Yahoo! Acquisitions since Overture

Yahoo! has a history of looking for, and acquiring companies and their technology and hiring employees from those businesses. I focused upon the most recent companies with this post, and will followup sometime in the near future with the rest that I can uncover. Here are a number of the Yahoo! acquisitions since October 2003:

3721 Network Software Co.

3721 Network Software Co. (November 2003) 3721 NSC is a Hong Kong based language keyword search engines and real name address system. This company owned the Chinese company, Beijing 3721 Technology Co. Ltd (aka 3721). There’s a nice illustration on the Beijing page on how their real names translation (Chinese keywords are typed in the browser address bar instead of a URL) from English to Chinese works.

I’m not certain if the Beijing branch was sold to Yahoo! in the purchase. I’ve seen a couple of conflicting reports on that part of the acquisition.

Kelkoo

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Happy Happy Holidays

There’s a lot to do over the next couple of days – some last minute shopping, some wrapping of presents, visiting with friends and family, unwrapping of presents, sharing tales of the past year, eating some great food, watching a little football, talking about the year to come.

It should be a fun time, and I hope that your holidays are happy ones, too.

Posting may be a little light over the next couple of days, but I do have a couple of posts brewing.

It’s been a wonderful year, and I’ve had the chance to work with a great group of people at Webadvantage.net (now closed) for most of it. I’ve had a lot of fun posting and moderating at Cre8asite Forums. The forum is blessed with a wonderful crew of folks behind the scenes, and a great membership that make the whole place my home away from home. I also got to meet a bunch of people in the Search Marketing industry this year at the Search Engine Strategies conference in March in New York City, and at one of Jill Whalen’s Seminars in nearby King of Prussia, Pa.

This is starting to sound like a New Year’s post, so I better stop. I plan on making one of those, looking back on the last year, and looking forward to the new year posts before the calendars change from ’05 to ’06.

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Can Google Read Your Mind? Processing Predictive Queries

A new patent application published this morning doesn’t involve ESP, but it does attempt to anticipate what searchers are looking for. The document has the names of some prominent Google employees on it.

Anticipated query generation and processing in a search engine
United States Patent Application 20050283468
Published: December 22, 2005
Filed: June 22, 2004

The focus of this document is on returning search results quicker, and enabling personalization to make those results more relevant for the person searching.

In my recent Google Acquisition post, one of the companies I mentioned, Kaltix, specialized in personalization and speeding up search results. I also linked to a patent application there, assigned to Kaltix, which covered those types of issues.

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Python Creator Joins Google

Dirson reports about a usenet thread noting that Guido van Rossum, the inventor of the computer language Python, has joined Google.

There hasn’t been an official announcement, but a Googler responding to the thread notes that Guido van Rossum sits about 15 meters away from him.

Python is a popular language at Google these days, used in a number of their programs, perhaps most visibly in the software they are distributing to help people create sitemaps.

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Textrank and Google Book Search?

One of the challenges of the Google Book Search project has been to find a way to index all of the books included within the project.

We don’t know the details of the technology used to index those books. A little research uncovers some interesting information.

A post at Search Science this November involved the award of a grant of $107,112 by Google to Rada Mihalcea. Xan Porter noted there that Professor Mihalcea’s research involving “automatic extraction methods to retrieve significant information in books stored in electronic format” is what likely interested Google in getting her help for Google Print, or Google Book Search, as it is known now.

As a co-inventor of textrank, she seems to have been the ideal candidate for Bringing Order into Texts.

It’s impossible to tell whether or not textrank is what is being used to index those books.

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Google Acquisitions

With all of the recent acquisitions by Yahoo! and Google, I decided to take a closer look at some of the companies that Google has purchased. I’m glad I did. I came across a couple of papers I hadn’t seen before, and learned a little more about some of Google’s employees that I didn’t know.

2007

Zingku
Postini
Grand Central Communications
Zenter, Inc.
Peakstream Inc.
Feedburner
Panoramio
Green Border Technologies
Marratech AB’s Video Conferencing Software
Tonic Systems
Doubleclick
Gapminder’s Trendalyzer Software
Adscape Media

2006

Jotspot, Inc.
YouTube, Inc.
Neven Vision
@Last Software
Writely
Measure Map
dMarc Broadcasting
Reqwireless, Inc.
Transformic, Inc.

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I Can’t Bring Myself to Say Venti: Looking at Dunkin’ Donuts

When I go into my local Starbucks, I’ll usually ask for a “large” chai, or coffee. The word “venti,” which they use to indicate their largest size, just can’t make its way out of my mouth.

Something about fake foreign languages maybe. So, it means 20, as in twenty ounces. There’s a pretentiousness to the sizing that I just can’t bring myself to buy into.

There is also a Dunkin’ Donuts in the small college town I live in, and I have no problem asking for a large coffee there. In Dunkin’ Donuts, a large is a large. There are also at least eight or nine other coffee places in town (it’s a highly caffeinated place). Most of them are better experiences than either Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts. A few are cheaper than Dunkin’ Donuts.

With news of the sale of Dunkin’ Donuts, I decided to take a look at their web site. There are some strange things going on there.

The first that struck me immediately is that the site uses a secure protocol (https) throughout. I’m not sure why. There are no forms to fill out on the front page of the site. Do the folks who work on their web pages understand why a secure protocol exists? Maybe they have a reason for what they do. They are getting pages indexed in the search engines, but it does look like they could use someone with some SEO knowledge taking a serious look at their pages.

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Designing with Profiles Inspired by Inuit Art

There are many different approaches you can take when developing the content for a web site. An interesting article from User Interface Engineering describes a method inspired by the Inuit.

The Inuit create works of art that often resemble people, out of stones found near where they are making these statues. These markers can tell later viewers something about the place, or the builder’s experiences there.

Is that something that can help give us ideas which inspire us when we design? It’s inspiring me.

Reassuring Users with Inukshuk Content describes a university site that decided to show what a student’s experience might be like at their school by using more than 40 detailed profiles of people who may have been students, or are associated with the school in some manner.

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Getting Information about Search and SEO Directly from the Search Engines