Science Fiction Author David Brin Visits Google

A new presentation from Google, featuring author David Brin, and Professor and artist Sheldon Brown, was held on October 17th, 2006.

Third Millenium Problem- Solving
Can Visualization and Collaboration Tools Make a Difference?

Introduced by Dr. Larry Brilliant, this presentation is from the .org side of Google, and looks at new ways of solving problems in the future. (Link to presentation at Google video)

The presentation is also part of the “Authors at Google” series that the company holds, which has included speakers such as John Battelle on The Search, Daniel H. Wilson on How to Survive a Robot Uprising, and Seth Godin on All Marketers are liars.

Google Patent Filing Looks at Trademarks and Adwords

Ok, so lets say that I run a busy operation out of Washington State, and I want to advertise on Google using the word “apple” in my advertisement. If I were selling computers, I might have some problems (Apple Computers, Inc.). If I were considering selling music, I might also run into some issues (Apple Records). If I were selling produce, I’d probably be fine. At least I hope I would.

The state of the law concerning the liability of a search engine that allows advertisers to use others’ trademarks as keywords is uncertain at best, even with a recent ruling in Google’s favor (see Eric Goldman’s post Google Wins Keyword Lawsuit–Rescuecom v. Google). Added 5:00 pm, 10/20/2006 – Courts Can’t Figure Out if Buying Keywords Constitutes Trademark Use–Buying for the Home v. Humble Abode, in which the Federal District Court in the District of New Jersey decides that “keyword advertising is a use in commerce.”

Trademarks, Adwords, and Google Patent Filings

Earlier this summer, I wrote a blog post titled Automated Search Ad Approval Process, looking at an automated adwords review process from a Google patent application. It determined whether to accept ads, reject them, or require human oversight because of violations of Google policies, including possible unauthorized use of trademarked words or phrases.

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Search Query Researcher Amanda Spink

If you start looking at papers about how searches interact with search engines, and what the queries they use are like, you start seeing the name Amanda Spink showing up repeatedly. She’s written a number of papers on the topic that provide some interesting insights into the subject.

Christina Wodtke conducted an interview recently with Amanda Spink at Boxes and Arrows titled Long Tails and Short Queries: An Interview with Amanda Spink. She touches upon some complex search behavior by searches that is becoming more common place, such as searching for different topics in the same search session – identified as multitasking search. She also raises an interesting point about the length of search boxes, and surmises that we might see longer and more complex queries being used by people if the search boxes were longer. (via Gwen at Internet News).

Some excellent papers by Amanda Spink, worth a look:

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Google Diving into Indexing the Deep Web

Most information on the web is below the surface, inaccessible to search engines. A whitepaper from Brightplanet published in July of 2001 explores just how much information might be hidden under the publicly available web.

Google provides a fairly in depth glimpse at how they might index and rank information located in sections of the deep web, in a patent application filed last week:

Searching through content which is accessible through web-based forms
Invented by Alon Y. Halevy, Jayant Madhavan, and David H. Ko
US Patent Application 20060230033
Published October 12, 2006
Filed on April 5, 2006


One embodiment of the present invention provides a system that facilitates searching through content which is accessible though web-based forms. During operation, the system receives a query containing keywords. Next, the system analyzes the query to create a structured query. The system then performs a lookup based on the structured query in a database containing entries describing the web-based forms. Next, the system ranks forms returned by the lookup, and uses the rankings and associated database entries to facilitate a search through content which is accessible through the forms.

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Yahoo Acquires Fysix Corp, Enters Partnership with Right Media

Noticed this from a post Barry made at Search Engine Roundtable this morning – Yahoo! Buys Two Companies To Improve Search Marketing Product?

Fysix Corporation (dba AdInterax)

Yahoo Press Release: Yahoo! to Acquire AdInterax

An announcement was made today, October 17th, 2006, that Yahoo has entered into an agreement to acquire the Fysix Corporation, which does business under the name AdInterax.

AdInterax specializes in the creation of advertisements rich in sight, sound, and movement, and the management of those ads. The Yahoo! press release notes that the result of this acquisition would be to combine the rich media expertise and knowledge of AdInterax with the use of behavioral and geographic targeting, as well as dayparting and demographic targeting developed by Yahoo!

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Infrastructure and Expertrank at

Interested in some of the technical aspects of how a search engine might work? I came across a powerpoint presentation earlier today that gives a glimpse of some of the network behind

The presentation was part of one of the keynote addresses given during the First International Conference on Scalable Information Systems (Infoscale), held in Hong Kong earlier this year, from May 29th to June 1.

From a look at the topics posted in the technical program section, it appears that the speakers involved provided some interesting insights into how a large information system might work.

The keynote speaker was Tao Yang, who is Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President at His presentation was on Large-Scale Internet Search at (the header at the top of the page “Large-Scale Internet Search at” is the link to the pdf – they didn’t include an underline for that link so it isn’t easily apparent that it links to the presentation, and the direct link to the presentation is Tao Yang is noted as being one of the co-inventors of the Expertrank (Teoma) search algorithm.

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