Is Google harming its search results with its online ad business model?

A few years ago, the internet was a lot simpler.

Information was to be found on websites, for the most part. Shure, Internetsome obscure ftp and telnet sites, some chat channels, and a lot of newsgroups.

Google just had to crawl usenet plus the http space, index all the information it found, and make sure users found what they wanted. Google did an amazing job here, and was rewarded by stellar growth, incredible user loyalty, and thanks to its superbly implemented way of auctioning off ad slots, a massive income stream.

Today, the internet is a lot more complicated. Information is often stored in Apps. Some of them are web apps, some aren’t. Some of the Apps’ content is searchable for Google, a lot isn’t.

And here is where it becomes difficult for Google: Why would a company make its App searchable, just so that Google could display more relevant search results, and as a return sell ads better.

Content providers not only get no share from ad sales, but actually have to pay, if they want an ad to link to their content.

Right now this paradigmt becomes questionable. Google’s search results are only as good as the amount of content they can access. Would you use a search engine that only had access to every second page?

Google has to start sharing some revenue with App devs if they want to have access to their content.

App developers do not rely on Google for the promotion of their apps. Here App stores have become the main channel. And this weakens Googles biggest strength as a gateway to traffic and users.

This becomes increasingly pressing as the Internet transforms from a very homogenous WWW to a polymorphic interconnection of Apps, Channels, Websites and streams of data.

Maybe its time for a new competitor in the search field. A disruption, to further abuse this horribly strained word. A company that builds its paradigms in the present form of the internet, Maybe even a collective effort. The ‘Net would be better of for it.

Limits of AI – inklings of

I adore Jeff Jonas work for IBM, and his take on Big Data. So from time to time I check his blog. I stumbled upon his update on the G2 sensemaking engine a while ago. As I reread it today a thought struck me: One of the limits to AI stems not from the algorithms deployed, or their processing power. But from their access to input, to data. From their lack of senses, if you will.

AIA human infant is born with all 5 senses wide open, and an infinte stream of information constantly available, or, more concise, unmutable. Human senses seem custom tailored to interface reality. Much has been written about the ability of the unconcious to parallel-process Megabits of information vs. the 7 or so bits the concious mind can access simultaneously.

Computers on the other hand have to rely on humans to feed them information. Now we have two problems at hand here:

1) Translational loss: As information is digitized, a lot of context gets lost and left out, equaling a substantial bandwidth reduction.

2) Selection bias: In decinding what to feed an algorithm, we choose what’s important for us, vs what would be optimal for AI performance. A nontrivial issue as algorithms scale in complexity.

This in turn severely limits an AIs ability to truly learn and scale. Now I don’t claim to be an expert on AI. But this clearly merits some consideration. If you have any input or information on how this is addressed please share.

Linking – a nice mnemonic trick

Have you ever been in a situation, where you had to make sure you remembered something? Like “take my passport with me when I leave my home”? Brain

Usually saying “Don’t forget your passport!” will not work or worse set you up for forgetting. What to do? Luckily I have a nice little procedure for you that works really, really well for me.

When I want to make sure I remember to do something, I mentally link it with an event that I am sure will happen. In our example that would be : “When picking up my bag to leave the house, I will think of my passport, and retrieve it”.

The trick here is to really picture the event, and your passport. The more vivid this picture or short film is, the more effective this procedure will be.

Linking stuff has long been a standard mnemonic trick to remember random items on list. And it works. Your brain is set up to walk along connections. So if you connect picking up my bag with thinking of your passport, your brain will bring up an image of your passport the moment you pick up your bag to leave the house.

Try this with small things, that don’t carry a lot of emotional relevance first, since you will be much more open to experimenting and finding your personal way to implement this much easier when not stressed and result-agnostic.