Friday, July 01, 2011

Inside Google+ — How the Search Giant Plans to Go Social

Inside Google+ — How the Search Giant Plans to Go Social, article. "Google+" is a new social net working site Google is starting, and it's a huge betting, "orders of magnitude more investment, in terms of people, than any previous project". 

It almost beggars belief that the king of the search — the most successful internet business ever, with $30 billion in yearly revenue — would be running scared by the social networking trend led by Facebook, a company that barely rakes in a few billion. Nonetheless, people at Google feel that retooling to integrate the social element isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity. As early as last August, I asked Gundotra whether he felt Emerald Sea was a bet-the-company project.
“I think so,” he replied. “I don’t know how you can look at it any other way.”

Personally, I think it's a mistake, a typical fear-driven mistake.
Say you make shoes. And there's a big fad for jackets. And you say: "oh no! We have to change the company to make jackets, or we're doomed!"
People will always need shoes, and if you keep making good shoes that people like, you'll continue doing fine. You may have to up- and down-scale a bit along the way as the waves go, but if you just run things by sound and conservative economic sense, you're a winner in the long run for sure.

16 comments:

Timo Lehtinen said...

People will always need shoes, and if you keep making good shoes that people like, you'll continue doing fine.

People will always need shoes, but people will not always need a search-the-web service.

So, Google Inc. must try to innovate new types of services to ensure its longevity.

Google+, however, from what little I have read, doesn't look too exciting to me, either.

eolake said...

You could be right, though I find it hard to imagine using the web without a search engine. For many years now, Google has been the page which shows whenever I open a new browser window, and I use it dozens of times daily.

Timo Lehtinen said...

I find it hard to imagine using the web without a search engine.

Sure, just as we found it difficult to use Gopher without Veronica.

When the web is passé, you will not be missing Google Web Search.

The very fact that you need a "search engine" (dozens of times daily!) to effectively utilize the web, is a good indication its days are numbered.

Sam PIeter said...

Eloake, you did (sort of) the same recently. When you launched goddess nudes.

Sam Pieter said...

GoddessNudes is your Domai+ :)

eolake said...

"The very fact that you need a "search engine" (dozens of times daily!) to effectively utilize the web, is a good indication its days are numbered."

What's a good alternative to a search engine when you have a system which contains virtually anything and everything?

Timo Lehtinen said...

What's a good alternative to a search engine ...

The computer providing you the information you need when you need it without you having to request it.

Keep in mind that the most valuable information to you (at any given moment) is probably something you are not aware of to begin with.

Also, most of the time you do not need information. You need the end result. For example, you do not need to compare the prices of flight tickets to Paris. You just want to get to Paris without spending any extra on it. The computer can provide you the service (rather than the information).

... when you have a system which contains virtually anything and everything?

But we do not have such a system. All we have is a corpus of hypertext documents mostly consisting of journalistic prose. We have no organized data whatsoever.

eolake said...

Yeah, OK.

"The computer providing you the information you need when you need it without you having to request it."

That sounds like 22nd century stuff to me. I'll see it before I believe it.

Timo Lehtinen said...

That sounds like 22nd century stuff to me. I'll see it before I believe it.

We would easily be there by now, had the development of computing not been stalled for the last two decades thanks to the "invention" of the WIMP user interface and the con known as Relational Database.

It is only now in 2011 that we are finally starting to see the forest from the trees. And, as a result, we can expect to see new developments in computing pretty soon -- after a 25 year hiatus, sheesh!

Anna said...

Hey, this discussion it quite a mystery to me. I do need a search engine !!!

And I do think that I don't want to use Google's social network, because I think they are a good search engine, and that's what they are about. I quite agree with the thought that them wanting to make a social network site is a fear-driven decision.

eolake said...

Thank you very much.

Same with the iPad. 80 companies have announced iPad-like tablets! Like six-year-old soccer players all clumping around the ball. They are so nervous about missing something that's *hot* that they tend to forget what they are good at and what has worked for them. And they often forget that to be competitive in an area with already-successful players is difficult, and takes something unique.

Timo Lehtinen said...

Anna wrote: I do need a search engine !!!

Picasso once said: Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.

Well, search engines are even more useless. They can only give you links.

The exception to this is Wolfram Alpha, which actually tries to give you answers, with varying levels of success.

But even if Wolfram Alpha worked flawlessly, you'd still only have what Picasso deemed useless to begin with.

When the majority of the western world spends most of their days sitting in front of a computer, it is clear that the roles of the computer (servant) and human (master) have been reversed.

How many miles/day do you push your mouse? How many imaginary buttons do you click? Why does your computer insist you perform these silly maneuvers day after day? Why does your computer need you staring at its monitor hours on end?

eolake said...

Still not at all vague clear to me how you think things *should* work though.

eolake said...

Also, most people consider answers to be highly useful things. Just blankly rejected that calls for an explanation.

What's more useful? Questions? Well, but it seems to me this world is not exactly wanting in questions.

Timo Lehtinen said...

Still not at all vague clear to me how you think things *should* work though.

Computers should learn.

The most useful command on the vi-editor is the dot command ("."). It repeats your last action, regardless of what it was.

But the learning should extend sessions, and the computer should be able to build up on its knowledge about your preferences as you work. So that you could say "do it the way we did it last time, only now change this."

Basically, you should never have to do any thing twice. That's what computers are for. Or should be.

The reason Web Search will go away, is that there is no reason a software agent couldn't compile all the relevant information on a specific subject for you while you sleep. And even anticipate what you want based on past actions. And inform you if something you wanted has become available.

Also, most people consider answers to be highly useful things. Just blankly rejected that calls for an explanation.

Answers are just data, or information at best. By now (it is fucking 2011!) the computer should be able to infer stuff. But Google can't even remember whether I wanted safe-search to be on or off!

Having to type keywords and getting 10 000 000 links in response is an insult to the human intelligence.

How did this come about?

In the late 1980's, thanks to the fad known as the WIMP interface, computers essentially became manual data processing devices. It is no coincidence that pretty much all research on AI was killed at that time.

Ever since then the main function of a computer has been the manual opening/closing/moving of windows with remote control. For 99.9% of a computing session, the computer sits idle waiting for the human to do manual work, i.e. drive the mouse.

Because computers are manual tools, they require a human to operate it full time: 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And not just specific computer operators, but pretty much every adult of the western world.

This is so humorous, it almost makes you wonder if it's a conspiracy of some sort. "Better not give the sheeple real computing functionality lest they might revolt."

As a result, people's expectations about what a computer can (or could) do have sunk so low that they don't even understand computers where supposed to do things automatically, not just depict on the screen the actions a human performs manually with their hands.

eolake said...

OK, thanks for briefing.