfied users. The only comparable mass-migration in Internet history was the meteoric rise of Google itself over the past four years. Both identify Microsoft as their main competitor and both have drawn an enormous amount of attention from Microsoft.

Mozilla and Google also have similar cultures of young, smart engineers who feel they are different from the common business mold. Both groups are committed to the creation of “disruptive technologies”, or technologies that make products which change the ways people use the Internet. Lastly, both Google and Mozilla employees believe their work will make the web a better place. While it is only safe to say a partnership between the two is a likely development, the alliance between the two firms is obvious.

Daniel Brandt knows a lot about what Google knows about you. Having spent the past three years studying Google and the ways Google collects personal information, Brandt is the self-appointed “voice of reason” behind the Google-Watch website. In an email yesterday, Brandt expressed his continuing concerns about Google’s data collection and personal privacy. Brandt’s concerns have been exasperated by Google’s recent mission to digitalize the collections of as many libraries as possible. Read more…

It has been five days since a massive earthquake off the coast of Sumatra spawned the tsunamis that killed over 114,00 people. Images from the effected region show absolute destruction in the wake of the worst natural disaster in living memory. Hospitals, businesses, schools and entire villages were swept away in the span of 20 minutes. The full extent of the horror and devastation will never be understood, even by those who survived it. Given the scope and locale of the disaster, it is likely that nearly everyone on Earth will be affected by the loss of a friend, colleague or loved one. Read more…

Cyberspace is a lot like the real world except in one major field, privacy. In the real world, people have privacy. In cyberspace you are a series of identifiable numbers often being watched from many directions at the same time. Your email, “private” chats, and the website’s you visit are all read and/or recorded in one way or another. Paradoxically, people operating in cyberspace tend to feel more anonymous than a person walking down a crowded public street. They are not, as is proven by the number of vigilante sites being established to bust suspected pedophiles, scammers and other social miscreants. Recently, a site known as Perverted Justice was established to lure and catch pedophiles in chat-rooms. What they do is pose as a minor and seduce older males into agreeing to meet. Once an arrangement is made and solidified, members of Perverted Justice set about finding as much information on the alleged pedophile as possible. They then use that information to harass the alleged pedophile in any way possible. Postering his neighborhood and calling his employer are two of many means of harassment.

Sometimes cited as being online heroes, the vigilantes often forget a central tenant of law in a free society, the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Another extremely important right that is a pillar of our justice systems is the right to face your accuser in court.

I hate pedophiles and would personally like to see them jailed and forced into counseling. My love of western democratic values however forces me to say that vigilante justice is often justice perverted.

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Tuesday, August 10th, 2004

Jib-Jab Was Made for You and Me

Woody Guthrie’s anthem “This Land is Your Land” has been covered by literally millions of performers over the past 52 years. Recorded in Gutherie’s last commercial session for Decca Records in 1952, the lyrics to the song have been rewritten so often and reworked to fit so many different nations, it is difficult to know which land the song was actually written for. For example, the Canadian version mentions “From Bonavista to the Vancouver Island” in place of “From the redwood forest to the New York island”. Up until this point, no one seemed to care, so long as the words were easy and the singers were having a good time.
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Six months after coming into effect, the US Can-SPAM act is being called a failure. Montreal based Email security firm Vircom says that of the 547,685 email messages it has examined since January 2004 when the law went into effect, only 71 or 0.013% of them conformed with the law. “It is apparent from these results that spammers are not worried about any potential legal action,” said Marc Chouinard, head of Vircom’s Spam Buster Team. “If a business relies on legislation to handle the spam problem, they are pretty much out of luck,” Vircom spam expert Michael Gaudette said in a statement. Read more…

Search Engine Watch editor Danny Sullivan posted an interesting thread in the new Search Engine Watch forums yesterday. It seems Danny was interviewed by FOX news in their attempt to prove the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) had an anti-American bias. The evidence used by the FOX journalist was that there are 51,100 sites related to the keyword phrase “BBC Anti-American” listed at Google. This sort of statistic is available to anyone as Google displays the approximate number of sites in which keywords entered by a searcher can be found in the upper right corner of search results. Problem is, as an analytic tool, this stat is absolutely useless. The only reasonable inference one can make from viewing this number is that there are approximately 51,000 websites that contain both of the words “BBC” and “Anti-American”. Read more…

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